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Lyffe

Sgt Henry Hedley John Smith, RA

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Lyffe

I am trying to discover what happened to a Henry Hedley John Smith, and would appreciate some help.  He was born in Acton in 1881-2 and married a Florence Emily Oliver in 1911.  A cabinet maker by trade he lived with his wife and family at 14 Church St, Edmonton, Middlesex.   When his youngest daughter was born in February 1917, her birth certificate recorded her father as being a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery.

 

Thereafter he disappears completely; the London Electoral Registers (LERs) show only his wife living at the family address in 1925 (no earlier record) et seq, whilst the 1939 Register records her as a widow (still at the same address as recorded on the 1917 birth certificate).   In 1934 the two oldest children were beginning to be listed in the LERs as 'Smiths', although the family adopted 'Hedley-Smith' in 1937.   There is no record of him in any LER before or after WW1.

 

Ancestry appears to have no record of him after his marriage - no death or probate -  nor does the CWGC appear to have any knowledge of him.

 

Unfortunately 'Smith' is such a common name I am now at loss as to where else to search - even searches for  the less common 'Hedley' have hit a brick wall.

 

Any advice/guidance as to what his WW1 service might have been would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Lyffe

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jonbem

Hi

here is a potential for you to check out

First Name:Henry

Surname:Smith

Age:38

Incident Details:Sickness

Information:Particulars furnished: Woolwich, 05/05/1919

Rank:Sergeant

Service Number:4270

Service From Date:07/02/1900

Service To Date:26/04/1919

Silver War Badge Number:B189962

War Office Ref. Number:RA/3375

Reason for Discharge:Paragraph 392 King's Regulations (xvi) No longer physically fit for war service. Army Order 29 of 1919

 

regards

Jon

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Lyffe

Thank you, Jon.  Clearly from outside my usual sources, so could I ask where that came from?

 

Brian

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jonbem

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Lyffe

Much obliged, Jon.  Seems as though he died between 1919 and 1925 then; guess there are a lot of Henry Smiths to check!

 

Brian

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jonbem

Looks like two medal rolls and two MICs on Ancestry under #4270

1 RFA & 1 RHA

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jonbem

Also check out this, but you need access to FindMyPast to view the record.

https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=20&query=%2Bgivenname%3A"Henry Hedley John"~ %2Bsurname%3ASmith~ %2Bbirth_year%3A1880-1892~ %2Brecord_country%3AEngland

Henry Hedley John Smith

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records
Name Henry Hedley John Smith
Event Type Pension
Event Year Range 1760-1913
Event Place United Kingdom
Birthplace Northamptonshire
Birth Year (Estimated) 1882

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Lyffe

Thank you for your thoughts, Jon, but I'm afraid he's still coming up blank.  I think the 4270 Smith is a different man in that he appears to have served in the RA continuously from 1900, whereas my Smith is variously described as an 'upholster' or 'cabinet maker' in civilian life on his children's birth certificates between 1913 and 1917 (notwithstanding he was in the RA in 1917).  

 

His name only definitely comes up once in the census (1891), by 1901 he is no longer living at home.

 

Smith is far too common a name, no wonder the family changed it in 1937!

 

Brian 

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Lyffe

I've managed to get into Jonbem's link above, and it seems my man joined the Royal Artillery in August 1903 and extended his service for another 8 years in November 1904.  Most of this was served in Hong Kong, until he was discharged for misconduct in Jan 1908.  His record is annotated that he re-enlisted in the R of A, with a service number of 7183.

 

I'll apologise at the outset for these simple questions but I'd appreciate help:

 

1.  His medal card simply has (1) against Theatre of War first served  in - would I be correct in assuming this refers to France

2.  His rank is given as A/Bdr (Acting Bombardier), but the birth certificate for his daughter has him as Sergeant Royal Artillery.  Does A/Bdr equate to Sergeant?

3.  Under his service number of 7183 is a second number 282183.  Is the change significant?

 

Brian

 

 

 

 

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kevinrowlinson
2 hours ago, Lyffe said:

 

1.  His medal card simply has (1) against Theatre of War first served  in - would I be correct in assuming this refers to France

2.  His rank is given as A/Bdr (Acting Bombardier), but the birth certificate for his daughter has him as Sergeant Royal Artillery.  Does A/Bdr equate to Sergeant?

3.  Under his service number of 7183 is a second number 282183.  Is the change significant?

 

Brian

 

1.  His medal card simply has (1) against Theatre of War first served  in - would I be correct in assuming this refers to France

Yes

 

2.  His rank is given as A/Bdr (Acting Bombardier), but the birth certificate for his daughter has him as Sergeant Royal Artillery.  Does A/Bdr equate to Sergeant?

Without his records for his second term of service there is no evidence that he was ever promoted to Sergeant. Acting Bombardier (or more importantly A/Bdr (AC))is the first rank appointment given to the lowest rank of Gunner. The next rank would have been Bombardier, then Corporal then Sergeant. AC stands for Artillery Clerk and would therefore have been employed in clerical work.

 

3.  Under his service number of 7183 is a second number 282183.  Is the change significant?

Not really. The 7183 indicates he enlisted in the Special Reserve as a time expired ex Gunner (although open to any TX soldier). This was in August 1915 and he would have been told to report to Fort Burgoyne, Dover, after attesting. The renumbering of the S/R, and the TF, started at the beginning of 1917, to give a more unique number. For the RGA S/R they simply added 275000 to the original number.

 

Kevin

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Lyffe

I'm very grateful, thank you Kevin.  Yes, his rank was given as A/Bdr (AC).

 

I have been having quite a problem tracing the life of this man as he seems to disappear after the war.  There is no record of his death, nor does he seem to have emigrated.  The Electoral Rolls for 1925 show his wife living at the same address as the family lived in before the war, but no husband.  The family changed its name to Hedley-Smith in 1937, and in the 1939 Register she describes herself as 'Widow'.

 

Henry is beginning to look like a Walter Mitty character, who gave himself a rank to which he wasn't entitled, then abandoned his family after the war.

 

Brian

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