Author Topic: Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?  (Read 449 times)

Offline liscoole

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Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?
« on: Sunday 24 January 21 13:21 GMT (UK) »
Hi
Im researching a soldier - James Wilkinson b 1871 Wigan who enlisted in June 1892 into the 2nd Dorset Regiment. He went on to serve in the Boer War and won medals for Relief of Ladysmith and Tugela Heights. He died in Belfast in 1907.

The issue is, details of his life before enlistment are very sketchy. On his marriage certificate in 1895 he lists his parents as James and Ann, on his enlistment in 1892 he lists his next of kin he names a random person as his sister. It just doesnt make sense. Plus, he claims to have been born January 1871, but I have not found him in any census prior to 1901, in Ireland. (Forthill Barracks, Cork).

My question is- did soldiers have to provide identification when enlisting? A birth certificate? Im sure it was unlikely that photographic identification was requested in those days. How did soldiers prove who they were?
My other suspicion is that he was too young to enlist and lied about his age.

Any ideas would be very welcome!

Many thanks in advance!
(edited for clarity- have considered the possiblity that his parents were no longer alive in 1895, but the "sister" belongs to a completely different family with different parents!)
MAGEE (Dungannon Tyrone to Shankill Belfast, to Whitehouse Co Antrim,) HALL (Lisnaskea, Fermanagh to Yan Yean, Melbourne Australia) McIVOR (Whitehouse, Co Antrim), McCULLOUGH (Markethill, Armagh), DEMPSTER (Ballymena, Co Antrim to Belfast), CUMMING (Glasgow), EVANS (Llandysill, Montgomeryshire to Belfast), NEVIN/ NEVINS (Ballynahinch, Co Down to Belfast), EMMS (Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey), HURREY (Yan Yean, Whittlesea, Melbourne), FINLAY- Jane, of Co Down, m James McIvor 1867. HOBSON Tyrone

Offline Jebber

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Re: Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 24 January 21 13:47 GMT (UK) »
The short answer is NO. Some men lied about their age and other things on enlistment. Some are known to have deserted and later re-enlisted under a fictions name and details.

Some people  lied about their details at their marriage, and sometimes  in the census, so you have to be imaginative in your research.
CHOULES All ,  COKER Harwich Essex & Rochester Kent 
COLE Gt. Oakley, & Lt. Oakley, Essex.
DUNCAN Kent
EVERITT Colchester,  Dovercourt & Harwich Essex
GULLIVER/GULLOFER Fifehead Magdalen Dorset
HORSCROFT Kent.
KING Sturminster Newton, Dorset. MONK Odiham Ham.
SCOTT Wrabness, Essex
WILKINS Stour Provost, Dorset.
WICKHAM All in North Essex.
WICKHAM Medway Towns, Kent from 1880
WICKHAM, Ipswich, Suffolk.

Offline KGarrad

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Re: Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 24 January 21 14:15 GMT (UK) »
Plus, he claims to have been born January 1871, but I have not found him in any census prior to 1901, in Ireland. (Forthill Barracks, Cork).

Very little census data exists for Ireland before 1901 :D
Garrad (Suffolk, Essex, Somerset), Crocker (Somerset), Vanstone (Devon, Jersey), Sims (Wiltshire), Bridger (Kent)


Offline liscoole

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Re: Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 24 January 21 14:40 GMT (UK) »
The short answer is NO. Some men lied about their age and other things on enlistment. Some are known to have deserted and later re-enlisted under a fictions name and details.

Some people  lied about their details at their marriage, and sometimes  in the census, so you have to be imaginative in your research.
thank you... I have crossed posted on Antrim board to see if he had to provide any legal documentation to get married in the Catholic Church. Thanks for your help.
MAGEE (Dungannon Tyrone to Shankill Belfast, to Whitehouse Co Antrim,) HALL (Lisnaskea, Fermanagh to Yan Yean, Melbourne Australia) McIVOR (Whitehouse, Co Antrim), McCULLOUGH (Markethill, Armagh), DEMPSTER (Ballymena, Co Antrim to Belfast), CUMMING (Glasgow), EVANS (Llandysill, Montgomeryshire to Belfast), NEVIN/ NEVINS (Ballynahinch, Co Down to Belfast), EMMS (Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey), HURREY (Yan Yean, Whittlesea, Melbourne), FINLAY- Jane, of Co Down, m James McIvor 1867. HOBSON Tyrone

Offline liscoole

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Re: Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 24 January 21 14:42 GMT (UK) »
Plus, he claims to have been born January 1871, but I have not found him in any census prior to 1901, in Ireland. (Forthill Barracks, Cork).

Very little census data exists for Ireland before 1901 :D

Thank you for your help, however I am looking for him in the census 1871 - 1891 in England, probably in the Wigan area. Apologies, I did not explain that the reason he ended up in Belfast was because his regiment was stationed there once. Apologies again for the confusion!
MAGEE (Dungannon Tyrone to Shankill Belfast, to Whitehouse Co Antrim,) HALL (Lisnaskea, Fermanagh to Yan Yean, Melbourne Australia) McIVOR (Whitehouse, Co Antrim), McCULLOUGH (Markethill, Armagh), DEMPSTER (Ballymena, Co Antrim to Belfast), CUMMING (Glasgow), EVANS (Llandysill, Montgomeryshire to Belfast), NEVIN/ NEVINS (Ballynahinch, Co Down to Belfast), EMMS (Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey), HURREY (Yan Yean, Whittlesea, Melbourne), FINLAY- Jane, of Co Down, m James McIvor 1867. HOBSON Tyrone

Offline Kiltaglassan

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Re: Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 24 January 21 14:50 GMT (UK) »
thank you... I have crossed posted on Antrim board to see if he had to provide any legal documentation to get married in the Catholic Church. Thanks for your help.

Linking to your other thread-
https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=843337.msg7100590#new
Researching: Cuthbertson – Co. Derry, Scotland & Australia; Hunter – Co. Derry; Jackson – Co. Derry, Scotland & Canada; Scott – Co. Derry; Neilly – Co. Antrim & USA; McCurdy – Co. Antrim; Nixon – Co. Cavan, Co. Donegal, Canada & USA; Ryan & Noble – Co. Sligo

Offline liscoole

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Re: Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 24 January 21 15:19 GMT (UK) »
thank you... I have crossed posted on Antrim board to see if he had to provide any legal documentation to get married in the Catholic Church. Thanks for your help.

Linking to your other thread-
https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=843337.msg7100590#new
Thank you
MAGEE (Dungannon Tyrone to Shankill Belfast, to Whitehouse Co Antrim,) HALL (Lisnaskea, Fermanagh to Yan Yean, Melbourne Australia) McIVOR (Whitehouse, Co Antrim), McCULLOUGH (Markethill, Armagh), DEMPSTER (Ballymena, Co Antrim to Belfast), CUMMING (Glasgow), EVANS (Llandysill, Montgomeryshire to Belfast), NEVIN/ NEVINS (Ballynahinch, Co Down to Belfast), EMMS (Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey), HURREY (Yan Yean, Whittlesea, Melbourne), FINLAY- Jane, of Co Down, m James McIvor 1867. HOBSON Tyrone

Offline AncestryPete

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Re: Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?
« Reply #7 on: Friday 12 February 21 17:56 GMT (UK) »
Even during the Great War 1914-18 there was no necessity to provide the Army with proof of identity/age. One of my relatives tried to enlist in late August 1914 aged just 14, family lore has it that he declared his age as 16 as his cousin had joined the RN aged 16 and was apparently advised by a recruiting sergeant to "come back tomorrow laddie after your 18th birthday". He returned on the Monday morning to find the same sergeant on duty and was duly enlisted as an 18 year old using his brother's name and the address of his grandmother.  His parents for some reason believed he had run away to sea and it was only after extensive enquiries by his mother and elder sister that he was located in the autumn of 1915 and sent home from Ypres as a "fraudulent enlistment - under age". 

Offline liscoole

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Re: Did soldiers have to provide ID on enlistment?
« Reply #8 on: Friday 12 February 21 22:18 GMT (UK) »
Even during the Great War 1914-18 there was no necessity to provide the Army with proof of identity/age. One of my relatives tried to enlist in late August 1914 aged just 14, family lore has it that he declared his age as 16 as his cousin had joined the RN aged 16 and was apparently advised by a recruiting sergeant to "come back tomorrow laddie after your 18th birthday". He returned on the Monday morning to find the same sergeant on duty and was duly enlisted as an 18 year old using his brother's name and the address of his grandmother.  His parents for some reason believed he had run away to sea and it was only after extensive enquiries by his mother and elder sister that he was located in the autumn of 1915 and sent home from Ypres as a "fraudulent enlistment - under age". 
Thanks Pete that’s a very interesting tale! I’m sure countless young men and boys signed up underage.
I’m sure if it not for his family, this boy may not have made it back from the war alive.
MAGEE (Dungannon Tyrone to Shankill Belfast, to Whitehouse Co Antrim,) HALL (Lisnaskea, Fermanagh to Yan Yean, Melbourne Australia) McIVOR (Whitehouse, Co Antrim), McCULLOUGH (Markethill, Armagh), DEMPSTER (Ballymena, Co Antrim to Belfast), CUMMING (Glasgow), EVANS (Llandysill, Montgomeryshire to Belfast), NEVIN/ NEVINS (Ballynahinch, Co Down to Belfast), EMMS (Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey), HURREY (Yan Yean, Whittlesea, Melbourne), FINLAY- Jane, of Co Down, m James McIvor 1867. HOBSON Tyrone