John Lloyd was born in 1757 in Shrewsbury, Shrophsire, in the west midlands of England. His parents were somewhat wealthy, apparently owning farmland. John's father died when he was still a child, leaving his mother, Hannah Lloyd, a considerable fortune. In June 1775 she remarried. This opened the risk that her fortune would go to her new husband if anything happened to her. To protect her son against any risk of impoverishment, she set up a trust fund for him insuring that, regardless of what fortunes met the family, John would be paid the sum of £150. Rather than stay in Shropshire, however, John did what many young men of all classes did - he joined the army, probably some time in 1778. His place and date of enlistment are not known, but he was sent for training to the depot at Chatham Barracks outside London. From there he wrote to his mother on 22 March 1779 that he was in the 22nd Regiment and would soon be embarking either for America or the West Indies. Four days later he was on board a transport ship.
James Nowland was considerably older, having been born in 1743. An Irishman, is place of birth is not known, but he was among the many Irish Catholics who joined the army even though the letter of the law prohibited it; the exigencies of war took priority over the niceties of recruiting regulations, and although enlistment required a recruit to attest that he was a Protestant many men surely just paid lip service to the assertion. There is no information to suggest whether Nowland had any prior military service. The age of 35 was not typical for enlistment, but neither was it unprecedented; Nowland could have been a voluntary enlistee, a draft from another regiment, or a vagrant rounded up under the new and wildly unpopular army press act of 1778. It is not clear whether he boarded a troop transport in Ireland or was first sent to Chatham Barracks, but one way or the other he was in the same group of 63 recruits sent to the 22nd Regiment in 1779.
The fleet of transports escorted by British warships carried four complete regiments and a substantial number of recruits - almost 1300 for the British infantry regiments in America, and more for the Brigade of Guards, the Royal Artillery, and the German regiments. Their voyage went badly from the beginning. The men who embarked at Chatham on 26 March remained on board while the fleet picked up more transports at Plymouth. By late April the fleet was read to sail, but as they plied the waters off Torbay waiting for favorable winds news came that the French were making a descent on the British channel islands of Jersey and Guernsey. The admiral commanding the fleet took the warships and the troop transports, leaving other ships at Torbay, and made for the island on 2 May. Four days later they arrived to find that a French attack had been repulsed; the admiral left a small but sufficient force of ships to protect the islands and took the transports and troops back to Torbay. The delay had cost a week, and now weather conditions turned unfavorable. It was not until the end of the month that they were finally able to get underway into the Atlantic, the troops from Chatham having been on board ship for two months before even leaving British waters. The voyage from Torbay to New York took 13 weeks, and during this time illness in the form of scurvy set in. They did not reach New York until 25 August, by which time a quarter of the British recruits were sick and another 43 had died.
The first muster rolls to show these new men show that conditions grew worse after they landed in New York. Nearly all of the 63 recruits for the 22nd Regiment were sick. The regiment itself was still in Rhode Island, but when that place was evacuated at the end of October they joined the New York garrison. Although many of the recruits eventually recovered to serve with the regiment, a third of them died within their first year in America.
Among the dead was John Lloyd, the young man from Shropshire with a wealthy mother and a trust fund. He died in Jamaica, Long Island on 11 January 1780. His mother did not learn of his death until four years later when she engaged an attorney to track him down. By this time the regiment was back in England and the adjutant, responding to the lawyer's letter which had been conveyed through the regimental agent, examined the regimental books and confirmed that Lloyd had joined the regiment and died in America. The information was critical because Hannah Lloyd's new husband had gone bankrupt and the family lands were being sold off to pay his debts. With her only son gone for a soldier and now gone from the world, her fortune was lost.
James Nowland was also listed as sick on the first muster rolls in America, but he recovered. Just as nothing distinguished his life before joining the army nothing distinguished his career as a soldier; his name appears duly on the rolls until the end of the war. At that time, men who had enlisted after 1775 were entitled to be discharged and had the option of returning to Great Britain or taking a land grant in Canada. He chose the latter along with 85 other men from the 22nd, and landed at Shelburne, Nova Scotia (at that time called Port Roseway) in the closing months of 1783. He received his land. He farmed. In his late 50s, he married and then had a remarkable 11 children before his wife died in 1829. On 30 June 1840 he scrawled his mark on a deposition for relief under an act passed during the second year of the reign of Queen Victoria. He was living in the parish of Glenelg, New Brunswick, and at the age of 93 submitted that he was no longer able to support himself. He was granted relief of 10 pounds per year which he was still collecting in 1843 at the age of 100, but he is known to have passed away before one of his sons married five years later. Descendants of his, still carrying the Nowland name, live in Canada to this day.
Such were the disparate fates of two men who became soldiers, one who began with promise and the other who ended with a legacy.