If soldiers deserted from the army their details were published in the Police Gazette so that the police could apprehend the deserter if they should see them. Sadly the Police Gazette which started publication in 1772 and is still published today is not available online. This is a great shame as all those mentioned in the gazette have got to be on someone’s family tree!
However with regards to army deserters 1828 – 1840 including units of the Honourable East India Company all is not lost. www.findmypast.co.uk has a dataset which is an index to those who deserted during this time period. The dataset consists of 34,000+ soldiers born in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland who left the British Army without permission.
What details can you expect to find from this dataset?
Date of desertion
Alias’s used if any
Age in years & months
Regiment that the soldier deserted from
If you happen to be able to visit The National Archives, Kew then you could inspect the original Police Gazettes which give further details such as physical description. This dataset has been supplied to www.findmypast.co.uk by Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society through the agreement between Find My Past and the Federation of Family History Societies.
A search for any entries for the name POTTINGER brought up one entry. This gave the following information.
|Date Deserted||4 May 1840|
|Age||27 years, 0 months|