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Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

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Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

Postby paulcwillis » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:35 pm

Did my Great Grandfather serve in India?

Since purchasing an annual subscription to the Find My Past I've been locating and studying my ancestors Attestation Papers.

I've located the papers for my great grandfather, Thomas Hopper http://www.thewillistree.info/genealogy/showalbum.php?albumID=10, and his brothers Alfred, Frederick and Joseph. The Military History Sheet shows the latter three all served in India, and later in the Boer War.
However, for Thomas there is a mystery. Here is my transcription:

COUNTRY: Home
FROM: 29-12-1890
TO: 13-03-1894
YEARS: 3
DAYS: 74

COUNTRY: India
FROM: 14-03-1894
TO:
YEARS:
DAYS:

And that's the mystery - no dates for his coming home! Although page 3 of the records (Statement of Services) provide much more detail... He DID come home - if he hadn't I would be typing this post...

Any suggestions? Or was the Military History sheet just - forgotten?

Thomas' brothers:
Alfred - http://www.thewillistree.info/genealogy/showalbum.php?albumID=12
Frederick - http://www.thewillistree.info/genealogy/showalbum.php?albumID=13
Joseph - http://www.thewillistree.info/genealogy/showalbum.php?albumID=10
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Re: Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

Postby Sylcec » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:09 pm

It would seem that he was home by 28 Dec 1897 when transferred to Army Reserve. It's a pity there is no medical sheet as part of his service record.

Adrian is the military expert on this forum -so he may have some additional advice.
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Re: Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:10 pm

Rotten lot, they were, forgetting to fill in that missing date.

What remains here appears quite skimpy by WW1 standards. However, it may be typical for papers from this era. (I only checked the one set, those for for Thomas).

It may or may not help to know that a recruit completed two attestation forms, with the second being referred to as a duplicate. It's the duplicate that survived - it says so on the front. That being so, the original was probably fully completed with the date that he came back from India but the duplicate got missed.

Given that he's in 2 Company nearly all his career in the first period in service - apart from some time at the Depot - the simplest explanation of events is that he's with 2 Coy in England first. The Company then goes out to India which is where his 7 years is up. Seven years is a typical period in uniform. He comes back on his own and immediately goes back into civilian life. His 12(?) year period isn't up at this point so he's in the Reserve for the rest of the 12y, which means he's liable to be called up and put back into uniform if required - as it was.

I don't think he comes back to England before that 7y point - why would he? I really can't see the Company coming back after only a short time and if he did come back before that 7y was up then we should have seen another period of Home Duty on the page after India, i.e. there'd be another error.

The above is just a guess BUT it's a guess that matches what we do know and requires the minimum error on the part of the clerks.

One way of corroborating this would be to trace what happened to 2 Company and confirm that they stayed out in India. However, I have no idea how to do that for this era!

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Re: Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

Postby MaureenE » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:30 am

Looking at the available online editions of The New Annual Army List, in the sections on the Royal Artillery, it appears likely he was in the Garrison Artillery.

The 1892 edition, page 184b shows 2 Company, Garrison Artillery at Dover.
https://archive.org/stream/hartsannuala ... 5/mode/1up

The 1896 edition, page 184c show 2 Company Garrison Artillery at Shoeburyness.
http://www.archive.org/stream/newannual ... 5/mode/1up

Unfortunately, there are no online editions between these two dates
These links appear on the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Military periodicals online
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Militar ... _Army_List

If in fact this is the correct company, it may be possible that it was not in India at all, and the single word India on the service record was incorrect. Also, generally the service record would contain a lot more information about the service in India.

Checking the editions of The New Annual Army List, between 1892 and 1896 at a library may clarify matters.

Cheers
Maureen
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Re: Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

Postby paulcwillis » Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:46 am

Thanks Sylec, Adrian and Maureen.

Just to add some extra detail: Thomas appears in the 1891 Census (5 April) as a Gunner at the Dover Castle Barracks.
In the 1901 Census he is living in Whitfield near Dover with his family and is described as a labrourer on the waterworks.
By 1911 he is a coal miner/labourer (above ground), living in Whitfield.

And some anecdotal stuff from his neice:
'His posting was a home one from 1890 until 1894. Then he is shown as posted to India. However, there is no note of the end of this posting and no-one in the family has heard of him going to India. His statement of service shows various transfers in 1894 and then again in 1896, followed by him being placed on the army reserve in 1897.

He was recalled to Army Service under Special Orders in 1899 – the year after his marriage to Emily – and eventually discharged in 1902. It was always believed that he had served in the Boer War, but there is no record of this despite various searches. His two older brothers did go to South Africa so maybe he lived in their reflected glory!'
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Re: Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:56 am

D'oh - thanks Maureen. I believe that you are correct - Garrison Artillery it is.

Certainly when he's recalled I see (now) a reference to Garrison Artillery. And that link explains the EDRA abbreviation at the start - Eastern Division Royal Artillery, which is in the Garrison artillery section. Plus the link makes it clear that the normal unit in the RFA & RHA was the battery. It did strike me that he was in a company not a battery but RA terminology changed so much that I didn't want to leap to conclusions.

Hm. I would certainly give a lot of consideration to your idea that the India reference is an error. So finding 2 Company is the key

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Re: Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

Postby MaureenE » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:25 am

There are now some additional online links available for the period between 1892 and 1896, refer above, which are accessible for the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Stations of the Royal Artillery in India, section The New Annual Army List. These come from the National Library of Scotland website
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Station ... _Army_List

However, I have not checked them out for the Garrison Artillery as discussed above.

As an aside, the National Library of Scotland have added some additional volumes of Hart's Army Lists, and also in the last few days some Monthly Army Lists, mainly WW1. I have added a topic in "Useful resources" about the latter.

Cheers
Maureen
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Re: Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

Postby JaneyH » Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:11 am

Many thanks to Maureen for mentioning the update to the New Annual Army List links on the FIBIS pages. A little while ago you suggested (on the Victorian Wars Forum) that I should look at these to help with an ancestor of mine who served in the Artillery at around the same time as Paul's ancestor mentioned above. In my case, they confirmed stories I'd been told about service in India and then the Boer War.

As a result of the updates I'm now filling in years that were previously blank. The only fly in the ointment so to speak is that having looked at the records of Thomas Hopper that Paul linked to, I see that I don't have attestation papers for my man. The records I have come from FMP, which are TNA's series 'WO97 - Royal Hospital Chelsea pension records'. While they include a military history sheet and Statement of Services, there is nothing about his attestation itself (in 1888). Might these be in a different series? I may be off to Kew at the end of October if I can gather enough queries to make it worthwhile!
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Re: Query over Royal Artillery Attestation Papers....

Postby MaureenE » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:27 am

JaneyH, one series where I am aware there would usually be an attestation form is WO 116 Disability and all Royal Artillery pensions.

To be in this series your ancestor would need to have received a pension (disability or long service) prior to 1914.

Records for Artillery pensions to 1883 may be downloaded for free from the National Archives website, (large download files), but this is before your timeframe. As far as I am aware years after 1883 have not been digitised, and would need to be viewed at the National Archives.

Cheers
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