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Messages - artifis

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He was registered Albert Ernest Sparkes at birth but seems to have regularly dropped the middle name and even the initial.

I couldn't find his military records either, Sparkes is often shortened to Sparks but neither gave any results.

As he's not an ancestor I'm not going to go to the expense of hiring a researcher, I'll document what we've found and put that in a folder along with both Albert's South Africa medal and those of his son, my uncle.

I might try and trace any other descendants of Albert, he had a daughter and another son and I know my cousin knows something about them.  They might be interested to have the medal and know of his 'exploits'.

Thanks Shaun, I'd looked on the Internet but didn't spot the info you found.

That gives me dates for where Albert was in South Africa.

He was born in 1858 in Reading so 21 during the Zulu wars and the war against Sekhukhone but why in the Royal Scots Fusiliers where he'd have had to wear a kilt and a drummer which, perhaps wrongly, I thought were usually younger lads.

I've also been looking for any info regarding Albert's enlistment and his discharge but it seems scarce, I know where he was in 1871 and 1891 from the censuses but he's missing in 1881 so presumably still in the army somewhere.  He married in Q2 1890 so must have been around Reading for a while prior to that especially as his bride came from a village some miles from Reading

He's not an ancestor of mine, he's the father of my favourite uncle who married my father's eldest sister but I do have his 1879 South Africa medal and I'm trying to find out as much about him as I can.  My uncle and aunt had one child, a son, but he died without children and it's been left to two cousins to sort out the estate and they gave me my uncle's and Albert's medals.  My uncle fought in the Crimea, was shot through the neck, twice on ships that were torpedoed and his latter career was the highly dangerous one of checking munitions stored in an ordnance depot, some of which were WW1 16" naval shells and the cordite charges that propelled them, making sure none were 'sweating' which could have led to a catastrophic explosion.  I want to record their lives as it seems a shame that their stories are forgotten.

Hi Shaun you beat me to it, yes it's Sekhukhune.

This was an area that had been ruled by the Pedi who were fought by the Boers in 1876 and then by the British in 1879.

Looking at maps showing the various areas of South Africa, Sekhukhuneland seems a long way north of Zululand so no easy journey.  I can't find a date for the British action against Sekhukhone, presumably some time after the final battle with the Zulu when their chief Cetshwayo was captured.

Any help with dates for this action?

Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Albert Sparkes 1877-1879 South Africa Zulu Wars
« on: Wednesday 10 October 18 17:27 BST (UK)  »
Albert was a drummer in the 2/21st Royal Scots Fusiliers in this period and was awarded the 1879 South African medal  for his part there.  This was the period of Rorke's Drift as portrayed in the film Zulu.

Clip Albert-1 shows the whole double page entry, he's the one at the bottom, and clip Albert-2 shows the part of the entry I'm trying to decipher.

He was present in the war against the Zulus in 1879 and also engaged against ? which I can't decipher.

I've looked at all the battles that occurred against the Zulu nation but none have a name anything like that in the entry and I haven't found a Zulu army leader of that name so far. 

The battles were in chronological order, all 1897:
Inzame River 22 Jan
Isandlwana 22 Jan
Rorke's Drift 22/23 Jan
Siege of Eshowa 23 Jan onwards
Intombe 12 Mar
Hlobane 28 Mar
Kambula 29 Mar
Gingindlova 02 Apr
Ulundi 04 Jun

The name seems to start Seh or k u

Any ideas please.

Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Re: Date of attestation
« on: Thursday 30 August 18 16:08 BST (UK)  »
If you have access to the complete record then you will find the date in at least one other place, two or three if memory serves - that should clarify the date as 2nd or 3rd.

Wiltshire / Re: How many occupations to the pound
« on: Tuesday 21 August 18 16:47 BST (UK)  »
Very possible.  I have an ancestor in a similar scenario to yours and in a subsequent census he is described as the head with his usual occupation and beneath that his wife is described as beer house keeper/brewer.  In the next census he had passed away and his wife is now a licencee of what's now described as a public house, a position she held in the next census and then succeeded by their eldest son with her still employed at the pub.  The pub sold food and as there were no others living there it's reasonable to assume she did the cooking.

Handwriting Deciphering & Recognition / Re: Handwriting help please
« on: Sunday 19 August 18 09:59 BST (UK)  »
Another vote for Tyrrell, seen it written many times like that in my Tyrrell ancestry.

Berkshire / Re: Albert Ernest Sparkes in 1881
« on: Monday 13 August 18 12:02 BST (UK)  »
Good point.  At the time we're talking about, institutionalised patients with poor health, poor conditions, poor food etc. would have been more susceptible to it.

Prior to his admission to the hospital Charles had been working as a painter and decorator and unless he was highly disturbed he would have been encouraged to continue with that in hospital as part of his treatment - a 'normalisation' of his situation; that certainly occurred at what was at the time called Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. From that he would likely have earned some money with which to supplement his diet though the nature of TB would mean he'd gradually become more and more emaciated.

It is likely that his increasing emaciation would have affected his blood chemistry balance and that would have been likely to have manifest itself in dementia like symptoms.  My father was hospitalised for treatment when he'd developed a massive fluid build up and they failed to keep proper records of his fluid intake against the fluid he passed with powerful diuretics, the result was he developed dementia like symptoms.  The hospital said he'd developed rapid onset dementia but luckily the Assistant Director of Nursing at Broadmoor Hospital from my time working there was able to tell me that such condition did not occur in the time frame it had with my father and pointed to the record keeping - I took this up with the ward sister who checked and immediately set up the proper recording regime with the result my father quite quickly returned to what was normal for him.  That sort of treatment would have been beyond the capabilities of the medical staff at the time.

Berkshire / Re: Albert Ernest Sparkes in 1881
« on: Sunday 12 August 18 14:40 BST (UK)  »
I've just heard back from my cousin and he confirms that P.M. does mean a post-mortem was conducted and 'Indefinite' means they had no idea of how long he'd had it, there would have been no way of knowing.

My cousin did add that no inquest had been held - that would have been noted - whereas nowadays if someone dies who has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act then a coroner must be informed although probably he/she wouldn't hold an inquest.

My cousin added that, although TB isn't as contagious as I thought, it is surprising that his wife didn't develop it.  Not everyone exposed to it will develop it or it could have been that she had had it in very mild form and was therefore 'immunised' naturally against it.  My wife and my cousin are both in that category, I wasn't and had to have the vaccination which, in my case, turned out to be very painful a few days later.  :'(

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