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William Harrison Gloster Reg # 22199


Heatherm
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This may be the last of the men we are writing about who are buried in the WW1 cemetery and he is proving to be the hardest yet.

We have found his marriage in NZ in 1944 to Elizabeth Wilcock THOMAS, nee WOOLFORD. She had four children to her first marriage but no children with William and his probate, where he names Elizabeth and her 4 children. We have not been able to find his birth or siblings.

I ended up buying his death cert which tells us he was born in Penzance, Cornwall and that his parents were Mary ANDREWS and William Henry HARRISON, a shipwright and that when he died in 1968 he had been in NZ 50 years.

None of that information has proved useful. He was said to be aged 74 when he died in 1968, making his birth about 1894.

The only military document I have found has been this pension card index on Ancestry. Can anyone help please.

regards

Heather

In New Zealand

image.png.b9e61dec1022752711ee7e01cd71795c.png

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3 hours ago, Heatherm said:

The only military document I have found has been this pension card index on Ancestry. Can anyone help please.

The card itself is only a plain card with the above details in ink, plus:

An unexplained marking that of what looks like an inverted U with two dots beneath it [possible question mark?] apparently from date of creation

and

initials dated 14/8/53 [I'm guessing someone got it out for some unspecified purpose]

574409990_HARRISONW22199.png.357f86212213674b57eac233c6e014fe.png

Image courtesy of WFA/Fold3

:-) M

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As far as I can find #22199 Gloucestershire Regiment is a William Bray. The only reference I can find to WH #22199 is that Pension Card

George

Is there any significance in his grave marker saying 'Imperial Forces'? Seems an odd reference 

Edited by George Rayner
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I think his wife probably had no idea who he served with as they didn't marry until 1944, so they probably thought that was safe general wording to use.

He certainly is a bit of a mystery though.

I have attached the death cert in case someone can see a clue in it.

 

Heather

HARRISON DEATH 1968 46840.pdf

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5 hours ago, George Rayner said:

As far as I can find #22199 Gloucestershire Regiment is a William Bray. The only reference I can find to WH #22199 is that Pension Card

I'd agree with that. 

22199 Bray, Glosters has the full set: MIC, Medal Roll, SWB (1917 - attributable Pension earning), Pension Ledger and Pension Index Card entries.  22199 Hamilton, Glosters just has a Pension Index Card with a hand written question mark indicating a mystery.  The mystery, and any reference to serving under an alias, would likely have been clarified in the destroyed Service Record.

William Bray is William George Andrew Bray (Pension Card) born in Ireland in 1893(-ish).  The 1901 Census shows him living in St. Levan, Cornwall (ditto NZ Death Certificate) with his parents William H. Bray and Thirza J. Bray (Ancestry). 

Edited by TullochArd
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1 hour ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Has there been a previous thread regarding this man?

If so, could you post a link?

 

1 hour ago, Heatherm said:

No, this topic just started today, so just these few posts.

Just wondering how @George Raynerknows about his grave marker?

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George has been helping me with other men in our cemetery and you can find the headstones on findagrave but here is William's.

image.png.29323c1361c5facf6598d803a5b96470.png

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Just so...hours of what my wife calls 'fiddling and wasting time'!

 

Kevin

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9 minutes ago, George Rayner said:

.......hours of what my wife calls 'fiddling and wasting time'!

Ditto!

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5 hours ago, George Rayner said:

Is there any significance in his grave marker saying 'Imperial Forces'? Seems an odd reference 

All servicemen at this time could be broadly termed "Imperial Forces" so I suspect this is the catch all term when there's no evidence to put anything else down. We seem to be having more success in the age of computers.   

These bronze plates seem to be common in NZ on the graves of old soldiers but generally have much more detail.   Are they something to with RNZRSA? NZ Veterans' Affairs apparently funded these plaques for Commonwealth and Allied veterans until 1 July 2016.  

Commonwealth and allied country plaque and headstone funding | Veterans' Affairs (veteransaffairs.mil.nz)

They were obviously satisfied with prior service although clearly short on the evidence at the time.

Edited by TullochArd
...... link added
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William George Andrew Bray seems to have possibly ended up in New Zealand, as there is a William George Andrew Bray listed in a 1935 New Zealand Police Gazette, age 40, height 5' 8", labourer, native of England, wanted for stealing three cheques and then forging signatures. Possible change of name to disappear?

Image sourced from Ancestry:

fl26752236.jpg

 

There is also a William George Bray listed as living in Patea, Taranaki in the 1928 electoral roll, which fits with the location of the individual in the 1935 Police Gazette.

Edited by Tawhiri
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I can also find the departure of a William Bray from Southampton, bound for Wellington, New Zealand, on 10 August 1922, on board the Corinthic. His age is given as 28, so born around 1894, and his address is given as Something Cottage, St Austell, Cornwall. His intended occupation in New Zealand is farming. There is a corresponding arrival in New Zealand on 19 September 1922 in Wellington, New Zealand, unfortunately with no further details to those given on his UK departure record.

In the 1911 England census William George Andrew Bray is working as a gardener in Crownhill, Egg Buckland, Cornwall, for the family of a naval officer, while the rest of his family can be found living at the Coast Guard Station in Holyhead, Anglesey in the 1911 Wales census. Father William has a fairly extensive naval record that runs from February 1885 through to April 1919 when he was transferred to the Coastguard.

This is William's birth record:

https://civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/images/birth_returns/births_1893/02283/1856811.pdf

William Henry Bray and Thirza Jane Andrew's marriage was registered in the last quarter of 1890 in East Stonehouse, Devon. Interestingly, I did find a couple of Harrison, mother's maiden name Andrew(s) births registered in the same district in the same time frame. There is also the marriage of a Joseph Harrison to an Ann Andrew registered in the same district in the second quarter of 1889. Tracing Thirza backwards in the census reveals that she had an older sister Ann or Fanny Andrew, depending on which census you are looking at, so ......

Edited by Tawhiri
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48 minutes ago, Tawhiri said:

I can also find the departure of a William Bray from Southampton, bound for Wellington, New Zealand, on 22 August 1922, on board the Corinthic. His age is given as 28, so born around 1894, and his address is given as Something Cottage, St Austell, Cornwall. His intended occupation in New Zealand is farming. There is a corresponding arrival in New Zealand on 19 September 1922 in Wellington, New Zealand, unfortunately with no further details to those given on his UK departure record.

Only a small observation - Recorded as Wm BRAY- The Passenger List is dated 10 August 1922

:-) M

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William George Andrew Bray's 1921 Service Record exists.  It is a 90 Day Emergency Service Enlistment for service in 6th Bn Gloster Regiment Defence Force but links his discharge in 1917.  It includes his new number "164", his "22199" Glosters number scrawled across the top and another number "26589" recorded as "prior service" with a unit I cannot make out.  DOB is 14.10.1894. 

 

WGAB.png

Edited by TullochArd
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8 minutes ago, TullochArd said:

with a unit I cannot make out.

Something Hussars? - poss. 3rd Hussars??

:-) M

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3 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Something Hussars? - poss. 3rd Hussars??

:-) M

Yes ...... looks like that.  Strange he uses that number/unit and not his 22199 medal earning service and 22199 pensionable medical discharge from the Glosters in 1917.

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38 minutes ago, TullochArd said:

DOB is 14.10.1894.

So he's shaved a year off his age, his actual date of birth is 14 October 1893.

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Following up on the Joseph Harrison/Ann Andrew marriage that was registered in East Stonehouse, Devon in 1890, searching for this family in the 1891, 1901, and 1911 England censuses consistently shows that Ann/Annie Harrison was born around 1865/66 in Looe, Cornwall, which fits with the biographical details of Thirza Bray's older sister Anne. A quick summary would then suggest the following:

  • William George Andrew Bray is born on 10 October 1893, in Glenties, County Donegal, Ireland, the son of William Henry Bray and Thirzah Jane Andrew(s), who were married in the last quarter of 1890 in East Stonehouse, Devon. William Henry Bray is serving in the Royal Navy from February 1885 through to April 1919 when he transfers to the Coastguard.
  • In 1901 the family is living in St Levan, Cornwall, in 1911 William is working as a gardener in Crownhill, Egg Buckland, Cornwall, the rest of the family are living at the Coastguard station in Holyhead, Angelsey, Wales.
  • William serves with the 7th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment in WW1, service number 22199, enlisting on 11 September 1914, earning a full trio of 1914/15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal, before being transferred to Class P on 20 January 1917 and qualifying for a Silver War Badge.
  • He then reenlists on an emergency service enlistment in 1921 for 90 days.
  • In August 1922 William emigrates to New Zealand, and appears to have ended up working as a farm labourer in Taranaki. His last known address in England is St Austell, Cornwall.
  • In 1935 he steals three cheques from his employer, and then uses at least one of them with a forged signature, which results in an appearance in the New Zealand Police Gazette with a warrant for his arrest. It doesn't appear that he was ever arrested for this offence, as if he had been it should have been noted in the New Zealand Police Gazette, and he then completely disappears off the face of the earth. 
  • In 1944, now calling himself William Harrison, he marries Elizabeth Wilcock Thomas, nee Woolford.
  • William Harrison dies in 1968, his parents on his death certificate are named as William Henry Harrison (correct forenames, wrong surname), and Mary Andrews (wrong forename, correct mother's maiden name). The Harrison connection is that his mother's older sister marries a Joseph Harrison, so when he was trying to disappear in 1935 he picks this surname as his new surname.
Edited by Tawhiri
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Good morning from New Zealand

You guys are amazing - while I have been sleeping you have solved a huge mystery !!

PLEASE TELL YOUR WIVES THAT THIS IS ESSENTIAL WORK YOU ARE DOING - just sorry there is no pay attached and we can't even buy you a drink or a cuppa and scone since you live too far away.

I was tempted to buy the marriage cert but I guess it will have the same info and that will be where his wife got the details from for his death certificate.

This is his signature from his will

image.png.6814dbac4de7da2019caa921aaa24ec1.png

and I am now wondering whether the William Eric HARRISON he named in his will was in fact a nephew. I found him as Eric William, starting school in Timaru in 1906, with father J Harrison, so I will go on the trail of seeing if this was Joseph as named in your summary.

 

Thanks so much to everyone who has contributed to this post

 

regards

Heather

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16 hours ago, Tawhiri said:
  • William serves with the 7th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment in WW1, service number 22199, enlisting on 11 September 1914, earning a full trio of 1914/15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal, before being transferred to Class P on 20 January 1917 and qualifying for a Silver War Badge.

You're smack on with the summary Tawhiri.  I'd offer that we have one more fact to unpick.  The MIC shows he entered Theatre "(2) Balkans 16-8-15".  

Now things get peculiar.

Notice how in his 1921 enlistment he uses prior service "26589 3rd Hussars".  The LLT tells us "7th Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment saw its major commitment to battle in the attempt to take the hill of Chunuk Bair, just inland of Anzac Cove. On 7th August the battalion went into battle almost 1,000 strong, but only 181 emerged from it completely unscathed, the rest being either killed or wounded."  All this is a couple of weeks before WGAB's published entry date of 16-8-15.

However, LLT continues "The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, who had been part of the Territorial Forces since 1908, arrived in Alexandria in Egypt on 24th April 1915, a mounted force 537 strong, without having lost a single horse or mule on the voyage. Training, escort and guard duties came to an end when the Regiment was ordered to Gallipoli on 11th August, ......".  They landed on 19-8-15.  "By 17th October the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars were down to an effective strength of 95, all ranks, with battle casualties and, more decisively, disease, having taken their dreadful toll."

Regarding his mention of 3rd Hussars in the 1921 document ...... I understand that pre-War the First Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry consisted of four companies, of which the 3rd Company was a Gloucestershire unit.   Is this "3rd Hussars" he mentions?

So, was he 7 Glosters throughout or, perhaps, Royal Glostershire Hussars then 7 Glosters?  In the latter case surely  his medals would have been impressed RGH?  There seems to be a TF connection regardless.

Edited by TullochArd
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6 hours ago, TullochArd said:

So, was he 7 Glosters throughout or, perhaps, Royal Glostershire Hussars then 7 Glosters?  In the latter case surely  his medals would have been impressed RGH?  There seems to be a TF connection regardless.

There has been some very clever detection on this thread.

As to his Army Service it is worth looking at a couple of surviving near numbers:

 BRAY   26589 Hussars and 22199 Gloucestershire Regt

Reginald BUTTON    (has same 2B entry 16/8/15 as BRAY)
23257 Southern Cavalry Depot attested 4/9/14
22193 Gloucestershire Regt  -Trf'd 2/6/15, to 3rd Bn 3/6/15, to 7th Bn 16/8/15 MEF 16/8/15-6/6/16  then Mespot 7/6/16 onwards.

Sidney Henry BONUS
23750 Southern Cavalry depot attested 7/9/14,
22194 Gloucestershire Regt -trf'd  2/6/15 to 3rd Bn, remained in UK until trf'd to 7th Bn 7/3/16 and  Mespot 7/3/16-26/4/16 (record confusing)
then trf'd 28/7/17 to AVC  SE 31133

Hussars 26584 attested 14/9/14 joined Southern Cavalry Depot (same day)

Hussars 26598 attested   3/9/14  joined Southern Cavalry Depot (10/9/14?) trf'd Glos

In summary I suggest -

Wm Geo Bray attested to the Hussars in 11 Sept 1914, joining the Southern Cavalry Depot. He then transferred to 3rd Bn Gloucestershire Regt, still in UK, c3/6/1915. He was then posted to 7th Bn and the Mediterranean Expedit Force 16/8/15 -then to Mespot?? with the Bn in 1916 but depends at what stage he became unfit leading to his being discharged early.. Discharged 20/1/17 with Silver War Badge

 

Charlie

 

 

 

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