Nottingham City Council
Allen and Son
Robin Hood Rifles Orderly Room, Castle
About this image
Born at Radford on 29th February 1804, Jonathan White received in his own words, 'a mere bread and cheese education'. Until he was 16 he worked for his father, a butcher who had a stall in the Shambles. In 1820 he enlisted in the Army and spent the first few years of his service with the 2nd Foot at the Athlone Barracks in Ireland, where he took the opportunity of improving his education by attending the Duke of York's Regimental Night School. At the age of 19, in 1823, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and posted to India with the 2nd Queen's Royals. Further promotion quickly followed, when at Bombay in 1825 he attained the rank of Colour-Sergeant and was appointed Pay Sergeant to the Regiment. He took part in the campaigns of the first Afghan War of 1838-39, displaying extreme gallantry at the storming of Ghuznee, Khelat, Kabul and Kandahar. Returning to England after 18 years' unbroken service in India, Sergeant-Major White was posted to the Chatham Invalid Depot, where he received his honourable discharge from the Army on medical grounds. It was arranged that he should stay at the Depot, occupying the post of Ward Master for a further six months, in order that he might qualify for the full pension entitlement which would accompany his rank and service at the end of that period. Jonathan White then returned to Nottingham, where he applied himself to the task of becoming a civilian with the same honesty of purpose that he had shown when he became a soldier . He soon established a reputation as a conscientious employee, and had no difficulty in finding employment; each post he was offered was an improvement on the last. In 1859 he was offered the appointment of Drill Instructor to the proposed [?]Volunteer Corps, with his old rank of Sergeant-Major; at the time he was employed by a firm of printers in St. James's Street. Although he accepted the post with some reluctance, as he couldn't quite grasp the idea of civilians becoming soldiers in their spare time, he nevertheless proceeded to pursue his duties with his own? brand of energy and efficiency, and within 12 months of the Battalion's formation he had secured for its members national recognition as the foremost exponents of foot drill in the Volunteer movement. Over the period of the subsequent 20 years, first as Sergeant-Major and later as Captain and Adjutant 'Jonty' White guided the Robin Hoods through infancy, growing pains and apprenticeship into a maturity beyond the most optimistic dreams of the progenitors of the Battalion, and while doing so gradually revealed to his comrades the many facets of his sterling character. Honest, trustworthy, meticulous to a fault, Jonathan White was possessed of an unswerving loyalty to the Crown and his comrades, and a depth of simple humanity and understanding which was so rare as to be unique; he was one of nature's gentlemen, and, more than any other man, deserving of the title' Father of the Regiment'. (extracted from Victorian Nottingham vol. 15 by Richard Iliffe and Wilfred Baguley). Here he is pictured with bugler Serjeant Butler and 'Maid Marian', the adjutant's second horse.