My Great Great Grandfather Nicholas Canny was born in Dunmore, Co. Galway, Ireland on 25 December 1825, to parents John Canny and C. Tulley or Trilly. His wife, Sarah Canley was 4 years his junior, and was also born in Ireland. During the course of their marriage they had six children: Ann b.1851, Thomas b.1853, Mary b.1860, Eliza b.1862, Sarah Ellen b.1864, and Catherine Ada b.1866.
Between the 30 April 1846 and the 2 May 1871 Nicholas served as a regular soldier in the 6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His service documents describe Nicholas as being: 5 feet 9inches in height, with dark brown hair, grey eyes and a dark complexion. He had achieved the rank of Color Sergeant by the time of his discharge on 2 May 1871, when he was pensioned. His pension was 2 Shillings a day.
During the course of his army career he served in South Africa (28th August 1846 - 7th January 1859) and the East Indies (5th December 1867 - 8th April 1871). During his time in India he was engaged in the Mutiny and served on the North West Frontier . He was awarded three war medals: 1) The South Africa or `Kaffir' Wars medal 1853 for service in the 3rd Kaffir War, 1851-1853 ; 2) India General Service with North West Frontier Clasp; 3) Indian Mutiny Medal, plus a Long Service Medal and Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee Medal. Following his regular Army career, he served in the 2nd Warwick Militia from 5th October 1871 to 2nd October 1873, then on 3rd October 1873 he was appointed to serve as a Staff Sergeant in the 3rd Royal Middlesex Militia until 14th February 1879. He was discharged from the Militia due to `disease of the chest and varicose veins of the legs'. It was noted that his general conduct as a Non-Commissioned Officer had been `Very Good'.
In May 1878 he was appointed as a Yeoman of the Queens Body Guard, a role he remained in for the rest of his life. Whilst serving as a Yeoman he lived at 8 Park Cottages, however when his health deteriorated he moved to Portsmouth. He was exempted from duties from 1890 due to ill health and being unable to travel to London.
He appeared to have connections with Portsmouth from the early days of his marriage, as his eldest daughter Ann was born in Portsmouth, however following that event he was located at various army towns around the country as his second child, Thomas was born in Wolverhampton, his second daughter, Mary was born in Landgward Fort, Suffolk, his third daughter Eliza in Colchester, and his fourth daughter, Sarah Ellen was born in Aldershot. His youngest daughter, Catherine Ada (my Great Grandmother) was born en route from the Channel Islands to Lincoln.
I have not traced where he actually lived in Portsmouth, but he was admitted to Nazareth House in Lawrence Road, Southsea on 16th May 1898 on the recommendation of the Reverend Fr. Clarke. He died on 27th August 1898 of cardiac failure after suffering from bronchitis for 7 days. His daughter Ann Rowley, of Dunkirk, near Faversham, Kent, was present when he died.
Nicholas Canny is buried in Highland Cemetery, Southsea. Plot A, Row 17, Grave 11. Sadly, for someone who had served his country so well, the grave was unmarked and was re-used several times. In May 2006 the plot was transferred back to our family and a memorial stone was erected recording his service to his country.
Joan Varley, November 2007