Sergeant Major William Livsey

William Livsey was born in Bury, Lancashire in October 1789. He enlisted as a 19 year old recruit into the Royal Artillery in June 1808 and after training he embarked for the Peninsula war arriving in Lisbon on 18 October 1810.

During the Peninsula war he crossed the Tagus and fought at  Badojas , Albuera, Badojas ( 2nd siege), Fort Napoleon, Fort Regusa, Burgos, Vittoria, Pampeluna, Orthes, and Toulouse.

At the end of the campaign his company was posted to Canada, arriving at Quebec on 2 August 1814 where he was involved in fighting around the St Lawrence. In 1817 During this campaign he was promoted to Corporal.

After six years in Canada he returned to England arriving at Woolwich Barracks in September 1820 . In 1825 he was promoted to Sergeant and made Company Sergeant Major in 1930.

Sergeant Major Livsey was discharged in 1839 with a pension of 2 shillings and 5 pence a day with a medals for Good Conduct and Meritorious service plus a war medal with 5 clasps.

In April 1940 he was appointed as Warden to the Royal Gunpowder factory at Waltham Abbey, a position that he held until 1865 by which time he was 76 years old.

In 1852 he was appointed as Sergeant Major to the West Essex Yeomanry a position that he held until he retired on 31 December 1869 by which time he had accrued 61 years or service to the crown and become an essential figure in the success of the Yeomanry.

On 14 November 1870 Sgt Major Livsey was met at his home with a deputation from the West Essex Yeomanry and presented with a silver tea service inscribed " This tray and teapot were presented to Serj-Major William Livsey RA EYA, by Lieut Colonel Palmer, The Officers, non-commissioned Officers, and men of the Battery attached to the West Essex Yeomanry Cavalry as a testament to his services to them from 1851 to 1869, and to his country during the long period of 32 years in the Royal Artillery. He retired from the active service of his country on 31 December 1869, honoured, respected and beloved; carrying with him the best wishes of all acquainted with him. Waltham Abbey, Nov 1870."

The soldiers in attendance were Sergeants Henry Warden, Biss, Dunn, Curtis, Abel Curtis and Thompson plus Corporal Cleverly and Bombardier Phipps.

In accepting the gift Sgt Major Livsey replied " It is likely to be the last time I shall ever have the pleasure of seeing so many of you together again. I cannot live forever, nature must have her way, death will claim his own and I feel that I must shortly answer his summons. I thank my old Colonel, the Officers, non-commissioned Officers and men fro this beautiful present which I hope will be cherished as a heir-loom by my family"

William Livsey lasted three more years after the presentation before he died on 22 November 1873 and was buried at Waltham Abbey with full military honours.

His son also William Livsey ( b1833 d1905) served in Crimea and worked in the Royal Enfield Works before emigrating to America where he served in the Union Army before enjoying a successful career which included serving three terms as Republican State Treasurer of Pennsylvania.