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I wondered if anyone with access could check something for me. I was wondering if the John Mathers Reg No 3914, born 1874 Holbeck, Doc Year 1892 could be the same as John Mathers ,reg no 710685, born 1877 Leeds, doc year 1919 who I know is the same as John Mathers reg no 8404, born 1876 Leeds, doc year 1914.
John Mathers 1874 Holbeck was actually born 1877 - verified by next of kin on records and Holbeck is a parish of Leeds. On 2 census's he appeared as being born both at Holbeck & Leeds.
The 2 other records belong to the same person as they have the same spouse and children but I wondered if this could be my John who had signed up for WW1. It also states on these other 2 records that the person had previously served in the Yorks Reg which is where my John served.
I would be really grateful on someone else's thoughts and opinion
28-02-2008, 1:41 PM
I find these records quite hard to follow, not made easier by the fact if you page through the images you pass from one set of records to the next with no "New Soldiers Record" warning, that in often included elsewhere.
Without spending a mass of time on it, yes, as you say 8404 (enlisted 1914) and 710685 (enlisted 1919), are one and the same person. He appears to have been discharged from one unit, to allow him to sign up at another. As you say spouse and children are listed in both these records.
3914, on the other hand is for a John Mather enlisted in 1892, and discharged in 1908, having served 16 years.
He has next of kin listed as mother Mary Ellen Mather of 3 Moore Square Holbeck Leeds. Also listed is brother Thomas Mather of 6 Shooleys Square, Holbeck Leeds.
This should identify this John Mathers pretty accurately, and it should be possible to find him, mother, brother etc in 1891 and/or 1901 censuses.
There's a fairly precise age for him, and he would appear to have been born late 1873 or early 1874.
If pushed for an opinion, I don't think they are the same person, because...
1) The one who server earlier is listed as 5' 4 1/8" tall with grey eyes, the one who served in WW1 at 5' 6 1/4" with blue eyes.
2) The signatures on the attestation pages don't seem to match.
3) The years of birth are not really consistent.
5) When someone married when serving, I have usually found the records updated with the details, (and children). There is no mention of a marriage or children for the one who served earlier.
However, the one serving in the war is someone who, as you say, has served before in the same regiment, and is quickly prompted to seargeant, (the rank of the earlier one on discharge).
So perhaps I'm wrong, and they are all the same person, despite apparent discrepancies :o
With wife and children in one set of records, and mother and brother in the other, isn't it enough to work it out, I wonder ?
Thanks for your reply Alan . John in the first set wasn't married when he joined up - he was only 16 even tho' he stated 18 on his papers so his next of kin would be his mother and brother as his father had died by then. I just thought it strange that I couldn't find him enlisting for WW1 as he would have been young enough and had done very well in the Boer War being awarded a DCM. The other sets of records were a shot in the dark that it may have been the same person re-enlisting for WW1 - they were the nearest matching for his age and place of birth.
28-02-2008, 2:11 PM
Estimates vary, but I think it's fair to say that records exist in that "WW1 Army Pensions Records" collection for only (very approximately) 10% of those who served in WW1.
So failure to find someone there doesn't mean they didn't take part - in fact it's defying the odds to actually find anyone.
A larger collection the "WW1 Army Service records" exists, known as the "burnt documents" because they were extensively damaged in the second world war. These are supposed to have something surviving for around 30% of NCOs and other ranks, who were either discharged at the end of the war, or died in service, (it doesn't apparently include those who continued to serve after WW1).
This collection can be viewed on microfilm at Kew, and is supposed to being rolled out online by a certain large commercial site. Unfortunately they did surnames commencing 'A' to 'C' as an initial batch, and, to date, no more have gone online since. 'Mather' may be some time coming, but these records boost your chance of finding someone from around 10% (pensions records only) to around 40%, (both collections combined).
I'm eagerly awaiting 'F' and 'H' myself - trying to avoid a trip to Kew, and I'd rather view online, than on microfilm.
I realise the John Mather who enlisted in 1892 wasn't married then. What I was trying to say is that in other cases I've seen, when a man married whilst serving then his details got amended to reflect it. Of course it's possible that didn't always occur, so the lack of a marriage being mentioned doesn't necessarily mean he didn't marry whilst serving.
Good Luck is in order for us both then
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