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Remembered Today:

Richard Graham HATFIELD


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Good afternoon

The gentleman named above served in WW1 in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

 

He served from 1917 until 1919.

 

There is a good chance he was really someone else! If that makes sense. 

 

Does anyone know who I contact to continue my enquiries. 

 

This person was my grandfather - only recently discovered. 

 

Many thanks

Linda Saunders 

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HTSCF Fareham

There is a 156742 Richard Graham Hatfield, who wanted to be known as Charles Edward Weir, according to a document dated 30/08/1921.

 

Courtesy of Find My Past.

 

image.png.9e224ca58f3d31b84705643e642cab20.png

 

image.png.bc01d320b29042a6e316343625d19f67.png

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Hi Lindar and welcome to the Forum

 

There are some odd snippets of his service record and his discharge record that survived the Blitz - over 60% of Other Ranks records from the Great War were completely burned and what has survived is often fire and water damaged.

 

You can see those surviving records on FindMyPast or Ancestry.

 

If its the right Richard Graham Hatfield then he was called up on the 20th April 1917 and gave his birthplace as Canterbury, Kent. His service number was 156742 Royal Garrison Artillery.

On discharge in January 1919 to the Reserve he had reached the rank of Bombardier and gave his permanent address as 15 Buckingham Street, Strand, London. He was stated to have been 34 on his last birthday - however the same age is given when he was called up. His occupation prior to being conscripted was Medical Student.

 

Unfortunately his next of kin details on his Casualty Form - Active Service in the Discharge File has been headilly overstamped, but was a care off address - possibly a firm of solicitors?

 

Part of his service record appears to consist of heavilly damaged letters from various people in the immediate post-war period trying to track him down. Unfortunately names and addresses of the senders seem to have been what has suffered most - but perhaps they will make more sense to you. One towards the end of the file is a bit more legible - A.M McElderney? (V.A.D). Written in November 1918 it gave her address as the Isolation Hospital,Calais. The next of kin details on his conscription form are also badly washed out - I think it says Robert Hatfield, father and possibly c\o Grant Wilson Esquire, 58 Buckingham Road, London. Richard was not married.

 

A correspondence between an ex-Royal Artillery serviceman organisation and Army Records in 1921 refers to Richard now going by the name of Charles Edward Weir and that he  was then living at 7 Dean's Yard, Westminster. When he finally signed a formal declaration to that effect Richard stated he was "resuming his own name". The situation had come to light because Richard \ Charles was asking for charitable assistance from the organisation - so things weren't exactly working out for him.

 

In January 1920 the Army also had a request for a character reference for him from the "Crown Agent for the Colonies."

 

I may have missed somethings in my rush through, but hope that gets you started.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Edited by PRC
Typo
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The records that Peter refers to show him in summary serving in UK from April 1917 to 5 Jun 1918 when he was posted to France to the air defences of the channel ports until returning home for discharge in Jan 1919.

 

Max

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FindMyPast also has a Medical Record for him. He was admitted to the 2nd General Hospital on the 13th June 1918 suffering from influenza. He was stated to then be 34 years old, had served in the Army 13 months, and he'd been overseas for two of them. He is recorded as being discharged to Duty on the 18th June 1918, but in the remarks column is adds "4ConDepot",

(No.4 Convalscence Depot).

 

Cheers,

Peter

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Thank you! Do you know who I contact in the army to try and solve this mystery.

He was in prison until 1917 for theft under many different names! Think he then got it of a year of his sentence by joining up! 

Was put on habitual criminal register in 1921 !🙄

 

 

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2 hours ago, HTSCF Fareham said:

There is a 156742 Richard Graham Hatfield, who wanted to be known as Charles Edward Weir, according to a document dated 30/08/1921.

 

Courtesy of Find My Past.

 

image.png.9e224ca58f3d31b84705643e642cab20.png

 

image.png.bc01d320b29042a6e316343625d19f67.png

Hi All

 

Thank you so much for your help. I do have much of this information and looking now to make a connection- maybe via the army? - that Richards request to be known as Charles Weir was agreed. 😁

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Hi
 
Thanks for the prompt reply. 
 
I do have this information - trying to link it all to see if this could be one and same person ! 
 
There was a Charles Edward Weir serving too. Different regiment numbers- Is it possible they are the same?
 
No DOB or death certificate for Richard (also Raymond🙄) but army enlistment shows similar details to Charles 
 
How can I check that the army acknowledged this letter from Richard wanting to become Charles? 
 
Kind regards 
Linda Saunders 
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What is the regimental number of the "other"  Charles Edward Weir you have found enlistment details for?

 

Max

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Hi Max it is 90943.
 
Thanks for the prompt reply. 
 
I do have this information - trying to link it all to see if this could be one and same person ! 
 
There was a Charles Edward Weir serving too. Different regiment numbers- Is it possible they are the same?
 
No DOB or death certificate for Richard (also Raymond🙄) but army enlistment shows similar details to Charles 
 
How can I check that the army acknowledged this letter from Richard wanting to become Charles? 
 
Kind regards 
Linda Saunders 
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27 minutes ago, Lindar said:

Do you know who I contact in the army to try and solve this mystery.

 

The Army handed over the surviving service records for those serving before 1920 to the National Archive. Even before the bombing the files had been heavilly weeded.

 

The Army also had the choice over what documents would be preserved by the National Archive and decided the daily admin stuff, nominal rolls, etc weren't needed - anything of importance was already summarised in a mans service file.  So pre-1920 the Army doesn't hold anything else, and so there is no-one to contact.

 

Additionally after his final discharge later on in 1919, the Army didn't keep track of him. They might receive the odd bit of correspondence as with this man - medal entitlement, references, and the like.  Any entitlement to a War Diasability Pension would have been dealt with by the Ministry of Pensions - but as far as I can see he never even made a claim and there is certainly nothing in the surviving service records that indicates one would have been awarded

 

The correspondence is 1921 stems from Richard \ Charlies approach to a charity for ex-Gunners for help but has nothing in the name of Charles Edward Weir to prove he had served. He tells them he served as Richard Graham Hatfield. The charity writes to the Army for confirmation. The Army asks for a declaration from Charles Edward Weir to confirm that he served as Hatfield. Charles Weir makes the declaration, and the Army sends confirmation to the Charity of Richard Hatfields service. The Army don't try and prove he was one and the same or amend their records - they have just covered themselves.

 

Sometimes a Regimental Museum may hold a little more, but I suspect it's not going to be the kind you are looking.

 

I take it you have satisfied your as to whether the correspondence in the file came from your grandmother?  A more productive path might be to try and place them in the same location - No.4 Convalescence Deport or the Isolation Hospital at Calais, or where Richard's unit was stationed on Anti-aircraft duties,

 

Cheers,

Peter

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Not my grandmother on file Peter !!?? I have just discovered a cousin and we have the same elusive grandfather- Richard/ Raymond or whoever! He had an affair with my grandmother- who I never knew- the result was my mum- who was brought up in the Foundling Hospital. Mum never spoke of it until she had alzheimer's- so I only found out in the last 8 years or so. 

This man has been in trouble with the law spending time in prison under different aliases!!!

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90943 was an RFA Corporal who reverted to the rank of Bombardier at his own request in 24 Nov 1917 - he is not the same man in the RGA since April 1917 as having made Corporal he had been in the army for a couple of years at least.

 

Peter is absolutely right about war records.   All compounded by the fact that the name business was being dealt with by Royal Garrison Artillery Records in Dover.  The RGA ceased to exist  as a separate entity in 1924 and Royal Artillery records have been dealt with since by an infinite variety of record offices over the years including through another world war so there is genuinely no hope that "army" records exist after the 1921 exchange of correspondence.

 

However, there is the remotest of remote possibilities of checking whether he was given funds for boots and so on.  The organisation writing to RGA records in August 1921 for confirmation that Weir, as Hatfield, had served as he said was the Royal Artillery Association which still exists (I am a member).

 

I shall be very surprised indeed gobsmacked if they can lay their hands on their records from 1921 but if you wish you can contact them at:

https://www.thegunners.org.uk/contact  They won't need all the background, the question to them is - do they have records of the correspondence of 1921 to show that RGA records replied to their letter of August and did they progress this to a grant.  If you'd prefer to write they are at:

Royal Artillery Association

Artillery House

RA Barracks

Larkhill

Wiltshire SP48QT

 

Max

 

 

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Thank you so much Max.

 

There is another Charles Edward Weir that my researcher has found whose information tallys up with a lot of "Richards". I'm wondering if he led a double life. In currently looking into this possibility too !🙄

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If your researcher found 90943 and did not eliminate him then I'd be a bit dubious about anything else he/she found in military records at least and would suggest you check carefully!

 

Peter won't mind me answering the question about the hospital.  The information he quoted is on Findmypast.  It is an extract from an admissions and discharge register for No 2 General Hospital giving the information that Peter gave.  These have been collected into a National Archive document called MH 106, here is what the National Archives have to say about medical records:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C10949  Again, there is no, hope of finding any more about that part of his service.  More detail about them is here:

http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/125.html

 

May I ask if you have read the service file on Findmypast or Ancestry??  That also has the record of  his 5 day stay in hospital with flu.

 

max

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Hi

 

No it's not 90943 Charles that my researcher had found - it's me that stumbled across him! The other one is same year of birth and other details checked out. Just struggling to sort it all.

 

I read the file on ancestry 😊

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I have just reviewed the documents on Findmypast.  The "army" in the shape of RGA records did reply to the RA Association (then overseeing  the RA War Commemoration Fund) on 1 Sep 1921 confirming that they had already, answered, on 23 August 1921, with the proof they wanted including sending a copy of his Statement of Service.  The 23 August letter is in his file also.

 

The loose end remains whether the RAA gave him any funds, they had two letters from the RGA with the proof they wanted.  Any reply from them would not be in a service file as they would deal direct with him.

 

Max

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MaxD
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Do you think I could have a copy of these documents you've  found please . It doesn't show on ancestry. 

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1 hour ago, Lindar said:

He had an affair with my grandmother- who I never knew- the result was my mum- who was brought up in the Foundling Hospital.

 

So I assume you have a confirmed date of birth for your mum and a name for your grandmother. So you can work back from the time of birth to work out an approximate period when your grandmothers life and that of Richard Graham Hatfield crossed. I'd assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that your grandmother was based at one of the medical facilities on the French coast and they met either when Richard was either an inpatient or when he was stationed nearby. Records for VAD's are fairly basic but those for Nurses are more extensive and can be found here at the National Archive.

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/british-army-nurses-service-records-1914-1918/

 

What I was suggesting was seeing if any of your grandmothers records have survived and using those to identify where they might have met.

 

8 minutes ago, Lindar said:

Do you think I could have a copy of these documents you've  found please . It doesn't show on ancestry. 

 

I'm afraid that's an absolute no, no in terms of memberships of this forum and breaches the terms & conditions of membership of subscription genealogy sites like FindMyPast and Ancestry. FindMyPast do offer free trials and at least you know there is something there to find. Alternatively if you live in the UK your local public library will usually offer access to FMP or Ancestry, and sometimes both. Normally you have to be onsite, but because of Covid19 quite a few county library services have reached agreement that allows them to offer access on home PC's and devices.

It's worthwhile checking out your local library service website.

 

Cheers,

Peter

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I've found a Charles Edward Weir, alias J H Hamlin being convicted a couple of times in late 1898, in Hove and Eastbourne, he is described as being 16 yrs old and from New Zealand, and posing as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

 

Apologies if you've already seen this...from 1915.

 

Screenshot_20200817-232040.jpg

 

 

I think the two offenders may well be the same person...a couple of snippets courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive 

 

Screenshot_20200817-235158.jpg

 

 

Screenshot_20200817-235648.jpg

 

Link to the complete article below.

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0001697%2f19200807%2f024&stringtohighlight=hatfield alias

 

Edited by sadbrewer
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Peter

Thanks for your comments. My grandmother in fact met Raymond(as he was then) in a catering contractors in London in 1928. He was her boss!

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Sadbrewer

Didn't have the 2nd b newspaper snippet or the first little slip- thank you - there was mention of a NZ connection but couldn't really prove it.  Think the 1898 date was his DOB which alters continually. If he had come from NZ what was his name!!!!!

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17 hours ago, Lindar said:

Do you think I could have a copy of these documents you've  found please . It doesn't show on ancestry. 

The documents are on Ancestry.

23 8 21 - RGA Records to RA War Commemoration Fund enclosing Hatfield's request and a copy [from his record] of his Army Form B200 Statement of Services

30 8 21 - RA War Commemoration Fund to RGA Records asking for confirmation that Weir was Hatfield

1 Sep 21 - RGA Records to RA War Commemoration Fund saying [effectively] we sent the evidence on 23 8 21.

 

(The RA War Commemoration Fund does not of course exist now, disbursements of funds from RA charities is overseen by the RAA).

 

Max

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New Zealand birth records only have four Richard Hadfield's, none of them born in Canterbury in 1883 (I can't see the column heading, but am assuming this is possibly meant to be his place and year of birth, assuming that Canterbury is the province in New Zealand, if there is a New Zealand connection). The closest match would be a Richard Hadfield born in the Chatham Islands in the last quarter of 1884, which by a rather large stretch of the imagination you might consider Canterbury, Christchurch probably being the closest port to the Chatham Islands in the South Island. There are no corresponding births for a Richard Hatfield. Interestingly, Ancestry has the four Hadfield births as Hatfield, while the Department of Internal Affairs website in New Zealand has them as Hadfield.

 

Just to add that the Richard Hadfield born in 1884 is not your man, as he looks to have died in New Zealand in 1971.

 

No obvious matches for a Charles Edward Weir either, the closest match would be a Charles Were born in the first quarter of 1883 in Christchurch.

 

If there is a New Zealand connection, he appears to have been born under a different name.

Edited by Tawhiri
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