Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Retlaw

Soldiers serving unnder an alias

Recommended Posts

Retlaw

I have a problem with C.W.Graves, Eward Nickson served as Sgt 15334, in the 11th East Lancs, he was killed on July 1st 1916, having no known grve he is on the Theipval memorial as Nickson, his medal card and the East Lancs records show hin as Nickson.

C.W.Graves records him as Nickson Edward. see Ronan.

S.D.G.War Edward Nickson, served under an alias born in Macclesfield, enlisted in Accrington, A search of the census returns shows an Edward Ronan, but that man would have been 45 years of age if he died on the Somme, not many men in that   age range  could keep up with young men half their age during training.

What gets me if all  his papers show he was Edward Nickson, and his body was never found, NO family information on C.W.Graves how can they say with certanty he served under an alias.

Over my many years of research (38 in a few days time) I have found many errors in the C.W.G records, and S.D.G.W is even worse, so who do believe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252

The effects records also note him as Ronan so the information comes from before the CWGC or SDGW records were compiled.

 

The war gratuity was paid to family so a W5080 and/or a will would have existed to show the family/beneficiary details.

 

His widow is shown as Mary E, daughter Harriet E Gidman.

 

Looking from my phone:

 

If we look in 1891 Harriet E Ronan (shown as b 1890) is living with what seens to be her mother at an address in Oldham. Also is resident is the son of the householder, a 21 yr old Edward Ronan.

 

I can't see Edward in the 1911 census. Mary may be boarding at an address in Macclesfield. Harriet, b 1887, is living with her husband in Macclesfield.

 

By age Edward wouldn't be too old when compared to other sergeants I have seen in the Terriforials and who served on the frontline in 1915.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Inspector
Posted (edited)

Hi All,

Craig I think you have the wrong family from the census.

1891 Census on Ancestry shows "Davriet" corrected to Harriet Ronan, a widow born 1833, living at 115 Chestergate, Macclesfield, Cheshire with her 3 sons, Matthew H 24, Edward 21 and Fred 18 also daughter in law Mary E b.1869 and g/daughter Harriet E, aged 1. Edward is the only son shown as married. He would have been 36 yrs of age in 1916.

Harriet Ellen Ronan, b. 5.3.1890, married one Hary Gidman 3rd qtr 1909, Macclesield., 8a, 284.

In 1901 Mary E Ronan b.1870, sister in law, is living with the Potter family at 15 Green St., Macclesfield. She is shown as a widow, with her 2 sons, William A, 7yrs and Harold 10 months. In 1911 she is boarding in Macclesfield but no doubt living with John Keefe with Harold 11 yrs, and daughter Rose, 6 and Alexander, 2.  Shown as having had 12 children, 5 alive, 7 died.

Just where Edward got to is a mystery...so far.... I wonder if his father Maurice.. soldiers' effects...knew anything about the porky pies?

Regards Barry

Edited by The Inspector

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Retlaw
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, The Inspector said:

Hi All,

Craig I think you have the wrong family from the census.

1891 Census on Ancestry shows "Davriet" corrected to Harriet Ronan, a widow born 1833, living at 115 Chestergate, Macclesfield, Cheshire with her 3 sons, Matthew H 24, Edward 21 and Fred 18 also daughter in law Mary E b.1869 and g/daughter Harriet E, aged 1. Edward is the only son shown as married. He would have been 36 yrs of age in 1916.

Harriet Ellen Ronan, b. 5.3.1890, married one Hary Gidman 3rd qtr 1909, Macclesield., 8a, 284.

In 1901 Mary E Ronan b.1870, sister in law, is living with the Potter family at 15 Green St., Macclesfield. She is shown as a widow, with her 2 sons, William A, 7yrs and Harold 10 months. In 1911 she is boarding in Macclesfield but no doubt living with John Keefe with Harold 11 yrs, and daughter Rose, 6 and Alexander, 2.  Shown as having had 12 children, 5 alive, 7 died.

Just where Edward got to is a mystery...so far.... I wonder if his father Maurice.. soldiers' effects...knew anything about the porky pies?

Regards Barry

I also found that entry in the 1891 Census, which shows him living in Macclesfield & as I said made him 45 when he died, and 43 when he enlisted, many men of that age enlisted in Accrington in late 1914, very very  few lasted the course to get to the front line, and be part of  a battalion''s fighting strength, those that did had either just finished as time served, or nearing the end of service, I've not found anything to show Nickson had any previous service. Also if he was 21 in the 1891 cesnus, surely that made him 45 when he died

Edited by Retlaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
21 minutes ago, Retlaw said:
6 hours ago, The Inspector said:

 

I also found that entry in the 1891 Census, which shows him living in Macclesfield & as I said made him 45 when he died, and 43 when he enlisted, many men of that age enlisted in Accrington in late 1914, very very  few lasted the course to get to the front line, and be part of  a battalion''s fighting strength, those that did had either just finished as time served, or nearing the end of service, I've not found anything to show Nickson had any previous service. Also if he was 21 in the 1891 cesnus, surely that made him 45 when he died

The war gratuity shows 22 months qualifying service - so enlistment in September 1914.
 

As a comparison #15330 attested 17 Sep 1914.

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Retlaw
10 minutes ago, ss002d6252 said:

The war gratuity shows 22 months qualifying service - so enlistment in September 1914.
 

As a comparison #15330 attested 17 Sep 1914.

Craig

Yes Graig enlisting for the Pals started in mid Sept 1914 and by the 26th they had a full compliment, I hace picture of them nmarching past the tonw hall on that date.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Inspector
Posted (edited)

Hi All

Quite right, should have gone to another optician!

Still can't find his father Maurice Ronan.

Regards Barry

Corrected...wrong Edward Ronan...but....now have the right one!!

Edited by The Inspector

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Inspector
Posted (edited)

Hi All

According to the Ronan Tree on Ancestry and the Accrington Observer  and Times of 23rd Feb, 1915, L/Cpl E. Nixon, a member of 'A' Company marched to the station  bound for Caernarvon. See :-http://macclesfieldreflects.org.uk/1916/07/01/ronan-nickson-edward/

Regards Barry

1871 Family recorded as BONAM on census. Edward Ronan b. reg'd. 1st qtr 1870, Macclesfield, 8a,119 Baptised 9.2.1870, St.Michael's church, Macclesfield.

 

Edited by The Inspector

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Inspector
Posted (edited)

Hi again

1911 census recorded as Edward Niscon, married,  corrected to Edward Nixon born Macclesfield. Boarding at 9 South St., Rawtenstall with the Pomfrett family. Age given as 38 yrs. When he married on 13th Oct, 1889  in Macclesfield to Mary Elizabeth Hayes he signed his name as EDWIN. aged 20yrs.

Regards Barry

Edited by The Inspector

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Retlaw
5 hours ago, The Inspector said:

Hi All

According to the Ronan Tree on Ancestry and the Accrington Observer  and Times of 23rd Feb, 1915, L/Cpl E. Nixon, a member of 'A' Company marched to the station  bound for Caernarvon. See :-http://macclesfieldreflects.org.uk/1916/07/01/ronan-nickson-edward/

Regards Barry

1871 Family recorded as BONAM on census. Edward Ronan b. reg'd. 1st qtr 1870, Macclesfield, 8a,119 Baptised 9.2.1870, St.Michael's church, Macclesfield.

 

Many thanks for all that info on Edward Ronan, very interesting read, just one small thing the casualty list of 548 is what is recorded in the War Diary, however its a mile out, Bill Turner just before he died asked me to go thro my files and find or him the true casualty's, I spent the next two days compiling all the info book form just for Bill, as I was getting ready to deliver, his daughter rang to say he had just died, I was gutted, Bill and I had been working on the Pals for over 20 years, and we were like brothers, spent hours and hours in public record offices & libraries, Bill hated computers  I couldn't work without  one.

How ever I fulfilled his wish, when in 2016 my eldest organised a trip to France, and a tarted up version of the casualty list was presented to the mayor of Bapaume. the total those days July 1/2nd 1916, was 638 Killed or wounded.

No war diary could ever really record  what happend to all the men after any big battle, they can  only make rough estimates.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dazscuba

I have been looking at a gent from the town who’s surname was Bohn but joined as Bond.  His service record shows Bond but the rest shows Bohn on all his other records like CWGC etc due to his death and the family being informed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
26 minutes ago, Dazscuba said:

I have been looking at a gent from the town who’s surname was Bohn but joined as Bond.  His service record shows Bond but the rest shows Bohn on all his other records like CWGC etc due to his death and the family being informed.

Sounds like he had tried to come up with a more English sounding name.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
voltaire60
17 minutes ago, ss002d6252 said:

Sounds like he had tried to come up with a more English sounding name.

 

Craig

 

      Having just written up a local casualty who came from a German background, then one thing that puzzles me- which Craig, I think,you will know the answer to.  Many people of 1914 had German names-mainly because they were.German.  Here in the East of London, there were substantial German colonies before 1914- it is oft assumed that anyone with a Germanic name must be Jewish and have come in in the great waves of inward migration from c.1880 up to the passing of the Aliens Act in 1905. Not so-there were widespread German groups all across the East.  We also have the phenomenon of the anti-German riots, particularly of 1915.  Of course many "Germans" changed their names- to something more "anglicized". Mountbatten and Windsor come to mind easily. Many had already anglicized their names before the war.

 

    But what of changes of name during the war??????   Are there any examples of men with German names  serving in HM Forces who changed their names AFTER enlistment??    As  it seems a civil matter, would a soldier,for example, wishing to change his name be prevented from doing so by KRs or ACO/ACI????     I can think of Montgomery-Massingberd who added the second part of his name  post-war after (I believe) a family inheritance-Not that uncommon I think among officers-but ORs in wartime??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
19 minutes ago, voltaire60 said:

 

      Having just written up a local casualty who came from a German background, then one thing that puzzles me- which Craig, I think,you will know the answer to.  Many people of 1914 had German names-mainly because they were.German.  Here in the East of London, there were substantial German colonies before 1914- it is oft assumed that anyone with a Germanic name must be Jewish and have come in in the great waves of inward migration from c.1880 up to the passing of the Aliens Act in 1905. Not so-there were widespread German groups all across the East.  We also have the phenomenon of the anti-German riots, particularly of 1915.  Of course many "Germans" changed their names- to something more "anglicized". Mountbatten and Windsor come to mind easily. Many had already anglicized their names before the war. 

 

    But what of changes of name during the war??????   Are there any examples of men with German names  serving in HM Forces who changed their names AFTER enlistment??    As  it seems a civil matter, would a soldier,for example, wishing to change his name be prevented from doing so by KRs or ACO/ACI????     I can think of Montgomery-Massingberd who added the second part of his name  post-war after (I believe) a family inheritance-Not that uncommon I think among officers-but ORs in wartime?? 

 

Not sure I know the answer to that one- there was certainly the ability of a man under a false name to reveal and use his real name so I would expect that there was a 'Form, Name, For the changing of ' somewhere.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
voltaire60
1 hour ago, ss002d6252 said:

 

Not sure I know the answer to that one- there was certainly the ability of a man under a false name to reveal and use his real name so I would expect that there was a 'Form, Name, For the changing of ' somewhere.

 

Craig

 

     It was just a little poser, for which the Army probably had a form. In civil life, a person could/still can go by whatever name they wish, as long as they use it consistently.  I ask for the larger problem of civil-military relations-   OK, men often goaded into the army by magistrates on an "or else" basis. But  it is a curiosity that petty civilian matters may have continued during the war ,despite the realities of the Western Front. In December 1915 the Local Government Chronicle reported one local authority trying to prosecute a British Army POW in a camp in Germany for not paying his rates. As I have not seen references to it, I presume-de facto rather than de jure-that civil matters outstanding in the UK were avoided for the duration if a man was under arms-preferably outside the UK.  But quite how small fines and civil awards on men who were servving were considered in wartime is something of a curiosity.

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
barkalotloudly

an interesting thread as the CWGC  registers i purchased do have records "also see" with another name mentioned

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rolt968

I have been wondering if the other name comes after contact with the widow or other next of kin. Was the widow required to produce her marriage certificate? In this case it would tell the army that Nickson was Ronan (though in fact it was the opposite way round)?

 

Incidentally the Casualty Lists, 30 August 1916 and 25 September 1916 have him as Nickson.

 

After much searching I found my own strange case of "serving as"

RM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
Quote

Was the widow required to produce her marriage certificate?


Usually the W5080 would show the details of the next of kin that would be needed for sorting the claims for medals etc. It had to be signed by a magistrate or minister but I can't recall it needing a marriage cert (although certs were often requested for purposes if proof was needed).

For the war gratuity etc, if relatives could not be reached, then a claim could be made on W5063 and I suspect a lot of the claims would be were name disparities came up and details had to be validated.

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alan24
On 15/06/2018 at 09:13, voltaire60 said:

    But what of changes of name during the war??????   Are there any examples of men with German names  serving in HM Forces who changed their names AFTER enlistment??    As  it seems a civil matter, would a soldier,for example, wishing to change his name be prevented from doing so by KRs or ACO/ACI????     I can think of Montgomery-Massingberd who added the second part of his name  post-war after (I believe) a family inheritance-Not that uncommon I think among officers-but ORs in wartime??

 

You may be interested in this document...

 

3385 Charles Woolf. (aka Wolf) Rifle Brigade.

 

It's pre-war but the soldier's father came to London from Prussia just before the 1861 census, although he, himself, was born in England.

 

The soldier concerned is a relative of a work colleague that I helped him research.

 

Regards

 

Alan.  

ols street.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
voltaire60
1 hour ago, Alan24 said:

You may be interested in this document...

 

3385 Charles Woolf. (aka Wolf) Rifle Brigade.

 

It's pre-war but the soldier's father came to London from Prussia just before the 1861 census, although he, himself, was born in England.

 

The soldier concerned is a relative of a work colleague that I helped him research.

 

Regards

 

Alan.  

 

      Hi Alan- yes, it is all interesting.  And it evidences that there was a German colony in the inner East End at that date- from St. George in the East  round through Spitalfields and and Shoreditch( which is Old Street).  It matches one of my local casualties- grandfather naturalised as a post-1848 emigre in 1873- and included his 6 year old son, the father of my man. Thus, he was a full British citizen- but maintained a German home life and ran businesses that were German (specialist bakers and butchers)- My man married a fellow German and,as their housemaids were always from Germany (as most of their workers), it is fair to assume that they remained German in their domestic lives- He used his anglicized Chritisan names for work and his German names in his social relations (eg Census returns in English names, marriage certificate-from a German church- in German names). 

    There again -another casualty, surname Eichler, was in the alien battalions of the Middlesex Regiment as his father was a German national, although he was British born-and his brother, a pre-war Territorial,served normally in an artillery unit.

       In the Second World War some men with German names were encouraged to change. eg The reconnaisance units at Arnhem contained  several german Jews who had escaped the Hitler regime but were encouraged to change their names. One is featured in a number of books about Arnhem-Corporal John Rodley, an alias.

    I suspect that the Anglo-German family history society,which is a strong society, would have the answer to name changes of serving soldiers of the Great War

Edited by voltaire60

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rolt968
On ‎15‎/‎06‎/‎2018 at 17:05, ss002d6252 said:


Usually the W5080 would show the details of the next of kin that would be needed for sorting the claims for medals etc. It had to be signed by a magistrate or minister but I can't recall it needing a marriage cert (although certs were often requested for purposes if proof was needed).

For the war gratuity etc, if relatives could not be reached, then a claim could be made on W5063 and I suspect a lot of the claims would be were name disparities came up and details had to be validated.

Craig

 

Didn't a soldier have to give the date and place of marriage and the date and place of birth of his children. I'm sure I have seen them in solder's records. Or was that only for men marrying while serving?  I suppose it might be a bit awkward if a soldier declared a correct date of marriage, but knew that anyone checking would not find the marriage as the name was wrong.

 

I suppose a widow would have to produce her marriage certificate if there was another claimant.

RM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ss002d6252
Quote

Didn't a soldier have to give the date and place of marriage and the date and place of birth of his children.

He was supposed to if he wanted to claim allowance or if he had married etc whilst serving but I suppose the records are only as good as the man declaring it and asking for the allowance to be paid.

Quote

I suppose it might be a bit awkward if a soldier declared a correct date of marriage, but knew that anyone checking would not find the marriage as the name was wrong.

I think they would only check if they thought there was an issue, otherwise they'd usually have the cert anyway and take that on it's merits.

Quote

I suppose a widow would have to produce her marriage certificate if there was another claimant.

I did see a record a while ago where there were issues regarding who was claiming and there were letters asking for certs etc (unfortunately it was an incomplete file).

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alan24
2 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

 

      And it evidences that there was a German colony in the inner East End at that date- from St. George in the East  round through Spitalfields and and Shoreditch( which is Old Street). 

 

That's right, they lived in Boundary Street which was subject of a BBC programme called secret History of Our Streets (episode 6 Arnold Circus). https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01kvkw6

 

The father was a baker and he had 3 sons, Charles, William & Phillip - all 3 served the full 12 years in the Rifle Brigade, the youngest brother, Phillip served through the Great War (enlisted 1898, discharged 1919 termination of second period of engagement).

 

The father died in the Bethnal Green workhouse in 1910 and I do wonder what life would have been like for him had he lived in 1914.

 

Amazingly, all 3 brother's service records still exist - what's the chance of that!, the first two brothers only being on FMP as they didn't serve in 1914.

 

Regards

 

Alan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
voltaire60

 Hi Alan- yes, I know  Arnold Circus and some of that area-  built as a slum clearance scheme by the London County Council and,for its day, model artisan dwellings.  It's just to the north of Brick Lane market-which I nowadays try to avoid but went there a few times when younger. As one of the TV production companies is based nearby, it often turns up in the background for series such as "Spooks"  and  the now repeated "Hustle". 

   My own grandfather lived in that area at some point-and likewise served in a rifle regiment- in his case Tower Hamlets Rifles, an old militia unit. Good to remember Conan Doyle's comment in one of the Holmes stories that the cockney, although despised, provided the best soldiers for the crack regiments of the army.

     There is one source that is off the usual track that might be of interest here. If you have addresses of  these folk from the censuses of 1891 and 1901, then you may be able to get a bit more info- "local colour" from the Charles Booth notebook's, which are free to use and digitised online by  their holders, the London School of Economics ( LSE Archives Booth on Google should get you there). Booth's survey "Labour and Life  of the People of London" was based on extensive door-to door surveys done throughout the area. It's a little awkward to use but it is quite interesting to read descriptions of these streets and individual households-and, of course, the streets will also show up on the Booth poverty maps.

   Pip,pip

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rolt968
1 hour ago, ss002d6252 said:

He was supposed to if he wanted to claim allowance or if he had married etc whilst serving but I suppose the records are only as good as the man declaring it and asking for the allowance to be paid.

I think they would only check if they thought there was an issue, otherwise they'd usually have the cert anyway and take that on it's merits.

I did see a record a while ago where there were issues regarding who was claiming and there were letters asking for certs etc (unfortunately it was an incomplete file).

Craig

I have heard that there were one or two cases of there being two widows, but that may be an urban myth (or in my case too much Drakefield research).

 

Thanks Craig I think you have actually answered a question I asked in another thread.

 

Rm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×