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Remembered Today:

Private Ernest Watson 3rd Batt East Kent Reg (Militia)


rcroucher

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Hi there,

I hope i'm posting this in the correct place. I've been reading through www.longlongtrail.co.uk in the hope that i can find away through my current problem.

I am researching my great grandfather (below is information i have confirmed

Name: Ernest Watson

D.O.B: aprox 31st Jan 1889

Place of birth: Essex

Millitary history:

I have copies of draft papers for the Militia dated 1907. He was enlisted in Chatham to the East Kent Regiment 'The Buffs' 3rd Battalion. The records terminate at 1908 when i think he was discharged. However in 1911 on the census he is listed as a Private in the army. I also know that he was injured, loosing a leg, and was pentioned off sometime before 1929. Family rumour has it that he may have lost his leg when it was hit by a recoiling shell (i don't know if thats possible?)

The problem is i can't seem to find anything about him other than the Militia papers. I have a number for him but would that have remained the same from the milita to the regular army? Is it likely that he stayed in the same regiment after the militia?

I've tried looking for him in casualty records but so far i have found no mention of him and nothing within the pension records. Can anyone suggest where i would perhaps need to try next?

Many thanks

Robin

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Err, this might come as a "hammer" blow and cause you to start blowing bubbles, but......

are you sure your Ernest born end December 1889 is the SAME chap in the Buffs in 1911?

What seems to fit with the info better is:-

Name: Ernest Watson. Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1890

Registration district: West Ham, Essex. Volume: 4a. Page: 128

Name: Ernest Watson. Age: 1. Estimated Birth Year: abt 1890

Father's Name: George P Watson. Mother's Name: Nancy Watson.

Where born: West Ham, Essex, England

Civil parish: West Ham. Ecclesiastical parish: St Mark. Town: West Ham

Name: Ernest Watson. Age: 11. Estimated Birth Year: abt 1890.

Father's Name: George Watson. Mother's Name: Nancy Watson

Where born: West Ham, Essex, England

Civil parish: St Pancras. Ecclesiastical parish: Kentish Town

Name: Ernest Watson, Age in 1911: 21. Estimated Birth Year: abt 1890

Birth Place: West Ham, Essex. Civil parish: East Ham, Essex

Street Address: 3 Victoria Avenue, Plashet Lane, East Ham, Essex

Marital Status: Single. Occupation: Warehouseman Assistant

George Parker Watson 54; Nancy Watson 54; Alice Watson 31; Nellie Watson 27; Frederick Watson 25;

George Parker Watson 23; Ernest Watson 21; Florence Watson 19; Doris Watson 13; Arthur Watson 9

who is NOT in the military in 1911.

Does any of the info above tie in with what other family research you have done? Parents, siblings etc?

Otherwise Pals might be wasting considerable time trying to match different men into one!

Sorry, but can you explain better why the Chatham man is the one you feel is your Ernest?

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I know that the census of 1911 (in which his occupation is listed as private in army) is the correct man and on that census his parents names are listed as Arthur & Lousia and include a brother also Arthur. The 1907/8 militia document also list fathers name as Arthur mother as Lucy and brother as Arthur. The only discrepancy is the place of birth, which still remains a mystery. The Militia document lists it as Southminster and the Census as strood. The father, Arthur, was born in southminster and his mother Lucy/Louisa nearby. from what i can establish they relocated to the Hoo area, which would explain their proximity to Chatham.

There is, of course, always a chance that something is incorrect but i confident that the information i have so far is correct.

Thanks for taking the time to help.

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Robin

The place of birth on a Census record should always be treated with caution as it is "self provided". Where was he in 1901 that would cause him to enlist at Chatham? Which part of the Army was in he in 1911?

The Militia records terminate in 1908 as that was when the Militia were converted into the Territorial Force (TF) or today's TA. If he was transferred into the TF he probably either signed up in 1914 or was eventually called up and his service record would then be included in the ones possibly lost in 1940.

"Family rumour has it that he may have lost his leg when it was hit by a recoiling shell (i don't know if thats possible?)" He may have ended up in the RA. I remember seeing a Silver War Badge record for the RA years ago that said the man was discharged because he lost his leg for basically being in the wrong place when the gun was fired.Family stories can change over time and the loss of a limb could also be from other causes than a recoiling shell.

Why the importance of 1929?

On a national level, casualty lists were no longer published but local papers still did and it may be worth exploring that route.

Glen

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Robin, thanks for the polite correction!

OK, you are confident that the 1911 Census is the right chap.

I must still have crossed wires as this chap is born Southminster, Essex but no mention of parents names.

He is, however, in the Royal Artillery, which fits with being injured/wounded by a ricochet from a shell....

Name: Ernest Watson. Age in 1911: 21. Estimated Birth Year: abt 1890. Birth Place: Southminster, Essex.

Civil parish: Dover Castle Dover, Kent. Street Address: 40th Company Royal Garrison Artillery, The Castle, Dover

Marital Status: Single. Military unit: 40 Coy R G Artillery.

Is that the Census you refer to?

Anyway, these are namesakes in the RGA, one of whom should be your Ernest

Ernest Watson Royal Garrison Artillery 427 in France 4/3/15

Ernest Watson Royal Garrison Artillery 29784 in France 5/9/15 AND SWB RGA/1339

Ernest Watson Royal Garrison Artillery 104344 not in France until after 1915 BUT SWB RGA/999

Ernest Watson Royal Garrison Artillery 104543 only entitled to British War medal, so not in a Theatre of War...(India?)

Ernest Watson Royal Garrison Artillery 108689 not in France until after 1915, (BW & V medals) no reference to SWB

Ernest Watson Royal Garrison Artillery 113144 not in France until after 1915

Ernest Watson Royal Garrison Artillery 313214 not in France until after 1915 BUT SWB RGA/2012

just which one will need some work by more expert Pals, but it's a start...

I have found 2 for the Buffs, neither of which seem to be your Ernest, as you will see

Ernest Watson 1547, East Kent Regiment, 29754, Border Regiment, 43394 Manchester Regiment . Discharged to Class Z Reserves (so still regarded as fit by the Army in 1919)

Ernest Watson L/9338 2nd East Kent Regiment. Killed in Action 8/2/15

I'd therefore suggest he's one of the 3 RGA SWB men. None went out in the first drafts in 1914, which I'd have expected if he'd been trained as a Gunner.

On my findings (and I do seem to be off kilter with your info!) I can't see it being a Buffs man - so far!

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I can see 4 Ernest Watson's on the SWB lists for the R.Artillery of which only 1 is the right age.

29784 Ernest Watson of 227 Siege Battery

Enlisted 5 Oct 1908 and discharged 6 Feb 1919 aged 30 years (so born about 1889)

http://search.ancestry.co.uk/iexec?htx=View&r=5538&dbid=1262&iid=30850_A001634-02633&fn=Ernest&ln=Watson&st=r&ssrc=&pid=5052634

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Wow! what a response in just one day! Thank you!!

Thank you for all this info! I'll address the points separately in the hope that i can avoid confusion.

  • In 1901 he was living with his parents in Hoo, NE Kent so geographically I think he would have been in the right area to enlist at Chatham.
  • The militia documents of 1907/8 have his residence as Rainham, which is also in the correct area
  • The 1911 census only lists him as 'Private' with no further details.
  • The addition of how he lost his leg is a recent development but i am pretty certain that he lost his leg whilst serving.

The relevance of 1929 is that this was the year that i believe his first wife passed away, I have made contact with the decedents of their only child so I'm quite sure i have the information there correct as it has been confirmed by a 3rd party. I have him listed as an Army pensioner in 1929 but this needs to be confirmed.

The Census info you have given is not the same as the info i have which places him at home with his parents in Borstal, Kent. HOWEVER i do have a marriage index for him and his first wife in Dover in 1912. I wonder if it's possible that he has been listed twice that year?? I was begining to susspect that he may have been garrisoned there.

He was, according to the militia papers discharged on 27th Jun 1908 so maybe that would tie in?

Can you clarify for me, SWB?

Thanks again for all your help! To the UN-initiated this military lingo can prove confusing!

Robin

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I have just had a look at the 1911 census for Ernest Watson in Dover. It states that anyone present on the night of the 2nd April or returning the morning of Monday 3rd April should be included. I guess it is possible that he was on leave and returned the Monday morning?

Ah SWB - Silver War Badge

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On 16/11/2012 at 07:35, KevinBattle said:

Ernest Watson Royal Garrison Artillery 104543 only entitled to British War medal, so not in a Theatre of War...(India?)

Kevin

Justto confuse things, it seems some RGA men on coastal defence in the UK were awarded BWMs only

 

 

Glen

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Having looked at it i think it is quite probable that The Ernest in Dover is the same as the one i have. The census was taken on the Sunday so is it not likely that he was on weekend leave, returned to Dover that evening/Monday morning only to be recorded again?

I had been trying to figure out WHY he had married in Dover so that would certainly clarify it. Also my mother had mentioned medals etc so i'm pretty sure he had been awarded something for his service.

There seem to be to many similarities for it to be just coincidence.

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He may have ended up in the RA. I remember seeing a Silver War Badge record for the RA years ago that said the man was discharged because he lost his leg for basically being in the wrong place when the gun was fired.Family stories can change over time and the loss of a limb could also be from other causes than a recoiling shell.

Glen

Glen,

Can i ask where you saw this exactly?

Robin

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Robin

It was recorded in the Silver War Badge rolls for the RA I was looking at in Kew. I remember it mostly because it is unusual for the rolls to have that kind of detail.

Glen

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Thanks Glen, I have looked at the Silver War Badge Roll for the 227 Battery and i've found the man in question but there is no further detail. Any idea if perhaps i'm missing something?

Robin

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Robin

I've just had a look at his SWB record and that is pretty standard. There is a clue in the sub-paragraphs of the King's Regulations he was discharged under - xvi a1. If you scroll down to the second last image on this page, http://www.forrestdale.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/KingsRegs1912/para-16.html, you'll see an explanation for it. It would appear he was discharged while still a patient in hospital.

Interestingly, 227 Siege Battery didn't go to France 7th January 1917 so he must have gone earlier with a different unit.

Glen

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Glen,

Thanks again, i had just been researching that. I had also noticed that 227 Battery hadn't gone until 1917 so it would seem i now have a new puzzle to work on. According to the 1911 census he was enlisted to 40Th Company, Royal Garrison Artillery. Perhaps i'm missing something because i can't quite get my head around the structure of the regiments etc.

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