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Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

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Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby titch » Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:31 pm

I have been tracing my wife's Grandfather. The only fact I can is his marriage to Ivy Smith in October 1911 in Canterbury kent. I have been unable to trace any of the witnesses excluding her Grandmother's siblings.
He is not on the 1911 census and he was not in the 9th Lancers as declared on the marriage certificate. In about 1914/15 he vanished. Family rumour is that he went back to Cork in Ireland, but I have checked births and deaths in Ireland and none match his name. I believe this man was an impostor, but with no facts except the marriage licence and after 15 years of looking I have hit a brick wall. Does any one have any suggestions please.
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby MoVidger » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:58 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum. If you have a copy of the 1911 marriage certificate, what is Joseph's age and rank in the 9th Lancers; and his father's name and occupation? Also, what are the addresses for bride and groom?
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby MoVidger » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:45 pm

I've perused the Canterbury Barracks/9th Lancers pages in the 1911 census, but there are just a handful of soldiers from Ireland. None of them matched any variation of Joseph's name. Unless he enlisted after the census was taken, but that's a long shot.
Last edited by MoVidger on Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:02 pm

Well, 1911 and Canterbury, may well be plausible for the 9th Lancers. That's where they were in 1910, followed by Tidworth in 1912, according to https://web.archive.org/web/20070101122 ... av/d09.htm

That's not meant to be proof that that's where the regiment was at the time that you need - presumably the answer to exactly where / when is somewhere at Kew.

Let me be perhaps unhelpful and check up on a few things first... Firstly, following on from the above - how do you know that he wasn't in the 9th Lancers? Given that between 2/3 and 3/4 of soldiers' service papers from the WW1 Army were lost in the Arnside St warehouse fire in WW2, it's a sad fact that there is no complete list of Army soldiers from that era. You might not be able to find any papers for him, but that's not the same thing. Then again, some regiments do have full name lists, so you might be able to prove his non appearance.

If the 9th were indeed at Canterbury at the 1911 census, then he ought to be there. Then again, he could have been on leave, in hospital, or even in another regiment - probably another Lancers regiment? Strictly speaking, you need to check the English and Welsh census, with the Irish and the Scottish as well.

He wouldn't be the first chap to join the Army under a false name - if the Army found out about it, my impression is that they'd mark it up on his papers, but nothing else would happen. So far as I know, this is not, by the way, being an imposter - that's about pretending to be someone else who genuinely exists. Here we have a distinct chance of someone who's given a false name of a non existent person.

Sadly, if he really was in the Army at that point, the answer might be on those papers burned in WW2. You need to check the WW1 papers on Ancestry and FindMyPast, and the pre WW1 papers on FMP, just in case he finished his service before WW1. How about newspapers? If he deserted, then there might be a report about him.

Otherwise, apart from double and triple checking, I'm not sure what else to suggest.

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

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:06 pm

Sorry, yes, Maureen is right - he might have joined the Army, never mind the 9th, between the census and the marriage - that's another combination.

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

Postby ianbee » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:06 am

Three births in Kent following that October marriage, all in Bridge district
https://www.ukbmd.org.uk/reg/districts/bridge.html

The first, Bernard Francis Cyril, registered in the next quarter, March 1912.
Then Kenneth Joseph (Sep 1913), and finally Elsie Kathleen Iris (Sep 1914)

Baptism of Bernard at Chartham is online.
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby ianbee » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:49 am

5th May 1912, Chartham
Bernard Francis Cyril
parents Joseph Francis + Ivy Purcell
abode Chartham
father a Groom?
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:34 am

Groom? Hmm. I wonder if he was a civilian groom employed by the Army, specifically working on the Lancers' horses at the time of his marriage? Depends on exactly what the certificate says, I guess - just "9th Lancers" for his occupation could be a civilian bigging himself up. "Trooper 12345 9th Lancers" can't be anything other than a soldier, surely?

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

Postby titch » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:04 pm

Thank you AdrianB38 & MoVidger for your replies. I apologise for using the word "Imposter", as I meant alias.
On the marriage certificate dated 5th October 1911 It states:
Joseph Francis Purcell, 26 Years old, batchelor , Private 9th Lancers, The Barracks Canterbury, Father is James Purcell (Deceased) - of independent means.
Ivy Smith 22 yrs, Spinster,no profession given, Chartham, Alfred Smith (Deceased, Papermaker.
Witnesses - JW Tranmers, PF Dixon Married brides sister Elsie), E Smith (brides sister Elsie), D Smith Brides sister Daisy).
I have two photos of Joseph Francis, one in a uniform similar to the 9th Lancers. I sent it to the Lancers museum,and also to a genealogy magazine. Both said that the uniform had no insignia and believed the jacket was a "prop" used on stage or for photos. The other studio photo was of Joseph in a civilian grooms attire with a fellow groom. A genealogy magazine said it was standard grooms attire but year and place unknown. The Lancers museum history expert said that grooms with the regiment were never civilians but always military personnel. Also the Regiment arrived from South Africa in December 1910, and Joseph was not on the Campaign medals list, so he was not in SA. The Regiment moved to Tidworth in 1912 but Josephs first son was born in January 1912 which means he was conceived in about April 1911 so he should have been in Canterbury for the census. If he was in the army but not available I am told the Army would have filled in the census for any absentees.
In July 1913 Kenneth Joseph was born, reported by Joseph who was listed as a general labourer.
In 1915 Ivy Smith was granted outdoor relief for her family
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Re: Joseph Purcell m Oct 1911 Canterbury Kent - imposter?

Postby MoVidger » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:02 pm

I wonder if marriage witness PF Dixon is this chap in the 1911 census:

Percy Dixon, age 23, nurseryman
Living with parents David and Mary Dixon at 63 Castle Street, Canterbury

He appears to be the Percy Frederick Dixon, born 1888 in Canterbury.

As for the other witness, JW Tranmers, could he be this fellow:

Name: J W Tranmere
Military Year: 1914
Rank: Private
Medal Awarded: 1914 Star
Regiment or Corps: Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line
Regimental Number: 2063
Sub Unit: 9th Lancers (Queen's Royal)

Name: J W Tranmere
Birth Date: 19 Aug 1882
Service Number: 311234
Rank: Army Other Ranks, Discharges for 1921-1939
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