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Boer War Records

Boer War Records

Posted: 9 May 2011 4:50PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: WARD
Does anyone know where I might find service records from the first Boer War (1880-1881)?

I am looking for records of Thomas William WARD (1836-1908).

Thanks!

Shannon
Mesa, Arizona

Re: Boer War Records

Posted: 13 May 2011 12:25AM GMT
Classification: Query
Provided the soldier in question went on to serve after 1883, then at least his attestation and discharge papers should be available in document series WO97 at the National Archives.
If he left the army before 1883 and didn’t receive a pension then there probably will not be record in WO97 and if that is the case you will need to know his regiment to be able to look up the Muster Books and Pay Lists and trace his service via those.

WO 97 records have now been digitised and are available online, for details see the section 3 of the research guide, British Army: soldiers' discharge and pension records 1702-1913 at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/research-guide-li...

It would have been useful to have given his place [or even county] of birth.

Re: Boer War Records

Posted: 13 May 2011 1:42AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: WARD
Thank you so much for the pointers!

I had no idea that these records were available. I will do some more searching for more of the folks in my tree.

I do not think that I found my Thomas William WARD. He was born in 1836 and died in 1908, both in Eastchurch, Kent.

I found one Thomas William WARD from Dover, Kent, but that is not likely him, as Dover is an hour from Eastchurch at today's speed.

So, now, another question: Do you have any idea where I could find out information about a uniform worn in a picture? Are you the expert who might be able to help me?

Thanks a bunch!

Shannon :)

Re: Boer War Records

Posted: 14 May 2011 12:49AM GMT
Classification: Query
I seem to have noted that man in all census years but none as a soldier, what makes you think he served in the army?
Do you have any family [wife etc] to confirm census details?

Not an expert, but I will try to help with the photograph, when you scan it the picture, in addition to the full picture if there is any badge on his head dress or collar can you try to do a high resolution scan of those areas.

Jeff

Re: Boer War Records

Posted: 14 May 2011 3:53AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: WARD
Dear Jeff:

Thanks for taking a look at the photo. Our scanner is out of commission right now so I only have what was previously scanned. Please see the attachment.

:)
Attachments:

Re: Boer War Records

Posted: 18 May 2011 12:21AM GMT
Classification: Query
I’ve been unable to positively identify the regiment the man was serving with but this is what I can tell you.

The uniform style is as worn in by the British army from 1881 until around 1908 when the British army adopted the khaki uniforms seen in cWWI photographs.

The “flaming grenade” collar dogs were common to several regiments, including the Grenadier Guards, most Fusilier regiments, Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers. The collar dogs had slight variations in the flames and insignia on the grenade; the obviously dark collar would eliminate some regiments.

The belt buckle would have been unique to his regiment but unfortunately the insignia cannot be identified and I don’t think digitally magnifying the image would help; you could try viewing the original image with a magnifying glass to see if you can see anything.

Most of the uniforms of the regiments I mentioned above had a scarlet tunic and dark blue serge trousers with various colour collars depending on regiment, for the Royal Artillery uniform both tunic and trousers were of blue serge. Although part of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines Artillery also had an all blue uniform with the flaming grenade dogs. Often but not always, in B&W photographs the red & blue show as slightly different shades of grey, but in this case I can’t distinguish any difference, however the clearly darker collar suggests the tunic may indeed be red.

Sorry I can’t be more help.

Re: Boer War Records

Posted: 18 May 2011 1:56AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: WARD
Dear Jeff:

You have surpassed my expectations! Thank you for all of the detail you have included.

Having dug deeper into this family, we think there is a possibility that the man in the picture is not the Thomas William WARD I mentioned, but his son Thomas William WARD b 01 Oct 1868 Eastchurch/Sheerness on the Sea. In the 1891 Census, he was found serving as a gunner with the Royal Army in Fort Newhaven, Sussex. Would that make any sense based on what he is wearing? We know it makes a great deal more sense based upon the estimated age of the man in the photo. The woman would be his mother and the 2 lads would be 2 of his younger brothers. Perhaps Thomas was able to get home for a little R & R and everyone else in the family was busy at the time they went to the photography studio.

Any thoughts?

Thanks a million!

Shannon :)

Re: Boer War Records

Posted: 18 May 2011 2:25PM GMT
Classification: Query
Shannon,

Re Thomas Ward jnr being listed in the 1891 census as “gunner R.A.” is actually Gunner, Royal Artillery.

Interpreting R.A., as Royal Army is a common error, especially as the Navy & Air Force has the prefix “Royal”. The army as whole is referred to as the British Army the prefix “Royal” is awarded to regiments individually.

The photograph does show the tunic and trousers being the same/similar colour and the Royal Artillery’s uniform was all blue serge and I thing the collar was red and the picture does show the collar being a darker shade. I suppose it could red, certainly the Royal Artillery did wear grenade collar dogs and the clothing of the woman and children fits with the late 1890-1910 period, so the picture could well be Thomas jnr.

There are army papers for a Thomas Ward, born Sheerness 1888/9, who originally enlisted on a 12yr short service attestation into the Royal West Kent Regiment 2nd Mar 1887.

Transferred to the Royal Artillery 31 August 1887, after serving 7yrs with the Colours he was discharged to serve the remaining 5yrs in 1st Class Army Reserve 1st March 1894.
Short Service = 7yrs with Colours with 5 with Army Reserve i.e. discharged to civilian life but liable to immediate recall in event of emergency.

Re-engaged into reserves Jan 1899 and again in March 1903, finally discharged March 1906 with 16yrs service.

Although he apparently never served outside the UK [Home = England & Wales, Scotland, whole of Ireland and the Channel Islands] and didn't receive any medals, his papers mention “wound in pit of stomach 20 June 1990.

Father Thomas Ward of Harty, nr Sheerness, Kent originally given as Next of Kin, he married Annie Scribbens at “Christchurch – Luton? (Linton?) – Kent” 26th March 1894.

Re: Boer War Records

Posted: 18 May 2011 3:10PM GMT
Classification: Query
Oooops!

Re my last "born Sheerness 1888/9" should have read born Sheerness 1868/9.

Re: Boer War Records

Posted: 19 May 2011 2:07AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: WARD SCRIBBENS
Very intriguing info you have included, Jeff!

Thank you for the service details for Thomas. From whence did these come?

You also mention a spouse for Thomas. You mean that Annie married Thomas JUNIOR, correct? I knew his wife was Annie from the Census, but never could find a marriage for them. Where did you find this marriage data? I do have 3 children also, born 1888, 1897, and 1900 -- so one of them seems to have been born outside the bonds of matrimony.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, . . . again!

:)
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