John Fraser, his signature from his discharge paper dated 24 December 1799
Born: St. Paul's Parish, Dublin, Ireland, 1755
Entertained: 27 April 1774
Rank in 1777: Drummer
Company in 1777: Captain George Marlay's Company
Captured: Saratoga, New York, 17 October 1777 (Convention Army)
Discharged from the Regiment: 24 December 1799 (Chelsea Pensioner)
John Fraser was born in St. Paul's Parish, Dublin, Ireland, in 1755. Taking up the trade of a cordwainer (shoe-maker), the teenaged Fraser eventually decided to join the 62nd Regiment of Foot as a private soldier. He was placed on the pay of Captain George Marlay's Company on 27 April 1774.
With the expansion of the British Army establishment in August 1775 (by one serjeant, one drummer, and 18 private men per company), Fraser was appointed to the rank of drummer in the company. In 1776, he sailed for the relief of Canada with the rest of the regiment, wintered in Canada 1776/1777, and served during the Northern Campaign of 1777. Along with fellow company Drummer Joseph Yadon, Drummer Fraser faithfully served Captain Marlay and the 62nd Regiment throughout the entirety of the campaign, including the grueling Battle of Freeman's Farm (19 September 1777). Fraser survived the siege of Saratoga and surrendered with the rest of Lieutenant-General John Burgoyne's army at Saratoga on 17 October 1777.
Drummer Fraser remained with the regiment in captivity as a prisoner of the Convention Army, and was one of the small minority of men of the regiment who returned to England near the end of the war after being exchanged. In England, he remained as the sole drummer in Captain Marlay's Company (the other company drummer, Joseph Yadon, deserted and joined the rebel service in 1779), and upon the reorganization of the regiment and Marlay's retirement, Fraser became a drummer in Captain William Wybrants's Company. Fraser eventually took up “Brown Bess” and once again served as a soldier in the regiment, eventually rising to the rank of serjeant in the regiment.
Faithful service and loyalty to his King and regiment appear to have been John Fraser's traits. After 26 years of service, he was discharged on 24 December 1799 due to "infirmity being render'd unfit for further service" and recommended to live out the remainder of his days at Chelsea Hospital.
John Fraser's surname was often returned as "Frazer" on company paylists throughout his service.