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Henry Smith Flett CEF


gealachmor
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I have a huge favour to ask. And it's not even directly related to WW1...

I'd be grateful if anyone who was going and had some spare time to check the WO16 for Henry Smith Flett in the Seaforth Highlanders.

Henry was born in Orkney in August 1871 and is mentioned in the London Gazette of July 1896 as being employed by the Post Office in Edinburgh.

In 1912, Henry sailed to Canada and in May 1915, he signed up with the 43rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force - at the grand old age of 44. He made Cpl, and is recorded landing back in Canada in 1919 with the rest of the CEF.

My only reason for asking for the WO16 search is that on his Attestation Papers in Winnipeg, he said he had served 12 years with the Seaforth Highlanders.

It doesn't take a maths genius to work out that there's only 25 years between his birth and his appearance in the London Gazette (his employement with the PO ties in with his occupation as a postman in Edinburgh in both 1901 and 1911 census) - which would make his claim of 12 years service with the Seaforths a little tricky to fit in.

I'm wondering if he fibbed to impress the Canadians to let him join up ?

Or does anyone have any other ideas? When did the Army do away with drummer boys?

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I have found a FLETT, father John of Kirkwall (or Kirkwell) Orkney, who served with the Seaforth Highlanders for 12 years but his name was William and he was a butcher, aged 23 years 7 months when he attested on 8th December 1892.

Discharged 7th December 1904.

This is on Findmypast (and from The National Archives reference: WO97, apparently).

Brother? Cousin?

CGM

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It doesn't take a maths genius to work out that there's only 25 years between his birth and his appearance in the London Gazette (his employement with the PO ties in with his occupation as a postman in Edinburgh in both 1901 and 1911 census) - which would make his claim of 12 years service with the Seaforths a little tricky to fit in.

Service as a Boy i.e. under 18 didn't count as far as the Army was concerned but even if he enlisted at 18 and served the normal split between full time and reserve, he could have still been in the army. I think it was 7 years with the colours then 5 years in the Reserve at that time so it is possible. HE would have been working at the PO and still done his Reserve commitment.

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I had a further look back at the Flett family tree and as far as I can see, William Flett isn't related to Henry Flett. There are a few Williams as cousins/uncles etc but no-one close to the right dates.

Interesting SPOF, thanks.

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  • 4 years later...
On 9/15/2013 at 10:39, gealachmor said:

I have a huge favour to ask. And it's not even directly related to WW1...

I'd be grateful if anyone who was going and had some spare time to check the WO16 for Henry Smith Flett in the Seaforth Highlanders.

Henry was born in Orkney in August 1871 and is mentioned in the London Gazette of July 1896 as being employed by the Post Office in Edinburgh.

In 1912, Henry sailed to Canada and in May 1915, he signed up with the 43rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force - at the grand old age of 44. He made Cpl, and is recorded landing back in Canada in 1919 with the rest of the CEF.

My only reason for asking for the WO16 search is that on his Attestation Papers in Winnipeg, he said he had served 12 years with the Seaforth Highlanders.

It doesn't take a maths genius to work out that there's only 25 years between his birth and his appearance in the London Gazette (his employement with the PO ties in with his occupation as a postman in Edinburgh in both 1901 and 1911 census) - which would make his claim of 12 years service with the Seaforths a little tricky to fit in.

I'm wondering if he fibbed to impress the Canadians to let him join up ?

Or does anyone have any other ideas? When did the Army do away with drummer boys?

 

 

Henry Smith Flett was also Pipe-Major of the Edinburgh & Leith Postal Pipe Band from about 1900 until at least 1906 and possibly later (there is a newspaper article from 1906 mentioning him as such).

 

In addition, he was almost certainly Pipe-Major of the Royal Company of Archers c1900 as the members of the Postal Pipe Band also formed the pipe band of the Royal Company of Archers and when doing so wore a different (RCA) uniform.  Aad Boode certainly has him recorded as Pipe-Major of the RCA c1900.

 

I also found him mentioned as piper to (freemasonry) Lodge Tarbert.

 

If you look closely at his Canadian CEF papers you'll also find at least one mention in them of him having been a Piper.

 

So he may have previously enlisted as a Boy Piper in the Seaforth Highlanders and if so, he may have considered his service as being 12 years.

 

He apparently died in 1950, but I have no confirmation of this, nor any information concerning his place of death.  If anyone knows, grateful if you could advise.

 

I don't know if it's him or not, but there was a PTE 2847 Harry Flett of the 2nd Bn. Seaforth Highlanders wounded at Magersfontein in 1899.

 

An article in the Ross-Shire Journal of 25th May 1894 also mentions a Piper Flett of the Seaforth Highlanders. 

 

Ron

 

  

Edited by Ron Abbott
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