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Remembered Today:

Pte Robert Russell KOSB a conundrum


roughdiamond
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Hi folks

I was in the local research Library today looking for info for something and the Librarian told me about someone on Airdrie Cenotaph who he says served under an alias, run of the mill you may think but the story got more interesting than that.

John Murray joined the RFA pre-War, deserted and later joined the KOSB again pre-War under the alias Robert Murray.

He was KIA 13/10/1914 with the 2nd Bn http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/189193/RUSSELL,%20R as you can see his CWGC entry gives his number as 6443 however his MIC on the NA's states 6643 http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/s/res?_fn=&_ln=russell&_no=6643&_crp=&_ttl=&_ser=WO+372&_dt=M&_col=online&image1.x=83&image1.y=14&image1=GO there is nothing on CWGC to say this was an alias

According to the librarian, on his Service record there is a note from John's father confirming his real name, however I don't have Ancestry and can't check.

Finally he said that his Father put his correct name forward for the Cenotaph and that's what he's listed as, there is one John Murray KOSB and one Robert B Russell, but the latter is not him as he's Seaforths http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1768300/RUSSELL,%20ROBERT%20BRYCE so it looks like he's correct.

So some questions please if you'll indulge me:

1) Is it 6443 or 6643 on his service record?

2) Does his service record contain the note from his Father?

3) If yes would this be enough evidence to take to the CWGC to have his Headstone and CWGC entry amended?

Thanks folks

Sam

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The number on his service papers is 6643 but i'm viewing it on FindmyPast and you can only see what they show you so couldn't see the letter.

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Sam,

The service record on Ancestry does include a copy of the letter from John's father, indicating his correct name was John Murray. It mentions the number 6643, which appears to be his correct number..

Regards,

Alf McM

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He appears as Robert Russell in Soldiers Died in the Great War.

His number is 6643.

Some of his record is in ancestry.

There is indeed a note explaining his desertion and use of an alias. The signature is not easy to read but does not look like "Murray". It seems to quoting information from something/someone else, since it begins "I understand that..."

There would have to have been some explanation, since the W5080 form (listing relatives of a deceased soldier) lists them as Murray.

The real name appears in addition to the alias on the 118A (Soldier's Effects) form dated 25 January 1916.

The recruiters may have been suspicious in 1913 since there is a reference form from an ex-employer who said that he had known Robert Russell for ten years.

There are several pages of the Russell file, but no sign of any RFA documents. There may not have been any or ancestry may not have realised that he was the same man and indexed them separately. I'll dig around a bit.

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Thanks folks

So CWGC has the wrong number for him, strange his father sent a letter with his correct name to the MOD and ensured his correct name was on the Cenotaph but seems not to have had any contact with the CWGC as there's no NOK info on his entry.

I meant to post yesterday that the Scottish National War Memorial correctly (now it's been confiirmed) list him as 6643, rolt 968 also notes his correct number is on SDGW, so it could simply be a typo on the CWGC site.

Looks to be a wrong that needs righted, so I'll have to get a hold of his Service Record and MIC, I can also use some credits and get the service return noting his Death from Scotlands People as well as 1911 Census which should hopefully match the address on his Attestation form.

Thanks again

Sam

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