True Identity of a fallen soldier in the Great War Part - 9

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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Tue 22 Jul, 2014 1:40 am

So i had, with the Will, the proof that Hoonan could be connected to Hoolan.

As far as i could see nobody could reasonably argue against the evidence in the Will.

However, like the British Army in the First World war i had learnt some lessons.

This time i would not only submit the evidence of the Will but i would also try address two crucial facts that were probable obstacles for the CWGC to agree to my argument in this case.

Firstly why Robert Hoolan may have served in the army under a different name and secondly that there was never a Robert Hoonan to be Private 3/10645 in the first place.

Though i had not made any intervening communication with the CWGC since February 2011 it did not mean that everything had died down with my research.

Though i had offered my research to the CWGC into the non existance of a Robert Hoonan as evidence i had mistakenly believed that they would follow up the evidence i submitted, based on the GRO indices for England and Wales to see for themselves that this was indeed the case.

What i did not realise is that the CWGC were never going to do this as it was not in their remit.

So with this in mind i wondered how and in what circumstances could i get the Commission to accept this evidence.

I decided that the only way i could get them to accept this was to ask an independent official body to undertake a search of the civil registration records and provide written confirmation to the CWGC to support my assertion.

As the HMSO "Soldiers died in the Great War 1914- 1919" publication had proved Private 3/10645 was born in Leeds then only a search of the registration records for Leeds and district should be satisfactory enough for the CWGC to accept.
    
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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Tue 22 Jul, 2014 1:53 am

The logical independent body to approach to confirm that there never was a Robert Hoonan born in Leeds to be Private 3/10645 was the Leeds Registry Office.

They hold all the civil registration records for Leeds and district as well as those places that have come under the auspices of the City of Leeds since 1974.

Therefore if Private 3/10645 were to have been born say in Hunslet, Bramley, Otley (Wharfedale) and any of those other now defunct registry offices rather than just in Leeds itself then the Leeds Registry Office would have a record of such.

I contacted the Registry Office and asked them if they would be willing to undertake a search on my behalf for any occurance of the surname Hoonan in the birth,marriages or death registers in their possession.

They agreed that they would , for a fee, and that they would write a letter addressed to the CWGC to confirm they had undertaken an independent and official search of all their records.

The Registry Office conducted their search, from 1850 to 1910, and formulated a letter to the effect that not only was there no Robert Hoonan born in Leeds but neither was anyone with the surame Hoonan either born, married or died in all of their records.

This was dated March 2011, not long after the CWGC's second reply, and i had been sitting on the letter since then.
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cnosni
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Postby cnosni » Tue 22 Jul, 2014 2:25 am

So i believe that teh letter from the Registry Office should assuage the CWGC's reluctance to take my "Non Existance" evidence in previous submissions at face value.

This left only the slight (ahem) problem as to why he served in the army with a different name.

Though the Will proved he SHOULD be Hoolan (from Hoolahan) i could only speculate as to why he was known as Hoonan in the army.

My best suggestion was that the recruiting officiant may have made an error in hearing Robert pronounce his surname in a busy recruitment office.

Though his Army service record no longer survives it is possible to work out by at least when he would have joined from those records that survive.

Roberts army number had a prefix 3/, this prefix indicates that he had joined the "Special Reserve" and would not have gone straight into training, but would await to be called up at short notice.

His number, as im sure you all know, was 3/10645.

With the help of a contact on the Great War Forum we were able to establish that the nearest surviving Army Service record for a Special Reservist in the same battalion that comes numerically after 3/10645 belonged to a Walter Firth 3/10999 who enlisted 22/8/1914.

I had speculated in my submission that the mishearing of his name in a busy recruitment office had meant that his surname was wrongly recorded and now this date proved he had joined the army at the height of recruitment "Fever" so to speak, in fact, my contacts on the Great War Forum worked out that he probably joined in the first week of the war.

This date of on or before 22/08/1914 was not available to me during my first submissions but i ha posed this question to Mr Ford, the archivist at the Duke of Wellington's museum in Halifax,in 2009 he told me that IF a mistake had been made with his name then, an i quote Mr Ford-

"The reason for the mix up in the spelling could have been when he joined the Army. Once that occurred it would be nearly impossible, for a Private Soldier in 1915, to get it changed"

But what if there wasnt a mistake, perhaps he had given a false name on purpose.
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