Hi Brooke, thanks for your intriguing reply. They are, I feel, indisputably one and the same person. I have not yet contacted the Lewis family, Ethel's descendants, I am sure you must have seen the family home page herehttp://www.hemulen.demon.co.uk/ftree/bdene.htm
I don't want to open a Pandora's box there, without having as many facts as possible to hand, and maybe some mysteries are best left unexplained. Still, I would like to know, as would you!
They seem proud of Arthur, and rightly so, he was a good soldier with an impressive service record. If they did know about his subsequent identities and wives they are keeping quiet about it, but i think that if they did know they wouldn't have put his photo there. Arthur was one of seven children, his brother Alexander, my Gran's father, had five children, they would have been Arthur WDM's nieces and nephews....my Gran Nora was his niece. One wonders, did he lose all contact with his brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces, or did he write to them even after he had changed his identity? It is curious to think that my Gran was married in Poona in 1910. and the following year her uncle Arthur WMD was married for the second time in NZ, it is hard to imagine that each did not know about the others marriage. It was much easier in those days to change identity, and it was more frequent than one would imagine. My gran never spoke about her family, I didn't even know until my research at the British Library this summer that my Gran even had any brothers or sisters!
One thing puzzles me. The Lewis family page says that Ethel laid the foundation stone of the new house in Cardiff in 1902, but you mention Ethel as a widow in connection with an NZ electoral role, not a UK one. Does that mean Ethel went to New Zealand with Arthur WMD after the Boer War, which hardly seems possible as she would seem to have been back in England by 1902. If Arthur had somewhere in the background two registered widows, they would have been entitled to widow's pension; could it be that the Army found that out and hence his mysterious summarily leaving of the Army!
I attach a photo of my Gran, Arthur's niece, you can see the family resemblance, the same fine features. One thing she was proud of was her Scottish ancestry, which is what I have been trying to trace, as I love all things Caledonian! Interesting that Arthur WDM in his back story for his new name and identity states his place of birth as Scotland, and adds the name Stuart.
Castle Stuart: History
Mary Queen of Scots gave the castle land to her half-brother, James Stuart in 1561, and granted him the title "Earl of Moray". Castle Stuart was finally completed in 1625 by James Stuart the 3rd Earl of Moray. When Oliver Cromwell rose to power in England, the Stuart family lost their king, Charles the First. Castle Stuart then fell into decline and became a ruin for almost 300 years. The castle is not far from Culloden Moor, where the last failed attempt to restore the exiled Stuart kings to the British throne took place.
All very fascinating!