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B. E. F . Devonshire Rgt


alan jones
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Hello , was there a B.E.F. before the first world war ? I have seen a gravestone of a great uncle of mine in Los Angeles saying he was in 1st Devonshire Rgt B. E. F . and is buried in the Canadian Veterans Section , Charter Oak .William Henry Prout was born in 1862 and enlisted 5th September 1884 and discharged 1892 . Given his age would be 52 in 1914 I can't seeing him taking part . His number in Devonshire Rgt was 944 and service records can be seen on Chelsea Pensioners records . I was only aware of B.E.F. in WW1 and WW2 . Any thoughts welcomed 

Regards

Alan

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Hmmm?

According to the extensive library Planning for a British Expeditionary Force began with the 1906-1912 Haldane reforms of the British Army carried out by the Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane following the Second Boer War (1899–1902).[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Expeditionary_Force_(World_War_I)

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Alan

 

It is possible that he could have served with the BEF in 1914. This photograph of a commemorative headstone in London Rd Cemetery, Coventry proves the point:

 

 

 

 

IMG_0019 2.jpeg

Edited by Terry_Reeves
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Thanks , he enlisted in Exeter in 1884 , got married in 1892 and went over to Canada in 1910 , maybe the Canadians let him enlist ?

Regards

Alan

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Alan

 

It is possible. Men with regular army service and over age were allowed to re-enlist in the early in the war because of their previous experience. 

 

TR

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I guess he must have then in Canada if they let him be buried in the Canadian veteran section in the description of B.E F and not C.E.F.

Regards

Alan

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12 hours ago, alan jones said:

William Henry Prout was born in 1862 and enlisted 5th September 1884 and discharged 1892 .

 

No Great War era Canadian Army records for a William Henry Prout.

 

The grave marker actually has him born 1866, not 1862. He died 12th March 1939. I assume birth year has been calculated.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/178183686/william-henry-prout

 

His Californian death certificate shows him as aged 73 and the son of a Richard Prout and a Jennie Prout - both born South Molton, England according to the informant. His date of birth is given as the 14th September 1865.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPMC-87V8

 

The William Henry Prout who enlisted in the Devonshires with service number 944 was only 19 years old when he enlisted on the 4th September 1894 (see his statement of services page. although other pages do say the 5th) - so born circa 1865. His father was Richard and his mother Jane, both of South Molton, Devon. He completed his 12 years in 1906 and there is no indication that he extended his time by joining Army Reserve Group B. So if he did sign up again with the British Army in 1914 he would have done so under a different service number. However there are a number of instances of men returning to the UK at their own expense in order to sign up.

 

Hope that helps

Peter

 

Edited by PRC
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Thanks , he was definately son of Richard and Jane of South Molton , I noticed various incorrect dates of birth and marriage of both him and his wife on his immigration and naturalization papers amongst others. I have his actual birth certificate which states 15th September 1862 , dates not their strong point .I would have thought the cemetery would have checked his authenticity to be buried in the Canadian Veterans Section though .

Regards

Alan

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4 hours ago, alan jones said:

I would have thought the cemetery would have checked his authenticity to be buried in the Canadian Veterans Section though .

 

I suspect it was probably fairly laxly enforced - a quick trawl through the FindaGrave site throws up:=

Thomson Finson 1878 - 1936 Royal Navy. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/178235027/thomas-finson

 

There is also a dedication for both world wars "In memory to our British boys and Nurses whose lives were spent and given in the greatest cause that the world have ever known."

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15835275/sidney-woodcock#view-photo=4102389

 

The Royal Canadian Legion in the Western Zone of the USA states "The Inglewood Park Cemetery is the final resting place of many British Commonwealth veterans, many of these men and women fought in WWI and WWII.  It was recently discovered that approximately 160 of the graves are unmarked so our Zone is working with Veterans Affairs Canada to have a headstone placed on each veteran’s grave."

https://rclwesternzoneusa.org/2013/06/

 

The place marker photo for William Henry Prout looks relatively new and it was uploaded to the FindaGrave website in April 2017, so this may have been one of those unmarked graves. It might be worthwhile contacting the Royal Canadian Legion to see if they have any more details about his Great War service. If it is a recent marker provided by them then they must have some source for that statement about the B.E.F.  Of course his widow may have elaborated things back in the 1930's in order to get a free or low cost burial plot.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Edited by PRC
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