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Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:52 pm

ianbee wrote:...
The 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum website has a record of a M Purcell, reg. no. 5107, among those who embarked on TMS Dufferin, 1906.
https://www.9th12thlancersmuseum.org/en ... ?q=purcell


Yes, the Service Record found by Avaline has 5101 on the Statement of Services - easy to confuse but no clarity which is correct.

Well done, Avaline for finding the MP service records - I glanced at the index but discarded it because it didn't show anything other than Royal Irish there...

Unfortunately no next of kin other than a step-sister whose name I cannot read.

So those service records are definitely the MP of the newspaper report - is he the Purcell that we want? Well, there are resemblances in the data - how many 9th Lancers called Purcell live in Chartham? Hmm
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:51 pm

[Joseph] Purcell lived in Mill Row with my wife's Grand Mother from the marriage date up to his alleged leaving for Ireland


While Michael Purcell of the 9th Lancers, the bicycle thief (I have a case of exactly that in my family, albeit on a larger scale) lived, according to the newspaper report, in "a cottage in Mill Lane".

According to the 1911 census (backed up by the 1901) there is only one Mill "anything" in Chartham - Mill Row, which in 1911 has 12 numbered houses plus 1 other.

Now this is the 25 inch map of Chartham from the 1906/07 edition, thanks to the wonderful National Library of Scotland.
https://maps.nls.uk/view/103680407#zoom=5&lat=8279&lon=13743&layers=BT

You will (I hope) see a Paper Mill that fronts onto what is now called Station Road (according to Google Maps). Opposite the Mill, on the other side of Station Road, there is a row of cottages - no lane at their front, just paths (the rear of the cottages back on to the overflow that takes water over a sluice and round the northern side of the mill). I suggest that this row of cottages is Mill Row. And - I counted - there are 12 cottages in this row on the map, to match the census. If anyone can find a map labelled with street names, to confirm, that would be great. I should add that adjacent houses in the census seem to be in the right place in both census and map to support this identification.

So (1) I suggest that the newspaper report is slightly wrong and should refer to Mill Row in Chartham. (There is a Mill Lane in another, but close parish according to the 1901, hence the potential for confusion maybe?)

(2) Therefore, if I'm right, in July 1912, Michael Purcell of the 9th Lancers lived in Mill Row opposite the Mill. There are just 12 houses in that Row.

(3) We also know from "Titch" that [Joseph] Purcell lived in Mill Row with my wife's Grand Mother at the same time. Again, note that there are just 12 houses in that Row.

(4) Michael Purcell gets discharged 11 Oct 1912 because of the conviction for the bicycle theft. This discharge resolves my concerns about there being enough time to serve in the Army and re-enter civilian life.

(5) According to the newspaper and Ian's detective work, "Michael Purcell was married with one child" in July 1912.

(6) Michael P's "married with one child" matches Ian's "Three births ... The first, Bernard Francis Cyril, registered in ... [1st quarter] 1912." And this baptism (in FMP) is at Chartham, St Mary, to Joseph Francis & Ivy Purcell. (This is actually in the Canterbury Archdeaconry Baptisms - this may be one of those areas where there are Parish Registers, Bishops' Transcripts and Archdeacon's Transcripts).

We already know the other points of similarity - 9th Lancers mentioned for both and groom mentioned for both.
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby ianbee » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:55 pm

Adrian, your forensic analysis of this is amazing (as usual).
You must be right, no Mill Lane in Chartham, only Mill Row.
And, as you reminded us, titch said that his Joseph and Ivy lived in Mill Row with his (wife's) grandmother. So that will probably be Mrs Smith at number 12 in 1911.

Personally, I would say that a newspaper reporting Mill Row as Mill Lane is not too much of a problem. I now take it as almost par for the course that some detail or other may be slightly inaccurate in an old newspaper report. Wouldn't happen now of course!

But the one big difference about MP in the newspaper report compared to the army papers (and they must be the same man, as you said before) is that in the army papers there is no indication that he was married. The 1911 marriage does not appear, his next of kin is left as his step sister.
Whereas in the newspaper it is right up top - "Three Months' Hard Labour for Married Soldier" - they seem almost keen to emphasize the fact.

If MP is Joseph, can we take it that he did not inform his superiors that he was intending to marry (and indeed ask for permission to do so?). Is that a possible reason for his use of a different name? Yet on the certificate he apparently said he was in the 9th Lancers, he doesn't otherwise seem to have gone to great lengths in carrying out any deception. There must have been some men in the 9th Lancers who knew that he was married? If it was news to Diggle, could it have contributed to his refusal to speak up in court for Michael Purcell?
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 10:33 pm

An aside: I guess it is possible that Joseph and Michael were twin brothers?? ;) Nah... (ah - memories of Rene Artois in 'Allo, 'Allo pretending to be his own twin brother after being [not] executed!)

You bring up an interesting point, Ian, namely that of permission to marry for a soldier. (Haven't we had this topic recently?) It might very well be that, without permission to marry, he altered his name from Michael to Joseph as a minor step to obscure the marriage. Not just "without permission" but maybe he felt there was no likelihood of permission being granted - certainly at one time, there was a strict limit on the number of allowed marriages per battalion / regiment, not least because of accommodation.

Which brings me to another thought... What the heck is a soldier, in uniform, doing living outside barracks / married accommodation? Despite what some might think, I'm no expert on such matters, so maybe it depended, but aren't there things like curfews, etc.? So was this another reason to obscure his name? I'm sure it must have been fairly simple for him to get down to Mill Row during the day, but overnight stays might have been tricky.

Hm. If indeed the two guys are the same, then we might have a motive for the alias - not getting permission from the Army for marriage and / or living outside barracks. Either way round, the alias just obscures who he is in case a report gets back... Which would then neatly explain why Michael's Service Papers don't mention his marriage. The Army never knew...

Major warning - most of this post is speculative. (Apart from Rene in 'Allo, 'Allo.. :) )
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby MoVidger » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:56 am

The only likely Michael Purcell I can see in the 1901 census is at the following address:

Donaghmore Lower (Johnstown, Kilkenny)
Household of John and Janie Purcell, ages 36 and 28.

In the census, Michael's birthplace is listed as Tipperary (rather than Johnstown, as per his service record). However, his age is a close match. Also, he's not with his own family, but rather his uncle John Purcell (and grandmother Cathrine). Occupation is "farm servant".
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:45 am

Yes I did have a quick look on irishgenealogy.ie but nothing looked obvious. I think that there were several Michael Purcell births in the Kilkenny District (?) but none of them with the right father to match the marriage certificate.

I think that there are a whole series of warnings if anyone wants to look past MP. Firstly I'm not sure which is the birth name and which the alias. I say that because a two name alias sounds a lot like hard work. Secondly, I'm very dubious about his father being of independent means as per the marriage certificate (I think that was the phrase?). If misleading statements are being made about his own name, why should we trust that of his father's?

If I could read the name of the stepsister, that might be another line of attack...

Sent from my moto g(6) play using Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine Forum mobile app
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby Artognou » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:50 am

I'm currently looking at the military record and trying to decipher the name of his step-sister, proving to be somewhat of a task, but she's definitely called Mary W----n!
I think the two middle letters are either L and/or T, the first vowel could be an E or I and the last vowel could be an O, or U.

The handwriting definitely isn't helping!
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby Artognou » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:58 pm

The only name that I can think it could be is Walton.
The handwriting is very strange, but I have noticed some regularities in it.
So, perhaps, she could have been Mary Walton?
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby Artognou » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:02 pm

It's a very difficult one, but Walton seems to be the only name jumping out at me, I did also consider Wilson and Whelan (spelt wrong).
The writer appears to put a dot slightly over when he's written a T.
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby MoVidger » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:31 pm

There's a Mary Dalton in the 1901 census, residing in Johnstown. Age 35, servant. Living with her mother Ellen Dalton, son (?), and two lodgers.
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