Author Topic: Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald  (Read 5510 times)

Offline groat

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Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« on: Friday 06 February 09 10:52 GMT (UK) »
Can anyone tell me how to trace the service records of these two soldiers (my great-grandfather and grandfather)?

Here’s what I know.

Patrick McDonald was a Trooper (Private?) in the 10th Hussars (according to family papers) or possibly 21st Hussars (according to his wife’s death certificate). According to the 1891 census he was born in Belfast about 1841 but in the 1911 census this has changed to Castlebar, County Mayo in 1840. In May 1870 he married Bridget Brangan, born County Clare c 1844, in Brighton, East Sussex. At the time of his marriage Patrick was resident in Preston Cavalry Barracks, Brighton. In 1871 Bridget was living with her mother in Brighton with no mention of Patrick who was presumably away soldiering. Bridget had four children born in 1872 in Colchester, 1873 in Canterbury, 1878 in Matra, India and 1882 back in Brighton. In 1891 the whole family was living together in Brighton with Patrick now a Pensioner. !n 1901 he and his wife were in an old people’s home in Old Shoreham Road, Hove, Sussex. Bridget remained there till her death in 1917 but by 1911 Patrick was apparently an inmate in Steyning Workhouse. According to (not very reliable) family papers, Patrick died in 1924 in Chelsea Hospital and was buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking, but I haven’t been able to verify any of those facts (date, place of death, place of burial). Also according to family papers, Patrick's father (or more likely grandfather) Walter McDonald, fought at Waterloo, but maybe I should post that in a separate topic.

John McDonald was born in 1978 in Matra India. In 1905, possibly on leave from his posting at The Curragh, County Kildare, he married Mary Dorette Sophie Flora McDonald (or possibly MacDonald) at a Catholic Church in Kensington High St. He (or rather she!) had 5 children born The Curragh 1908, Guildford 1909 and 1911, Preston (Lancashire) 1912 and Blackburn 1913 (my father). In 1905 he was a sergeant in the East Lancashire Regiment. In 1911 his wife was at a military base in Guildford with 3 children but no sign of husband. From family papers I understand he ended WWI as a Lieutenant and Quartermaster but haven’t been able to verify this. He died around 1951 at which time he was a resident Chelsea Pensioner. What happened to him between the end of WWI and his death I don’t know. His wife died aged 37 in 1915 and he apparently had very brief compassionate leave from France to organise his children which he did by scattering them to relatives around the country and, in my father’s case, to an orphanage.

I have been trying to build up a better picture of the careers of these two men but don’t know how to find out about their military records. Can anyone help?

Thank you for reading this far.

Ian
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Offline km1971

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Re: Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« Reply #1 on: Friday 06 February 09 15:05 GMT (UK) »
Hi Ian

Regarding Patrick, surviving service records for men discharged up to 31 Dec 1913 are original documents in series WO97 in Kew. His will be in the box covering McDonalds for men discharged between 1883 and 1900. If you cannot get to Kew you can wait for Findmypast to digitise them. His papers will include all his service, even if he changed regiments.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/militaryhistory/army/step4.htm

If his papers do not survive you will certainly find him in the Muster Books and Pay Lists (WO12 and 16). To do this you need to know his regiment, and both the regiments you mention appear to have their Depots in Canterbury rather than Brighton. Can you post the names of a few offices from the census so I can look them up in the Army Lists.

John may be harder, as the muster books stop during the 1890s. If his service ended before the end of 1913, and he re-enlisted during WW1, there will be two sets of papers. However if he served for one continuous period there will only be one set, and they will be in the 'WW1' series.

According to the September 1918 Army List there is a Captain J McDonald, QM with the 4th Battalion, attached to the 1/7th Bn of the Gordon Highlanders.  He also held the Military Cross. It gives an effective date of 14 Nov 1914. Using that in the LG search I found this - http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/28988/supplements/10116

Although on the NA medal index card website I can only find this - http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=3972557&queryType=1&resultcount=5

If you have Ancestry you may be able to get this for free. The cards on Ancestry sometimes have addresses on them, which you do not get with the NA scans.

Maybe the 1918 Army List is wrong about the attachment to the Gordons. The 4th Battalion were based in Blackburn.

Ken

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Offline groat

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Re: Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« Reply #2 on: Friday 06 February 09 17:45 GMT (UK) »
Hello Ken

Thank you very much. This is very helpful. I can see a trip to Kew may be the best solution. From what you say that's where I'll find the Chelsea Pensioner information as well.

 What do you mean by "the names of a few offices from the census"?

I've managed to find John McDonald's medal card on Ancestry but I don't understand all its information. It does indeed give his address and on the same side it reads EF9.   29.8.10 (the 10 could just possibly be 20) the last bit clearly being a date but what does EF9 mean?

On the other side in the Roll column it reads OFF 129 followed by a page number. The next row "dittos" this information and the two rows are bracketed and covered by hard to decipher numerical  data in the Remarks column. Theatre of war first served in looks like ( 11 and date of entry therein is 1.3.17 followed further across by more numerical data.

Can you throw any light on this?

Thanks again for your help.

Ian
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Offline km1971

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Re: Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« Reply #3 on: Friday 06 February 09 19:02 GMT (UK) »

 What do you mean by "the names of a few offices from the census"?


I meant officers. They appear in the Army Lists, so if you list a few we can probably find which regiment they were in.

Ken

Offline groat

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Re: Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 07 February 09 12:53 GMT (UK) »
In the censuses where I have found Patrick McDonald he is already a Pensioner (1891, 1901 and 1911). No sign of him or his wife in 1881 when I suspect they were in India with their eldest three children - John McDonald born Matra, India 1878 (I have a photograph of Bridget with a small child and a baby, annotated by an earlier generation family member "thought to be in India"). I cannot find Patrick in 1871 although his wife is in Brighton with her mother. The only Officers I can find potentially associated with Patrick are in Colchester Infantry Barracks in 1861. There are two Patrick McDonalds from Ireland there, one born 1840 the other 1841 so I'm hoping that one of them is "mine"!.

Officers: Samuel Dunning Capt Adj (?) aged 59.   RG9; Piece: 1097; Folio: 104; Page: 1; GSU roll: 542753.
Edward C Bicknell Lieutenant aged 25.  RG9; Piece: 1097; Folio: 152; Page: 1; GSU roll: 542753
John Smith Nelson Ensign aged 19.  RG9; Piece: 1097; Folio: 152; Page: 1; GSU roll: 542753

The children's births appear to place Patrick (or at any rate his wife) in Colchester in 1872, Canterbury 1873, India 1878 and Brighton (perhaps Preston Barracks?) 1882.

Ian
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Offline carol8353

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Re: Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 07 February 09 18:24 GMT (UK) »
So glad you've had some positive response to this Ian- I knew you would!

Carol
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Offline km1971

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Re: Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 08 February 09 10:50 GMT (UK) »
Hi Ian

Both Bicknell and Nelson were with the 38th Regiment (1st Staffordshires) at the end of 1861. The Depot was in Colchester while the regiment was in Dinapore, India.

You will need to post a scan of the medal card for McDonald. OFF = Officers, and "(11" is probably (1), meaning France.

Ken

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Re: Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« Reply #7 on: Monday 23 February 09 15:30 GMT (UK) »
Hello Ken

I've just got back from holiday.

Thanks for the further info about the officers.

Does the fact that the 38th regiment, 1st Staffordshires were in Colchester in 1861 mean that the Patrick McDonalds listed in the census were attached to that regiment? Would it be normal for one of them ("my" one!) to transfer subsequently  to another regiment (10th or 21st Hussars)? I'm trying to assemble all the info I can before embarking on a visit to Kew.

Here's a photograph of Patrick McDonald inscribed on the back "Grandad Mac 10th Royal Hussars (PWO) about 1879"

Also scan of the medal card for John McDonald. (I didn't know I had an MC holder in the family!)

Ian
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Offline groat

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Re: Soldiers Patrick McDonald and John McDonald
« Reply #8 on: Monday 23 February 09 15:37 GMT (UK) »
Hello Carol

Here's a photo and its inscription of my grandmother, wife of the John McDonald in the previous post. (Since I can't post it on the thread devoted to her).

I don't know whether you may be able to glean any further info from this.

Ian
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