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General => Armed Forces => Topic started by: Stanwix England on Sunday 09 May 21 02:16 BST (UK)

Title: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: Stanwix England on Sunday 09 May 21 02:16 BST (UK)
Hi Everyone,

I'm sorry if I ask a lot of stupid questions. I really know nothing about military history.

I'm trying to dig in to the life of a man called Ralph Harwood, who was born in about 1855 in Grimsby, to work out if he was really the father of my GG Grandmother. 

I know that he joined the military in September 1885 and was part of the Liverpool Regiment. I know his number was 1345.

According the medical page of his record, by October 1886 he had travelled to India. I'm not sure how long he stayed in India but the page is lengthy and has entries 1887, 1888 and 1889. There are also entries for 1890, 1891 and 1892. Unfortunately the column which has the place names in it is blurry and largely blank.

On 6th June 1900 he was posted to South Africa,  specifically Machadodorp. The record says he was killed in an accident there in October 1900.

The specific reason I'm interested is because I previously believed he was my 2nd Great Grandfather. In theory, he had a daughter called Jane Amelia who was born in November 1891.

So theoretically, he may have been back in England in time to father a child in 1891. I have no idea what he was doing between 1892 and 1900 because the record doesn't say - or if it does I don't understand it.

However I'm suspicious because there is no father listed on Jane Amelia's birth certificate. Although she does say Ralph Harwood is her father on her marriage certificate. Also her mother, Elizabeth, was living with another man as his servant on the 1891 census, with three of her children and when she must have been pregnant with Jane Amelia.

Also on his record when he signs up, Ralph denies that he is married and as his next of kin gives his Mum's details and that of two of his sisters. Which makes me think that maybe the marriage had broken down.

So I'm wondering basically, is it possible that Ralph left the army in say 1892 and came back to England and then joined up again in 1900?
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: Nic. on Sunday 09 May 21 06:36 BST (UK)
Hi

Itís possible my husbands great grandfather was in the Shropshire Light Infantry, he was also stationed in India. He fails to appear on UK censuses for 20 years yet there are children born in the UK. When I finally got his military record it showed that he returned a few times over this time period.

Nic
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: Stanwix England on Sunday 09 May 21 14:23 BST (UK)
Thank you, I'll have to see if I can get that more detailed record.
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: trish1120 on Sunday 09 May 21 14:31 BST (UK)
Do you have Jane Amelia in the 1901 Census?

She is not with her Mother that I can see.

Re Jane Amelias birth cert Its strange as her supposed siblings Isabella 1895 and Mary 1897 have their mmn as Benson.

EDIT I've now found Jane in Hospital 1901 Census.

Gosh Ralph/Elizabeths son Stanwick was in Canada age 13 in 1891.
(his Marriage is on F/S 1901 but you may already know that)
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: trish1120 on Sunday 09 May 21 14:34 BST (UK)
So this is the cert you have?

HARWOOD, JANE  AMELIA mmn BENSON 
GRO Reference: 1891  D Quarter in EASINGTON  Volume 10A  Page 452

Who reg the birth?
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: Stanwix England on Sunday 09 May 21 14:48 BST (UK)
Hi Trish,

Thank you for this, yes I did have the certificate for Jane Amelia, unfortunately I've misplaced it during a house move so I can't check up who registered her birth. I'll have to check again.

I did not know about her siblings mmn, that's very interesting. If I recall correctly, Isabella is a witness at Jane's wedding and gives her surname as Harwood, assuming its her. Which does imply they were using the Harwood surname at least.

I was aware about their son, partly through family legend. It's quite odd considering his mother at least was still around in England but perhaps she had no say in the matter or thought it was for the best for him? 
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: mona lisa on Sunday 09 May 21 17:58 BST (UK)
re: the son :  would he be part of the Dr Barnardo Home Children scheme 1869 -1932 ?
The mother's had very little say in the matter ;  especially if they fell on hard times or father
deserted them or died. There were many organizations like Dr Barnardo supplying children
for farm labour/domestic duties. A child of 13 in 1892 was probably equivalent to a 20 year
old of today. On a passenger ships list about 1904 for Canada. I recall seeing children as young as 6 years old . There would be escorts accompanying the children. There is a data base to search.
Something to think apart as another alternative.
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: Stanwix England on Sunday 09 May 21 18:21 BST (UK)
Thank you Mona Lisa, I will have to look in to that.
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: groom on Sunday 09 May 21 19:53 BST (UK)
Don't forget that if the mother was married, the child would be registered in her husband's name even if he wan't about! Happened quite a bit during the wars when husbands had been overseas for a few years yet still managed to be named on children's certificates.
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: Stanwix England on Sunday 09 May 21 22:45 BST (UK)
Thank you groom. That seems to be the scenario that things are pointing towards.

I have a supplementary question. Looking at the medical record, there are some dates that signify particular postings. Unfortunately in all but one instance the actual place is illegible.

However under these dates there are three digit numbers. I was wondering if anyone could shed light on what the significance of those might mean.

For example, Ralph was stationed somewhere beginning with H, possibly in India from 3rd April 1887. Underneath that it says '231'.

He was then stationed in Naini Tal, India, from 28 March 1889. Underneath that it says '147'.

As far as I am aware this is not related to his service number which was 1345.
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: scotmum on Sunday 09 May 21 22:58 BST (UK)
Possibility for Stanwick:

Given Name(s):   Stantwin
Surname:   HARWOOD
Gender:   M
Year of Arrival:   1891
Ship:   SARNIA
Date of Departure:   1891-03-19
Port of Departure:   Liverpool
Date of Arrival:   1891-03-29
Port of Arrival:   Halifax
Destination:   Belleville, Ontario

per. https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/home-children-1869-1930/immigration-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=32407
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: Redroger on Tuesday 11 May 21 16:25 BST (UK)
My uncle by marriage joined the army in 1906 (a decade later) and was stationed in India and Singapore, from what he said in conversation over 50 years ago he certainly returned to England on leave at least once. Admittedly this is slightly later, but I would be surprised if things had changed in a decade.
Title: Re: Would men stationed in India in the late 1800s travel back to England sometimes?
Post by: Stanwix England on Tuesday 11 May 21 19:33 BST (UK)
Thank you scotmum and Redroger.

 :)