View Full Version : Where do I start?
13-11-2008, 4:29 PM
My 2xgreat grandfather, John Lee, claims to have been 'called to arms' during the Boer War. In an interview he gave on his 90th birthday, he recalled being 'captured' by an Irish regiment which 'took him for a Boer spy and threatened to shoot him as he was without uniform after taking part in an arduous campaign and losing his unit during a secret cross-country march'. The article states he spent a month in a prisoner-of-war cage while his identity was being established beyond doubt.
How can I find out about his Boer-war service? I know nothing more than what is quoted above. All suggestions gratefully received.
13-11-2008, 5:17 PM
Amry records are mostly held at The National Archives at Kew (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/default.htm)
They have loads of research guides look at those prefixed - British Army (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/researchguidesindex.asp?j=1#b)
Frequently discussed on these forums, you might also have a browse of this thread - How to find army records for the Boer War (http://www.british-genealogy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1812)
and this thread - How to find some British Army records (http://www.british-genealogy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35481)
Kevin Asplin has a web-site (http://www.britishmedals.us/kevin/intro.html)with a lot of useful information connected with the army and a lot of it concerned with the South African War.
13-11-2008, 5:32 PM
Thanks Geoffers - I'll check those suggestions out. I've just realised that the BW has two sets of dates - I'd always thought it was just 1899-1902. This might explain a lot...
14-11-2008, 7:59 AM
I've just realised that the BW has two sets of dates - I'd always thought it was just 1899-1902. This might explain a lot..
They relate to the two Boer Wars - perhaps try your local library for a good general history?
14-11-2008, 1:49 PM
I think I will...I feel like the penny has just dropped. The article I mentioned outlined John Lee's life which didn't quite add up when I started researching it myself. He was in the 1901 census as an omnibus driver and so I wondered if he might have been embellishing his life...but he also said he spent 6 years in the Army Horse Transport before joining the bus company in 1887. Now I can see that he might have been in SA for the first conflict.
Sorry to be so vague but do you know what The Army Horse Transport might be in terms of regiments? I've identified a number of J Lees of different regiment from Kevin Asplin's site and knowing that might help pinpoint him at last...
14-11-2008, 2:09 PM
he also said he spent 6 years in the Army Horse Transport before joining the bus company in 1887.[/qiote]
To save me typing, try entering 'Commissariat and Transport Department' into a search engine, you should find a lot of references to it and the Army Service Corps.
[quote]I've identified a number of J Lees of different regiment from Kevin Asplin's site and knowing that might help pinpoint him at last...
I think your best bet is to try and identify, and obtain, his birth certificate. With confirmed date and place of birth you should be able to identify him from the other J LEEs in the service records at The National Archives (TNA) - have a browse of the research guides which I linked above.
14-11-2008, 2:39 PM
Oh, Geoffers...you've hit my problem. I've been trying to find John Lee's birth certificate for 15 years and despite knowing so much about his life I have yet to confirm his d.o.b. I'm hoping (so far in vain) that another source will be able to narrow down my options - there are far too many John Lees in the St Pancras area to be certain at the moment...it seems he didn't marry his 'wife' so I don't have the benefit of a marriage certificate to help...ho hum.
But anyway, thanks for that other bit of useful information. I'll take your advice...
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