Author Topic: Gleaning as much information as possible from an attestation record  (Read 163 times)

Offline ingrambr

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Gleaning as much information as possible from an attestation record
« on: Tuesday 20 September 22 22:23 BST (UK) »
Hi,

My great grandfather went off to war and as far as we know, never returned to his wife and child.  There is no record of his death, getting married again or anything else.  The last records that we have of him are his appearance in the 1921 census at barracks in Aldershot and his attestation for Royal Tank Corps Enlistment in 1919 (attached).

The attestation entry is fascinating and is something that we have only recently just discovered and I have a number of questions regarding the details and I wonder if anyone here can help with any insights?

  • Why is there a name of another soldier (Cooks C.) listed in red pen at the bottom of the entry?  I have looked at said soldier on Folio 18 and there is nothing remarkable there.
  • In pencil it is noted that he deserted in 1922.  Would there be any other formal record relating to his desertion?  Court marshall?  Can anyone speculate as to why someone would desert in 1922? I could understand 1914-18 more so, but he seemed to survive the war, why desert in 1922?
  • In the transfer to or from Regiment column it lists his previous service.  I cannot find any record of my grandfather in any other military document.  I've searched on ancestry, findmypast, fold3, forces records, ... just nothing, but he seems to have been involved in at least 4 other regiments.  Also, 13th Hussars is written in the same penmanship as the rest of the line, but the other service history is written in a different pen and style.  Would this have been added later? and why?  Also, would a trip to the national archives potentially unveil some records?
  • His wife and child (my grandfather) is written in different pen.  The wife and children is underlined in red?  The father's address is added in pencil.  None of the other attestation entries on the page had anything other than spouse or parent.  Why would the Father's contact details have been added in pencil at a later date?
  • Almost everyone else on this page has a list of medals.  This record has none.  He seemed to have spent nearly 3 years in France - which seemed more than others on the page.  Would he have been a terrible solider if he didn't even get a single medal?
  • The vibe I get from this is that for whatever reason he didn't want to return to his wife and child.  After 4 years of war, why would you enlist again for 3 more years?  And then why desert?
  • Was it common for people in the forces to just disappear?  Maybe start a new life abroad? Under a different identity?

Would love to hear from anyone with any insights whatsoever that could help me unlock this family mystery.




Offline Jebber

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Re: Gleaning as much information as possible from an attestation record
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 21 September 22 21:08 BST (UK) »
Since he was in the Army after 1920 any records would be with the MOD.
As for why he deserted, there could be any number of reasons.
There would only have been a Courts Martial if he was caught?
He most likely changed his name if he wanted to disappear, he would not have needed to do it officially

Sorry, I should have said welcome to Rootschat.
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 Jebber

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Re: Gleaning as much information as possible from an attestation record
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 21 September 22 21:44 BST (UK) »
This may be of interest, although the age is out, that could easily be a mistake. If he was in bad health he could easily have looked eight years older, the landlady May not have known his true age.

In the South of England Advertiser 25 August 1929.

Guildford, at an Inquest on Friday on Robert Ingram known as Wm. Robert Williams (51) builder's foreman, of Woodlands, Peasmarsh, it was stated by his landlady  he took the name of Williams because he was a deserter from the army. Ingram, was taken suddenly ill, was found to be suffering from heart disease in an advanced state.


Here is the reference to order the death certificate,  if you wish.
Deaths December 1929  INGRAM Robert,   Hambledon, Vol 2a, Page 237.
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 ShaunJ

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Re: Gleaning as much information as possible from an attestation record
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 22 September 22 11:08 BST (UK) »
Quote
In the South of England Advertiser 25 August 1929.

Is that the right date? I can see the report in the West Sussex Gazette of 24 October 1929 which says the inquest took place "on Friday" which would have been 18 October.
UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Offline Jebber

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Re: Gleaning as much information as possible from an attestation record
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 22 September 22 12:25 BST (UK) »
Your quite correct Shaun, it was the South of England Advertiser 24 October, I was looking at two different topics in that paper and got the two dates mixed up. ::)

Itís indexed under West Sussex Gazette, but the heading on the paper is The South of England Advertiser, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Kent.
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 ingrambr

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Re: Gleaning as much information as possible from an attestation record
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 22 September 22 12:39 BST (UK) »
This may be of interest, although the age is out, that could easily be a mistake. If he was in bad health he could easily have looked eight years older, the landlady May not have known his true age.

In the South of England Advertiser 25 August 1929.

Guildford, at an Inquest on Friday on Robert Ingram known as Wm. Robert Williams (51) builder's foreman, of Woodlands, Peasmarsh, it was stated by his landlady  he took the name of Williams because he was a deserter from the army. Ingram, was taken suddenly ill, was found to be suffering from heart disease in an advanced state.


Here is the reference to order the death certificate,  if you wish.
Deaths December 1929  INGRAM Robert,   Hambledon, Vol 2a, Page 237.

Wow, many thanks for finding this - that's a great find!  This looks really interesting and something that I hadn't considered.  It's close to Aldershot where he was last recorded as being and there is a compelling story behind his name change, the only issue is the age.  Before I order the death cert, I checked FreeBMD and the index indicates the same age of death as the landlady - the age on FreeBMD is likely to coincide with the birth certificate right?


Offline Jebber

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Re: Gleaning as much information as possible from an attestation record
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 22 September 22 18:04 BST (UK) »
It is not always easy to judge how old a person is, especially if you don't know them.

Ages on death are always the least reliable, quite often the informant can only guess at the age. Even relatives get it wrong sometimes. Eight years difference is not that great when he was suffering from heart  disease, he may have  looked considerably older.

As well as changing his name, he may have made out he was older as part of his attempt to avoid the risk of arrest for desertion.
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.