Posts Tagged ‘ WO363 ’
Our resident military expert Paul Nixon, pictured below, offers advice on how to solve your military family history mysteries.
From Alan Theobald:
‘I have been trying to find any records of my paternal grandfather’s army service for several years, without success, and would be grateful for any advice you can offer.
He was James Theobald, born in 1870, died in 1950/1 in Romford, Essex. He lived all his life within a few miles of Romford except for military service. He was unlikely to have been a commissioned officer. This is all I know about him:
- Found on the 1891 census as a civilian
- Not found on the 1901 census, which could suggest that he was overseas at the time
- Described on the 1911 census and on the 1909 birth certificate of one of his sons as an army pensioner. I know that he was partially paralysed as a result of wounds and/or sunstroke
- Not found in Chelsea Pensioners records, which could suggest that he was not a British Army pensioner. Who else would have paid him an army pension?
- Not found in any 2nd Boer War records. Not found by a researcher in WO97
- Reputed to have described the sun as the Bengal blanket
- Granted the lease of a smallholding in Crow Lane, Romford in around 1930, until his death, under a Royal British Legion scheme for disabled ex-servicemen. RBL say that they have no archive material
Hope you can help.’
Admittedly he’s a bit of a mystery and you’re really struggling without a regiment.
The survival rate of documents in WO97 for men discharged to pension between 1883 and 1913 is very good; in fact Michael and Christopher Watts, in their book My Ancestor was in the British Army (Society of Genealogists 2009) describe finding a document as ‘a near certainty’.
The fact that nothing appears to survive for your grandfather could suggest a) that he was discharged overseas (the survival rate for these men’s papers is low) or b) that he subsequently served during WWI. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he could have joined up again in 1914, his papers being moved out of what is now WO97 and into WO363 where they were subsequently destroyed during bombing in WWII.
I’m tempted towards WWI because you mention the Royal British Legion, an organisation formed after WWI to look after WWI veterans and their families. As far as I’m aware they did not concern themselves with veterans of previous conflicts, although it would be worth verifying this with RBL.’
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