A Military General Service to the Royal Artillery for Corunna
A Military General Service to the Royal Artillery for Corunna - CORUNNA (ADAM CROOK, R. ARTy), named spelled without the "s" (Crooks), 36.2 mm, pleasing dark patina, light contact, extremely fine. Accompanied by a soft-covered binder with plastic sleeves, containing copies of his Service Records and Discharge Papers from the National Archives, along with assorted research papers. Footnote: Adam Crooks (or sometimes spelled "Crook" as per the medal) was born in Kilmarnock, Scotland in 1787. He was a Skinner by trade and enlisted in the Royal Artillery on August 3, 1803, at the age of 16. He was in the 6th Battalion, Royal Artillery under Major George Crawford and was to serve with the battalion for his entire career. Crooks served in the Portuguese and Spanish campaigns under Sir John Moore from August 1808 to January 1809, including the retreat to Corunna, earning him the Corunna clasp for the MGSM and is listed as as a Gunner on the Muster Rolls from October 1808 and January 1809. The Battle of Corunna took place on January 16, 1809, when a French corps under Marshal of the Empire Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult attacked a British army under Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. The battle took place during the Peninsula War, which was part of the Napoleonic Wars. It was a result of a French campaign, led by Napoleon, which had defeated the Spanish armies and caused the British army to withdraw to the coast following an unsuccessful attempt by Moore to attack Soult's corps and divert the French army. Doggedly pursued by the French under Soult, the British made an epic retreat across northern Spain, during which both armies suffered extremely from the harsh, winter conditions. The British army suffered a loss of order and discipline during the retreat on several occasions. When the British eventually reached the port of Corunna, on the northern coast of Galicia in Spain, a few days ahead of the French, they found their transport ships had not arrived. After a couple of days, the fleet arrived. The British were in the process of embarking, when the French forces marched up and forced the British to fight a battle before they could depart for England. In the resulting action, the British were able to fend off the French and complete their embarkation, saving their army from destruction but leaving the port cities of Corunna and Ferrol, as well as northern Spain, to be captured and occupied by the French. During the battle, Sir John Moore, the British commander, was mortally wounded, dying and hearing all the French attacks had been repulsed. Crooks survived the conflict and embarked Corruna after the battle, disembarking at Ramsgate on February 14, 1809 and was at Portsmouth on February 20th. He is also on record as being in Sicily with a detachment under Captain Kirby from August 1809 to December 1810. Crooks was discharged in consequence of a reduction in the army, on September 15, 1814 at Woolwich, having spent three years and sixty-three days in the rank of Bombardier and the rest as a Gunner, serving a total of eleven years and forty-four days (two years of which were underage) with the 6th Battalion, Royal Artillery. He was placed on Pension, which was established on April 14, 1824. His pension records state: "Has the medal for Corunna and states he was in Portugal and Spain 1808-9". Fifty years later, the rate of his Pension was increased to 1/6d per diem on October 20, 1874. Crooks appears to have returned to his original trade of Skinner and is listed in Kilmarnock directories as a Skinner (a person that prepares or deals in hides) and Fellmonger (a dealer in hides or skins, particularly sheepskins, who might also prepare skins for tanning). He was married to Elizabeth Crooks, who was thirteen years his junior and is listed in the Scottish censuses on 1851, 1861 and 1871. In the census of 1851, the couple is documented as having three children: Adam Crooks Jr. (b. 1827 in Kilmarnock), Joanna (b. 1830) and Janet (b. 1832). In addition, a great-daughter, Hellen, aged 4, was also living with them at 33 Soulis Street, an area where other Skinners and Fellmongers resided at the time. He was also listed as a Chelsea Pensioner (which was an in-pensioner at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement home and nursing home for former members of the British Army located in Chelsea, London. Historically, however, the phrase applied more widely, referring to both in-pensioners and out-pensioners). By 1871, Adam and Elizabeth Crooks were residing at 25 Robertson Place, Kilmarnock. Crooks died on June 6, 1879 in Kilmarnock, at the age of 92 and was among the last survivors of the Corunna campaign.