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Remembered Today:

Unraveling a soldiers past


RaySearching

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A recent post on enlisting under an alias prompted me to post the following

 

 

 

BITTEN HARRY

Private HARRY BITTEN   (Arthur Edward Harry Bitten) (also known as HARRY A Ward)

242053 10th Bn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)    (previously Pte 3/7203 Suffolk Regiment)

Harry first served with the B.E F in France with the Suffolk Regiment before transferring to the Scottish Rifles
Harry accidentally drowned  on the 10th November 1917 whilst on active service (source pension document)          ( edit  drowned now found to be incorrect)

 

The register of soldier’s effect lists his widow Ada Ward as the legatee of his effects and that he had ‘died of wounds in the 19th C.C.S!’

He is listed on the CWGC register as the husband of Mrs Ward (formally Bitten) of 13 Benjamin Street Middlesbrough, this usually indicates that his widow had remarried, but not in this case

 

However the Western Front pension documents show that Harry Bitten was an alias his true name being Harry A Ward, his widow, ‘widow’ struck through on one of the pension records and replaced with (guardian Ada F  Fitzstephens)  (guardian) this indicating that his  remarried widow Ada was the guardian of their children

There is a record of Ada F Ward’s marriage to Martin Fitzstephens in the July Qtr of 1920 in Middlesbrough

There is also a corresponding marriage record of Harry A Ward’s marriage to Ada F Scott in 1913 in Middlesbrough

Harry is commemorated on Middlesbrough war memorial under his assumed true name Harry Ward, shown as serving with the 3rd Bn Suffolk Regiment on the memorial roll

The claimant of a dependant’s pension is listed as Ada Florence Ward born 23/12/1887 of 16 Denmark Street Middlesbrough later of 13 Benjamin Street Middlesbrough with an allowance for three children

Agnes Ellen Davidson Ward Born 2/8/1914, Henry Arthur Charles Ward born 23/2/1917 and Lily Hugill (adopted) born 28/9/1913

Born Cowlinge Suffolk enlisted Bury St Edmunds (source SDGW)

DUISANS BRITISH CEMETERY ETRUN

 

However research indicates his true name was actually Arthur Edward Harry Bitten (known as Harry)

The son of Arthur Charles Bitten and Agnes Bitten of Cowlinge Suffolk

Harry entered the theatre of war in France with the Suffolk’s on the 2nd September 1914 (source MIC)

The date of his entry into France suggested that he was a pre war regular soldier called up from army reserves also indicating that Bitten was his true name after all

Harry Bitten married Ada F Scott in Middlesbrough in 1913 in Middlesbrough using the alias Harry A Ward

I cannot find any record of a previous marriage for Harry so the marriage to Ada was probably not bigamous 

just why he chose to adopt and marry under an assumed name is at present a mystery

 

We have here a soldier who is commemorated On Middlesbrough war memorial as Harry A Ward and on Cowlinge war memorial as A.E,H.Bitten

 

 

For additional info on Harry see COWLING REMEMBERS Which probably now needs updating

 

 

Pension document courtesy of the Western Front Association On Ancestry

1914538708_Fold3_Page_1(2).jpg.3fdfd10adfa28da1066fa4a64b7d9f0c.jpg

 

Ray

Edited by RaySearching
name correction
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Wow Ray, that is one complicated story!

 

The only marriage I can find is for an Arthur Bitten in 1891 (too early?) to either Henrietta Gateney or Caroline Midwinter in the second quarter of 1891 in Stepney. FMP is rather vague on it all. Link

 

Regards

 

David

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Strange coincidence but another Bitten from Cowlinge dying from accidental drowning on active service...reported in the newspapers on July 22nd 1916.

 

 

Screenshot_20200213-153023.jpg

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I would say that I wouldn't count /discount drowning without some corroboration as Soldiers Died also has him as dying of wounds.

 

Craig

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30 minutes ago, sadbrewer said:

Strange coincidence but another Bitten from Cowlinge dying from accidental drowning on active service...reported in the newspapers on July 22nd 1916.

 

13 minutes ago, ss002d6252 said:

I would say that I wouldn't count /discount drowning without some corroboration as Soldiers Died also has him as dying of wounds.

 

Craig

 

 

What may have happened here is that Walter Charles Bitten Bdr 72764 RHA  who is listed on SDGW as having died in Mespot 

Walter being the brother of Harry Bitten/Ward  see link in post one

Its possible that the information drowned has been corrupted on the records from one brother to the other

 

Ray

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1 minute ago, RaySearching said:

 

Its possible that the information drowned has been corrupted on the records from one brother to the other

 

Ray

That's exactly what I think will probably turn out to have happened.

Craig

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this may be confirmation 

 

Walter Charles Bitten Bdr 72764 RHA  has a pension document, he is listed as having accidently drowned

 

His father a claimant of a dependant's pension in respect of three, of the four brothers who perished during the war 

 

Ray

 

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On 13/02/2020 at 16:43, RaySearching said:

this may be confirmation 

 

Walter Charles Bitten Bdr 72764 RHA  has a pension document, he is listed as having accidently drowned

 

His father a claimant of a dependant's pension in respect of three, of the four brothers who perished during the war 

 

Ray

 

You can see where the confusion would have crept in

 

image.png

https://www.fold3.com/image/668277366?terms=72764,1019

 

Craig

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 As an aside I noticed a discrepancy on the brothers pension records 

mother listed Maud Rachel and not Agnes Elizabeth 

 

simple explanation  Agnes died 1911  the brothers widowed father Charles  married Maud Rachel Eley in 1918

1317691648_bittendeath.JPG.e250f4744a4ec8bdd11e1678418925d4.JPG

977417056_bittenmarrage.JPG.667a3990cd15fe85680e6684603d4e14.JPG

 

Still cannot  find Harry on the 1911 census

 

Ray

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Ray you are a marvel..That is my website 'undyingmemory.net' and I have spent many hours trying to sort out the Bitten brothers. Your explanation certainly makes a great deal of sense, unlike every other set of circumstances I thought of. . I really ought to have contacted existing Bittens as I live not too far away. 

To add to confusion the headstone places Harry in the Suffolks, it looks like no one was told he had been transferred to the Scottish Rifles.. These pension cards are making a considerable difference to my searches, Manage to clear up many "possibles"  and 2 previously unidentified. Now trawling through the whole site to check against the cards, only over 2,000, so self isolating is no problem to me, Now to get the finer details from General Record Office data base and up date my site.

I had also not o to the re marriage of the father of the brothers, so more thanks

Incidentally phase 2 of the Alias Project by the W.F.A. is about done and hopefully it won't be too long before the online pension cards are tabbed so we can find men by either name. Hopefully the indexing will also be sorted out in the goodness of time.

Tony

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8 hours ago, agooner said:

Tony

 

Here is the panel on Middlesbrough war memorial with Harry's name as  "Harry Ward

TU-WH.JPG.0f2707ecf1fb76706e55b52b62594c48.JPG

 

I understand from family trees Harry still has descendants (Wards)  residing in the local area, unaware of Harry's original surname

It would be nice if the family branches were united

 

Still outstanding,  where is Harry in 1911 and what name was he using (was he with the Suffolk's

 

Ray

 

 

  

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Thanks Ray.I have a feeling our man would have been in Egypt for the 1911 census, the 1st Suffolks went there in Jan 1911. Not sure of course which battalion he was in, I think the 2nd were in Ireland, but I can check all this out with an expert  .Also I think I can contact some Bittens still in Cowlinge area,  He seems to have been Bitten in the Suffolks as the medal index card shows, but that does not have a forename on it Most strange set of circumstance and your input is very welcome.

 

Tony

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  • 2 months later...
toofatfortakeoff
On 13/02/2020 at 15:32, sadbrewer said:

Strange coincidence but another Bitten from Cowlinge dying from accidental drowning on active service...reported in the newspapers on July 22nd 1916.

 

 

Screenshot_20200213-153023.jpg

BIt of a latecomer to this thread, but I found this photo of a headstone at Roughton St, Mragaret Church while looking for someone else  which seems to have many graves for a small area.  Four brothers for the Brothers died section by looks of things. 

Screenshot (158).png

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  • 2 months later...
Pat Ward

Arthur Bitten aka Harry Ward is my husband's grandfather.  My husband's name is Bernard Ward. He is the son of Harry Arthur Charles Ward, who is the son of Arthur Bitten aka Harry Ward and Ada Scott. My husband was shown the memorial in Middlesbrough by his father, who told him that H. Ward on the memorial was his grandfather. The family still cannot understand how or why Arthur Bitten changed his name to Harry Ward. Bernard still lives in Middlesbrough.

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RaySearching

Pat

Were the Ward family aware of Harry's  true name ?

 

His wife Ada would have certainly have known! 

 

Ray

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Pat Ward

Not at all. A family member tried to get his war records but there was some kind of problem.  It was not pursued. Ada Ward,  Harry's widow remarried and had another family. Her second husband  was apparently not good to the two Ward children., namely Agnes Ellen and Harry. Bernie does not think his father knew of his father's name change. It is an absolute mystery as to the name was changed . I do wonder how he managed to produce a birth certificate when he married Ada (nee Scott). He was married under the name of Harry Ward. The mystery continues.

Pat

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RaySearching

Hi Pat 

Many thanks for your reply

It was not necessary to produce a birth certificate, to get married at the turn of the century so it was quite easy to marry in any name you chose 

 

Just had a look at my notes can you confirm that the parents of Ada Florence Scott  were John and Ellen Scott,  Ada Florence Scott born Darlington

 

a photo of Harry can now be found on Tony's Website  COWLING REMEMBERS 

 

Thanks Ray

  

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Pat Ward

We are meeting some family members at the end of May. Hopefully,  they will have further information for us. I can probably then give you some answers to your question.

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RaySearching

Thanks for the reply Pat

 

 

Ray

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