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Soldiers of the King's Own Regiment

Thomas Castine – From English Private to French General

Thomas Castine, one of the most conspicuous military chiefs of the French Republic was born at Ballaneille in the parish of Lonan, Isle of Man. When a youth he enlisted in a British Regiment of the line called the ‘King’s Own,’ in which he rose to the rank of sergeant. Having returned after a few years’ absence to his native isle, on leave from his regiment, he married a young women named Mary Colace; but, indulging too freely with his former companions in dissipation, he overstayed his pass so long that he was about to be apprehended as a deserter, when he escaped on board a smuggling lugger to Dunkirk. He there entered the French service, and, it is said, served some time in America.
Having his reputation of a brave soldier, he was at the commencement of the French Revolution promoted to the rank of colonel of infantry. From this time forward his history is well known. In the year 1792, when Doumourier was invested with the sole command of the French Army, Castine was appointed general of division. By his memorable defence of Mentz, (or Colentz) (Metz?) the bulwark of the Rhine, he gained everlasting laurels, but, flushed with his good fortune, he committed some political mistake, which brought him to the guillotine on 28th August 1793.”
“From English Private to French General”
A similar story is told in Train’s History of the Isle of Man. Added to which is: “Mrs Castine did not accompany her husband to France. When he was beheaded at Paris, his son Thomas, then in his twentieth year, was a servant in the Isle of Man. He afterwards enlisted in the Manx Fencibles, and was subsequently a sergeant in the Galloway Militia; at present (1837) he is a merchant in the village of Auchencairn, in Galloway.

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