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Pension Records pre WWI

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Pension Records pre WWI

Postby coopernicola » Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:50 pm

Having just watched Billy Connelly's episode I'm wondering if it is possible to obtain a copy of a soldier's record pre WWI. Charles Hilton, b1849 West Ham, was a Sgt in the RFA based at Throxenby N Yorks in 1891. He is mostly absent from census during his lifetime, I guess he was serving abroad. I suspect at one point he was in Ireland as his wife was born in Athlone, and there is a marriage for them on Ancestry. One of his older children appears to have been born in Ireland too.
I suspect he served for many years and was probably entitled to a pension, would this be available too?
Using the discovery mode for TNA I can see there is a description on enlistment for him age 17 (although I would need to visit or request a copy as these records are not digitised), but would this contain any more information?
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Re: Pension Records pre WWI

Postby junkers » Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:38 pm

The service records (WO 97) are available at findmypast and free at TNA and which, if he received a pension, should give details. It is likely that Charles would have been serving 'at Home' (including Ireland) and 'Overseas' at the time of the census. TNA also have the payment of pensions by the regional regimental offices, but not digitised. There are pay lists/muster rolls at TNA but the Royal Artillery records are difficult, heavy and large documents.
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Re: Pension Records pre WWI

Postby Sylcec » Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:12 am

Yes, this is definitely available on FindMyPast:

First name(s) CHARLES
Last name HILTON
Birth year 1850
Birth parish WEST HAM
Birth town STRATFORD
Birth county ESSEX
Birth country ENGLAND
Service number 22069
Rank -
Regiment Royal Artillery
Document Type Attestation
Attestation year 1867
Attestation Day 7
Attestation Month 5
Attestation age years 17
Attestation age months 11
Attestation Corps Royal Artillery
Attestation service number 22069
Discharge Corps Royal Artillery
Series chelsea pensioners british army service records 1760-1913
Box 3057
Box Record Number 58
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Re: Pension Records pre WWI

Postby coopernicola » Sat Oct 04, 2014 4:01 am

Brilliant, thank you both I'll get a few credits for FMP.
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Re: Pension Records pre WWI

Postby coopernicola » Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:27 pm

Money well spent, what a wealth of information in six pages. My man spent 24 years in the RFA in total, never saw action or got wounded but did spend some time in India & Ireland (as I suspected). He was promoted from gunner up to Sgt. Gunnery instructor in the first 10 years of his service and retired at this rank.
His medical records show that among mostly mild complaints (diarrhoea treated with castor oil!) he had one bout of gonorrhoea before his marriage, and his service records show he was 'temperate' throughout his many years service. I suspect it was a much easier life than those who actually saw action.
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Re: Pension Records pre WWI

Postby Sylcec » Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:52 pm

Thanks for sharing Nicola. Looks like your man did indeed lead a temperate life in the military. You'd be amazed at how many got "very good" on their character at retirement, yet seemed to spend innumerable periods in the hospital being treated for the full range of sexually transmitted diseases.
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Re: Pension Records pre WWI

Postby coopernicola » Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:12 am

As a retired microbiologist it's always fascinating to find historic evidence of disease in ancestors (especially when details of treatments pre antibiotic era are included). It's mostly TB as my ancestors were mainly poor, urban dwellers, but having many sailors in my tree means syphilis also crops up too. I'm currently trying to find evidence of meningitis in one family group as I have a two wives & a step-child of one merchant sailor all dying within a year of each other due to this.
Charles died young compared to the majority of his relations, only 51, so I'm going to splash out on a death certificate to find out if this could have been due to any of his army complaints!
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Re: Pension Records pre WWI

Postby Sylcec » Sun Oct 05, 2014 5:39 am

Coping with the climate in India can break a man's health and I see that Charles had almost 7 years there. However, he must have come home in at least reasonably good health from his time in India as he managed to serve almost another 17 years in the UK! So, unless he had some lurking marial or other tropical disease which broke out, I would guess that his cause of death was something else. Will be interested to learn what it says on the death cert.
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Re: Pension Records pre WWI

Postby coopernicola » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:15 am

Charles' death certificate arrived this morning for a "temperate man" it's interesting that his cause of death at just 51 was alcoholism! I guess the army idea of temperance was different to mine.
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Re: Pension Records pre WWI

Postby Sylcec » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:37 am

Maybe he had nothing better to do in 'retirement' but get sozzled.
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