"Lieut Col" John Saner JP
(1836 – 24 Nov 1889)
It is possible that this John Saner was a son of the earlier John Saner, originally a tailor, draper and hatter in 1840's Hull, who went on to become a brick and tile manufacturer, after whom a street was named. And also possible that this is a bust of Saner Sr:
Accession No: KINCM:1982.469.27
and this is very probably a bust of Saner Jr, the quondam Lieutenant Colonel, as the dates tie-in almost exactly:
Accession No. KINCM:2005.236
The later Saner seems to have dabbled in the timber trade, possibly in conjunction with John Horsley, but I've not been able to confirm that either. But it would be a plausible correlate of the earlier John Saner's involvement in the manufacture of building materials.
Saner also seems to have been a Director, or even Chairman, of the Board of Directors of the Hull Dock Company, though I haven't been able to confirm this. The Company appears to have existed in a permanent state of crisis, culminating in the resignation of two leading Directors in 1879 – it is possible that Saner became Chairman at that time, I suppose.
We know from the biography of his youngest son, Francis Donaldson Saner, an eminent surgeon, that his father had married the daughter of a merchant sea captain, and that the family comprised seven sons and three daughters.
So much else of Saner's personal history seems to have gone missing, until he emerged as a highly controversial member of the local militia. The innumerable Volunteer Corps around England in the nineteenth century were forerunners of the Territorial Army (TA) of today.
Saner's promotion from Ensign to Lieutenant in the 1st East Riding of Yorkshire Rifle Volunteer Corps on 14 Mar 1867 was duly recorded in the London Gazette.
His promotion from Lieutenant to Captain in the 1st East Riding of Yorkshire Rifle Volunteer Corps on 4 Feb 1870 was likewise recorded in the London Gazette.
But I can find no record of his promotion from Captain to Major in either the 1st East Riding of Yorkshire Rifle Volunteer Corps or the 4th East Riding of Yorkshire Artillery Volunteer Corps (the latter sometimes accused of plundering the former for new recruits).
However, the first reference that I can find to his having joined the 4th East Riding of Yorkshire Artillery Volunteer Corps is the 19 Jan 1877 edition of the Hull Packet, where he is referred to as Major Saner, so he must have already reached that rank in the 1st East Riding of Yorkshire Rifle Volunteer Corps.
Saner's promotion from Major to Lieutenant Colonel in the 4th East Riding of Yorkshire Artillery Volunteer Corps (popularly known as the Hull Artillery Corps) on 28 Mar 1877 was duly recorded in the London Gazette.
There appears to be no corresponding record of his subsequent dismissal for dishonourable conduct and then weasellingly-contrived temporary reinstatement.
Following the shameful episode of the trial and imprisonment of Charles Findlay in 1880, Saner quailed in the face of popular local hostility and eventually fled south to Hampstead in 1886, where to some extent he redeemed himself, though improperly continuing to present himself as a Lieutenant Colonel!
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