True Identity of a fallen soldier in the Great War Part - 10

Explore your roots & tell us your family's history!
User avatar
cnosni
Site Admin
Posts: 4199
Joined: Wed 28 Mar, 2007 4:47 pm

Postby cnosni » Sat 26 Jul, 2014 6:35 pm

So why did he serve under a different name?

My suggestion that his name was misheard and misrecorded now, when looking back, falls down at one crucial hurdle.

Robert as could most of his generation in the working classes, could read and write to a relatively high standard.

The Will written and signed by him on the 20th June 1916 clearly shows this to be the case.

So if he could read and write then surely he would have noticed any error that was made when he joined up.

So i began to look at other possibilities to see if there were reasons why he may have joine dunder a false name.

I had a couple of ideas for possible reasons but i wanted to see if there were any recorded instances where a man had given a false name when joining the army.

One that was suggested to me was that he had joined up before and done a runner, either because he was skint and wanted a few bob from the army or that he didnt like the army life and went AWOL. There are a number of recorded examples of this, one such instance of teh former happening with my friends grandfather, who joined up 3 times under different surnames just to get some money.

Two things that dont make sense with these two scenarios.

Firstly we know form the 1911 census that he was a "Boot Clicker" a specialist part of the boot trade.

So im sure that his services would have been maybe not so much in demand but certainly one which an employer would either wish to retain or recruit, and so he would therefore probably been in regular employment.

As for joining the army and then doing a runner well thats also something that doesnt sit comfortably as Robert only turned 18 in April 1914, four months before the outbreak of war.

This would not have left a great deal of time for him to have joined the army, do a runner, and then rejoin in the first week of the war.

Not only that but if he had done so, and gone AWOL because he didnt like the army life then why would he volunteer to join up again before conscription came in in January 1916?

So with those two scenarios looking unlikely i decided to consult an online website related to teh Great War to see if anyone had come across any such example and an example with differing reasons.

I also wrote to two prominent First World War historians, Andy Robertshaw and Peter Barton.
Don't get me started!!
My Flickr photos-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cnosni/
Secret Leeds contact
info@secretleeds.com
User avatar
cnosni
Site Admin
Posts: 4199
Joined: Wed 28 Mar, 2007 4:47 pm

Postby cnosni » Sat 26 Jul, 2014 8:42 pm

I recieved a reply from Andy Robertshaw, but no acknowledgement from Peter BArton, thoughi have to say he is a very busy man indeed.

As usual,as we have found on SL, those ordinary people with a shared interest are the best source help with a mystery and there were a number of reasons where a soldier is known to have had the wrong name in the army, apart from a mistake being made with their name, including.

1. Deserted wife
2.Deserted girl (possibly pregnant)
3. Trying to avoid attentions of someone's husband/father/brothers etc
4. Fleeing the debt collector/creditors etc
5 .Broken terms of apprenticeship
6. Parents disapproved of soldiers
7. Criminal record

Number 1 was a no goer as he wasnt married as was number 5 as he would have already completed his apprenticeship and number 6 was impossible as both his parents had died in 1913 and early 1914 respectively.

The others were good possibilities but with the exception of one were impossible to prove.

The last possibility, a criminal record (which would have been a bar to joining up in 1914) was something i could a least see if there was a record of at least some "form" so to speak.

Having searched the Ancestry online criminal records, which contain the records for the higher levels of courts held at York, i looked at the Leeds Assize Court Records at the West Yorkshire Archives in Morley.

I did this in January 2014 and as a consequence of the 100 year rule i was only able to check records up to December 1913.

Needless to say there was no record of his name appearing in those records and though this left 8 months of records til August 1914 it did appear that he had no form up until then.

So i began to put together my next submission to the CWGC which would contain the letter regarding the search by Leeds Registry Office and crucially the Will.

However there was one more thing that a contact on the Great War Forum had suggested, and that was to look in local newspapers to see if a relative had put in a notice with regards to Robert Hoolan being killed.

So i went from finishing at the WYAS at Morley down to Leeds Central Library where i knew the old copies of the Leeds Mercury and the YEP were kept on microfilm.
    
Don't get me started!!
My Flickr photos-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cnosni/
Secret Leeds contact
info@secretleeds.com
User avatar
cnosni
Site Admin
Posts: 4199
Joined: Wed 28 Mar, 2007 4:47 pm

Postby cnosni » Sun 27 Jul, 2014 2:05 pm

I decided i would begin my search with the Y.E.P microfilms for no particularly good reason other than they were teh first i came to in the large filing cabinets in which the library's newspaper microfilms are held.

I started on the 1st of July 1916, the first day of the Somme campaign and the day that Private 3/10645 was killed.

I knew that even if there was the smallest chance that there was something would be in the Y.E.P for Robert that it would not be in this days nor the following few days edition of the Y.E.P but i had to start somewhere.

It was fortunate that i idi start on this day as it gave me a good idea of where to look for articles related to the war.

The newspaper usually devoted page 5 and subsequent pages of each day’s publication to the war, depending on how much news there was on a given day.

On these pages the Y.E.P mixed all aspects of the conflict in general with those that were of a particular local interest, for instance where West Yorkshire and Yorkshire Battalions in general were involved in action.

Also appearing on these pages were notices placed in the newspaper by readers with relatives in the armed forces who had been injured, taken prisoner of war, missing or killed.

The first reports with regards to the Somme offensive in particular appear in the Y.E.P on Monday 3rd July 1916.

The paper devoted most of its coverage of The Somme offensive in the following weeks to the city’s Pals Battalion, the 15th West Yorkshires “Leeds Pals”.

In the daily publications of the Y.E.P printed in the week after the first day of the Somme we begin to see lists of Officers who have been injured, are missing or have been killed in the Leeds Pals Battalion and also those of other Battalions of Yorkshire who were involved in the attack.

There were also notices posted in the newspaper by the Officers’ relatives commemorating the fate of their loved ones.

It is not until the 10th of July that we begin to see the relatives of N.C.O’s and Other Ranks begin to post notices in the Y.E.P with regards to their own who have been casualties from the Somme offensive.

Though the casualty rate percentage of Officers on that first day was extremely high, numerically the N.C.O’s and Other Ranks were far greater and as a consequence the news for relatives of N.C.O’s and other ranks took longer to reach home.

This task was not helped of course by the loss of those very Officers in their respective companies, Officers who would have them been responsible for normally administering any news of a casualty back home to the relatives.
Don't get me started!!
My Flickr photos-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cnosni/
Secret Leeds contact
info@secretleeds.com
User avatar
Leodian
Posts: 6021
Joined: Thu 10 Jun, 2010 8:03 am

Postby Leodian » Sun 27 Jul, 2014 2:18 pm

Hi cnosni. Regular Smiley It's still extremely interesting research you are doing. Your tenacity in finding information is admirable.

Just going off-topic. I've occasionally used the microfilm viewing machines at the Central Reference Library, but great patience is needed as most material can be very hard to read due to the quality of the machines as much as the quality of some microfilms. Mind you, getting the film the right way round in the machine is half of the battle! Tongue
A rainbow is a ribbon that Nature puts on when she washes her hair.

User avatar
cnosni
Site Admin
Posts: 4199
Joined: Wed 28 Mar, 2007 4:47 pm

Postby cnosni » Sun 27 Jul, 2014 2:19 pm

I gave myself a six week to two month window of daily editions of the Y.E.P before i would move onto the Leeds Mercury as i would have thought that any possible notice would have been placed within that period.

As anyone who has looked at any records on microfilm it is a laborious process and you have to be on your toes to ensure that you dont load the reel up the wrong way around. You also have to be mindful that the previous user of the reel may have put the wrong reel back in the wrong case or even worse have not bothered to rewind the reel back to the beginning.

It is easy to lose focus whilst concentrating on doing all of this but the effort can bring results, and this time i struck the biggest nugget in nine years.
Don't get me started!!
My Flickr photos-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cnosni/
Secret Leeds contact
info@secretleeds.com
User avatar
cnosni
Site Admin
Posts: 4199
Joined: Wed 28 Mar, 2007 4:47 pm

Postby cnosni » Sun 27 Jul, 2014 2:20 pm

Leodian wrote:
Hi cnosni. Regular Smiley It's still extremely interesting research you are doing. Your tenacity in finding information is admirable.

Just going off-topic. I've occasionally used the microfilm viewing machines at the Central Reference Library, but great patience is needed as most material can be very hard to read due to the quality of the machines as much as the quality of some microfilms. Mind you, getting the film the right way round in the machine is half of the battle! Tongue


Wow Leo, i wrote the previous message and posted it only to see your message, spooky.
Don't get me started!!
My Flickr photos-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cnosni/
Secret Leeds contact
info@secretleeds.com
User avatar
cnosni
Site Admin
Posts: 4199
Joined: Wed 28 Mar, 2007 4:47 pm

Postby cnosni » Sun 27 Jul, 2014 2:27 pm

Here is the Gold Nugget, in the YEP Wednesday 19th July 1916
Attachments
small notice.JPG
small notice.JPG (0 Bytes) Viewed 1684 times
Don't get me started!!
My Flickr photos-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cnosni/
Secret Leeds contact
info@secretleeds.com
User avatar
cnosni
Site Admin
Posts: 4199
Joined: Wed 28 Mar, 2007 4:47 pm

Postby cnosni » Sun 27 Jul, 2014 2:28 pm

Close up of the notice    
Attachments
noname.jpg
noname.jpg (37.05 KiB) Viewed 1684 times
Don't get me started!!
My Flickr photos-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cnosni/
Secret Leeds contact
info@secretleeds.com

User avatar
cnosni
Site Admin
Posts: 4199
Joined: Wed 28 Mar, 2007 4:47 pm

Postby cnosni » Sun 27 Jul, 2014 2:40 pm

Transcription of the Newspaper notice

Pte Bob. Hoolahan (20), W Riding Regt., killed in
action, worked for Messrs. Winterbottom and sons,
boot manufacturers, York Street. His sister lives at
7, Sloe Street, York Road, Leeds.


So as you can see we not only had the names of Hoonan and Hoolan being connected at 7 Sloe Street in the Will dated 20th June 1916 but we now also had Hoolahan also being connected to 7 Sloe Street.

I knew that finding this newspaper notice was the absolute icing on the cake.

I rang my long suffering other half (The Boss)up immediately and then whipped the reel off to take it to the microfilm copier, where i tried to get the best possible copies and close ups, then sped off home to show them to the "Boss" who, when she saw them noticed something i hadnt.
Don't get me started!!
My Flickr photos-
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cnosni/
Secret Leeds contact
info@secretleeds.com
User avatar
Leodian
Posts: 6021
Joined: Thu 10 Jun, 2010 8:03 am

Postby Leodian » Sun 27 Jul, 2014 2:42 pm

Is that that the surname is Hoolahan in the text but Houlahan with the photo?
A rainbow is a ribbon that Nature puts on when she washes her hair.

Return to





Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 6 and 0 guests