Author Topic: WW1 Name Change  (Read 1428 times)

Offline MiriamThomas

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WW1 Name Change
« on: Wednesday 01 October 14 20:13 BST (UK) »
Hi, I have a mystery which if possible I would like to solve. While searching my husbands FT I came across a John McCann born 23 Feb 1894, Londonderry to James and Mary McCann (nee Meehan).

John is still with the family in 1901 and 1911 census. The family appear to move to Greenock, Scotland between 1911 and 1915, Mary death records show this.

John appears to disappear. Quite by chance I come across a war memorial death record for a John Gallagher, who was killed 7 Jan 1919 in a mine explosion in the Thames Estuary. The memorial states that he was actually called McCann.

When I checked his service records on National Archives his next of kin was James McCann and the address matches that on Mary's death record. A note is on the record stating that James McCann had given proof to show that John Gallagher was actually John McCann. He had also changed his birth to 14 Aug 1896 and place of birth to Co Claire.

Who was he hiding from and why??????????? How will I find out? Isn't family history exciting!!!!

Offline Jennaya

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Re: WW1 Name Change
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 02 October 14 11:33 BST (UK) »
I'm is Australia and had a couple of ancestors who also changed their names during the war. One case was that he tried for the army and was rejected so he tried again under a different name. Another changed his name as he was underage so adopted another name to join and say he was older. Are your service records available to look at. Ours are and that is how I found out.

Regards
jennaya

Offline majm

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Re: WW1 Name Change
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 02 October 14 12:01 BST (UK) »
Hi there,

Jennaya is spot on, many of the Australian lads (all volunteers) changed their name, their date of birth, their place of birth, when enlisting in the Australian Imperial Forces.  Some did it to make out they were older, and former soldiers did it to make out they were younger.   Some took their mum’s maiden name, to avoid the Recruitment officers checking the details more fully. 

Here’s some links to a famous AIF chap who changed many details about himself, after he returned to Australia.

His AIF service records are freely available at the National Archives of Australia website.  There's only 50 pages to his file.   Many other AIF files have far more pages.
Here's the link to the NAA http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/search/index.aspx   Use the search as a guest option and the key words Harold KATTE.   :)  then click on the "digitised item"

Cheers,  JM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Caux
http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1865510/
http://mappingouranzacs.naa.gov.au/Details.aspx?barcode_no=8332004&TB_iframe=true&height=500&width=600
https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=159752


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Offline scotmum

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Re: WW1 Name Change
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 02 October 14 14:04 BST (UK) »
a John Gallagher, who was killed 7 Jan 1919 in a mine explosion in the Thames Estuary.

Small amendment needed perhaps, as most sources state February?

This project http://www.diamondwarmemorial.com/pages/about-us would probably welcome the details you have found on John McCann (alias Gallagher).
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Offline MiriamThomas

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Re: WW1 Name Change
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 02 October 14 19:21 BST (UK) »
Yes sorry my mistake it was February 1919 not January 1919. I wouldn't care I have the correct date written down in my notes  ::)

I can understand why someone would change their DOB to be older but why younger? It's as though he wanted John McCann to disappear.


Offline majm

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Re: WW1 Name Change
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 02 October 14 22:52 BST (UK) »
that John Gallagher was actually John McCann. He had also changed his birth to 14 Aug 1896 and place of birth to Co Claire.
Who was he hiding from and why??????????? How will I find out? Isn't family history exciting!!!!
but why younger? It's as though he wanted John McCann to disappear.
Have you checked to see if anyone in the family was born 14 August 1896,   ...... I eventually sorted out a "change of DOB" by looking for family, and the 'new' dob was his cousins ! I also found one change of DOB was very easily understood.... it was the date of baptism, so the lad carried his baptismal cert, or the details of it, around with him...... of course. both these alternatives would perhaps be easy to remember if ever asked ......  There's likely many other reasons too.

Cheers,  JM

Cheers, JM
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Offline jim1

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Re: WW1 Name Change
« Reply #6 on: Friday 03 October 14 11:38 BST (UK) »
May be he was an Army deserter.
In Feb. 1919 most men were still in the Army.
What was his service no. & Regt.
Warks:Ashford;Cadby;Clarke;Clifford;Cooke Copage;Easthope;
Edmonds;Felton;Colledge;Lutwyche;Mander(s);May;Poole;Withers.
Staffs.Edmonds;Addison;Duffield;Webb;Fisher;Archer
Salop:Easthope,Eddowes,Hoorde,Oteley,Vernon,Talbot,De Neville.
Notts.Clarke;Redfearne;Treece.
Som.May;Perriman;Cox
India Kane;Felton;Cadby
London.Haysom.
Lancs.Gay.
Worcs.Coley;Mander;Sawyer.
Kings of Wessex & Scotland
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Offline MiriamThomas

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Re: WW1 Name Change
« Reply #7 on: Friday 03 October 14 19:30 BST (UK) »
That's what we were starting to think. Unfortunately I only have his Royal Navy number (John Gallagher)  K/55407.


Offline Davy Boy

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Re: WW1 Name Change
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 14 October 14 17:15 BST (UK) »
My wife's paternal grandfather joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1914. He didn't like the Warwicks so he went home, sent his uniform C.O.D. to his sergeant and then went to Leicester, where he was from originally. He changed his name to Gray and joined the Royal Field Artillery and was discharged in 1919 with his medals with Gunner Gray inscribed round the edge. We still have one of those medals.
I have been advised this was a common occurrence during the First World War as communications were not very good.
The same could have happened to your ancestor!

David
Smith-Kirkburton
Hill-Kirkburton
Lockwood-Kirkburton
Shaw-Kirkburton
Webster-Kirkburton
Turner-Northowram
Binns-Northowram
Cobb-Hemingbrough
Wilson-Leeds/Halifax