There is very little information available for James Armstrong as his record of service in the Army is not available. However, other sources indicate that:

  • Harris R.I.P.He was born c. 1831 and joined the 20th Company RSM by September 1857, Service #3781, trade – mason.
  • On 23 September 1857 he embarked on the Nile for service in Western Australia.
  • James arrived in Fremantle 1st January 1858 as part of a contingent of 27 Sappers and Miners who were to replace those who had returned to England on the Devonshire, Esmeralda and Dolphin between 1855 and 1857.
  • James took up his position as Instructing Warder and was initially posted to the York Greenmount convict depot – part of his duties was assisting in fighting bushfires during the month of January 1860 [Barker:8].
  • He is recorded in the Oct-Dec 1861 muster roll as being transferred to Guildford and is again recorded on the roll for the Jan-Mar 1862 quarter.
  • As far as we know, James Armstrong was destined to leave Western Australia with the rest of his Company on the 27th April 1862, however, just two weeks before departure, he died.
  • His death is recorded on the Apr-Jun 1862 muster roll as “died 14th April” [WO11-207]. This is confirmed by a registration of death in the WA General Registrar’s index of deaths [Registration No.1964]; age at death recorded as 31 years. There is no record of burial.
  • There are no newspaper reports or notices of Armstrong’s death, thus we can assume it was sudden and possibly accidental, but not the subject of foul play.