United Kingdom

13th Hussars

Cabinet Card & Carte-de-Visite, unsigned

Captain William Mitchell Innes

William Mitchell Innes was born on September 25th, 1841, at Ayton Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, the son Of Alexander Mitchell Innes (1811-1886) and Charlotte Gordon Dick Lauder (Abt 1816-1846).

He started his military career in the Infantry on December 30th, 1859 - but soon exchanged into Cavalry, as stated by the London Gazette:
"13th Light Dragoons, Ensign William Mitchell Innes, from the 81st Foot, to be Cornet, without purchase, vice Billing, promoted. Dated 3rd February, 1860."
He was soon to be promoted :
"13th Light Dragoons, Cornet William Mitchell Innes to be Lieutenant, by purchase, vice Tucker. Dated 16th August, 1861."

William Mitchell Innes was apparently a distinguished horseman - he rode Captain Gratex's horses in the Summer 1862 Aldershott Camp Races, as told by The Times on August 12th, 1862 :

A SWEEPSTAKES of 2 sovs. each, with 50 sovs. added, for horses that have been ridden as chargers for the last six months ; 11st. 7lb. The last half-mile. Thorough-bred horses 7lb. extra.
Captain Gratex's (13th Hussars) ch. colt Music Master, by Chit-chat, 12 st. (in. 7lb. extra) (Mr.Innes) ... 1
(...) Betting.-5 to 4 agst Incognita, 3 to 1 agst Music Master, and 4 to 1 agst any other.
The favourite came away with the lead to near the distance, where Music Master and Nora Creina passed him, and the former won easily by a length ; two lengths separated the second and the third.

A SWEEPSTAKES of 10 sovs. each, half forfeit, with 100 sovs. added, for 3-yr-olds, 10st. ; 4-yr-olds, 11st.4lb.  ; 5-yr-olds, 11st.12lb.  ; 6-yr-olds and aged, 12st.2lb.  Winners extra. Mares and geldings allowed 3lb. One mile and a half. The second saved his stake. The winner to be sold for 350l. (...)
Captain Gratex's (13th Hussars) mn. br. c. Highflyer, 4 yrs, 11st. 7lb. (Mr.Innes) ... ... ... ... 3
(...) Betting.-2 to 1 on Paul Clifford, and 4 to 1 agst Highflyer.
Avongrove made running at a great pace, Strike lying second, about six lengths from him. before entering the straight Strike was beaten, and Highflyer and Paul Clifford took second and third places. Avongrove continued his lead to the half-distance, where Paul came awa, and won in a canter by a length ; Highflyer lost second money by half a length ; Strike was a bad fourth ; Battletrap did not pass the post. No bid for the winner.

ALDERSHOTT CUP, a handicap sweepstakes of five sovs. each, three sovs. ft., added to a Cup, value 100 sovs., with a purse value 50 sovs. Winners extra. One mile and a half.(...)
Captain Gratex's (11th Hussars) br. c. Highflyer, 4 yrs, 12st. (Mr.Innes) ... ... ... ... ... 0
(...) Betting.-6 to 4 on Vinegar Hill, 3 to 1 agst Highflyer, and 4 to 1 agst Disappointment.
Disappointment jumped off with the lead, but was immediately passed by Strike and Rattletrap, Avongrove being fifth, and Vinegar Hill last. Rattletrap was beaten at the end of half a mile, and Highflyer went up to Strike, the two going on abreast, with Disappointment third, until they entered the straight, where Vinegar Hill took fourth place. Strike carried on the running to the stand, where Vinegar Hill overhauled him, and won cleverly by a neck. Avongrove was two lengths from Strike, and Highflyer, close up, fourth. Rattletrap did not pass the post.

William Mitchell Innes purchased his Commission as a Captain on January 12th 1866. 
He married Agnes Hulbert on August 2d, 1866, in Highgate, Middlesex. Soon thereafter he was sailing with the Regiment to Canada.

The Times wrote on September 13th 1866 :
"The Cunard steamers Tarifa and Europa, which have been completely overhauled and refitted for the reception of the 13th Hussars, left the Mersey yesterday at 2 p.m. for Quebec.
The Tarifa has on board 13 officers, 182 men, and 172 horses. The officers are Lieut.-Col. Jenyns, C.B. ; Capts. Clarke, Innes, and Hill ; Lieuts Ford, Clay, and Webb ; Cornets
Hamilton, Pole, and Ellis ; Lieut. and Adjt. Joyce, Surg. Armstrong, and Vet.-Surg. Varley. The Europa conveys 13 officers, 144 men, and 131 horses. The officers are Major Maclean ; Capts. Atkinson, Huddleston, and Miles ; Lieuts. Starkey, Higgins, and Horne ; Cornets Bieber and Moore ; Paymaster Frith, Riding-master Hubbard, Quartermaster Cresdee, and Assist.-Surg. Milburn. To-day, at 9a.m., the Allan steamer will go alongside the great landing-stage and take on board nine officers and 153 dismounted men of the same regiment, and detachments for other corps, to the number of about 240, and sail about noon. These vessels also take out several hundred tons of military stores."

They will reach Quebec on September 26th, "all well, the Europa having lost two and the Tarifa 16 horses on the voyage". 

The Regiment had been sent to Canada following the unrest due to the Fenian activists (mostly demobilized soldiers of Irish extract, fighting the British presence in Canada), trouble that led the Governor general to request Regular Cavalry troops - the lack of which had been exposed in the previous operations.

The 13th Hussars will be mainly quartered in Toronto (Fort York). 

Captain Mitchell Innes in Canadian outfit
The prop bears the Regimental Motto : "Viret in Aeternum"
(It Flourishes forever)

During their tour, they will open a School of Cavalry there, that will train local Cavalry Troops.This will create a lasting heritage, as Canadian Cavalry regiments will adopt a uniform after that of the Regiment, a tunic of Hussar pattern with white facings (though most will sport pith helmets).

Mrs Mitchell Innes obviously followed her husband to Canada, as their first daughter, Inez Mary Mitchell Innes, was born in 1867 at Toronto.
A second daughter, Charlotte Agnes, was born in 1868, also at Toronto.

The 13th Hussars will sail back to England in August 1869 ; The Times relates, on August 14th : "Yesterday the troopship Simoom arrived in the Mersey from Quebec, and landed the 13th Hussars, consisting of 19 officers, 7 officers' wives, and 10 officers' children, 403 men, 71 women, and 103 children. In the course of the day the troops left for York, and the Simoom at once proceeded to take on board the 15th Hussars, from York, and will take them round to Portsmouth, en route for Chichester, whence they will shortly leave for India."

The first son of Mr and Mrs. Mitchell Innes, Alexander Harold, was born on August 28th 1870, at Ayton Castle.

Captain Mitchell Innes will retire on January 12th 1872, receiving the value of his commission.
Soon thereafter, on February 4th 1872, their third daughter, Violet, was born at Ayton Castle. She will however die a mere few months later, on June 12th, at the Marine Hotel, Portobello, Edinburgh.

Another daughter will be born two years later, Constance Ethel, on April 16th 1874, at Ayton Castle. Constance Ethel provides the link with those photographs, as they are handmarked on the back :
"William Mitchell Innes Father to Constance Ethel Dixon".
Constance Ethel will indeed marry Henry Grey Dixon.

She will not know her father much, as William Mitchell Innes died on December 7th 1879, at Millbank House, Ayton, Berwickshire, of a Cirrhosis of the liver.