WW1 in Egypt

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - LETTERS -

In the Au­gust is­sue, it was won­der­ful to read

the book re­view on Trac­ing your Great War Ancestors: the Egypt and Pales­tine

Cam­paign. As most First World War books tend to fo­cus on France and es­pe­cially the Somme, this re­view made in­ter­est­ing read­ing es­pe­cially as my grand­fa­ther, Al­bert Wheeler, took part in the Egypt and Pales­tine cam­paign.

Al­bert Wheeler (1888-1964) worked for the Mid­land Rail­way as a rail­way fire­man and mar­ried my grand­mother Nelly Clarke in 1908.

The fam­ily story goes that July 1915 while hav­ing a drink, Al­bert was of­fered the King’s shilling; as he wanted to con­tinue drink­ing he thought it would be a good idea. When he had sobered up by the next day, he had the task of telling his wife that he had en­listed. Nelly wasn’t happy as she was eight months preg­nant with her fifth child.

Al­bert joined the Worces­ter­shire Reg­i­ment as he was born in Eck­ing­ton, Worces­ter­shire then he was trans­ferred to the 1st Gar­ri­son Bat­tal­ion, Royal War­wick­shire Reg­i­ment. Baby George was born on 3 Au­gust 1915 and Al­bert was posted to Egypt on 20 Au­gust 1915.

In 1917, Pri­vate Al­bert Wheeler was trans­ferred to the Royal En­gi­neers and was posted to the Rail­way Op­er­at­ing Di­vi­sion as he was a skilled lo­co­mo­tive fire­man. Al­bert helped to build the Kan­tara Mil­i­tary Rail­way and stated that he was the first man to drive a train through Pales­tine.

While in Egypt, Al­bert was in­volved in fight­ing with the Turks; the Bri­tish West In­dian Reg­i­ment ( BWIR) was also in­volved in this cam­paign. One day while fight­ing, Al­bert was just about to be shot when a BWIR sol­dier saved his life by killing the Turk first. Al­bert never for­got how grate­ful he was to that sol­dier for sav­ing his life. Al­bert fi­nally made it home to Eng­land in Oc­to­ber 1919 and had five more chil­dren, my mother Joyce, the ninth child, was born in 1929.

The story did not fin­ish there, my Ja­maican fa­ther, Iran, came to Eng­land in 1954 to make a new life for him­self. He met my mother while they were both work­ing at the Co- Op Al­bert Street, Birm­ing­ham.

At this time, most West In­di­ans found it hard to find work, a home or even to be ac­cepted. My grand­fa­ther said that he had no prob­lem with my par­ent’s re­la­tion­ship as he al­ways said that if it wasn’t for that West In­dian sol­dier then he wouldn’t be alive to tell the tale!

As for the book, I have asked my son to buy me a copy for my birth­day in Au­gust. I can’t wait to read it and find out more about my late grandad’s time in Egypt. Au­drey Ryan Ed­i­tor replies: What a great story! I hope that the book helps you with your re­search.

Memo­rial mis­takes set in stone

On your let­ters page in the Au­gust is­sue, you asked if any read­ers had come across er­rors on mon­u­men­tal in­scrip­tions. I have come across many in­stances where the date of death on a civil death record does not cor­re­spond with date of death recorded on a mon­u­men­tal in­scrip­tion. The web­site rossand cro­mar­ty­roots.co.uk is an amaz­ing re­source of pho­tos and tran­scrip­tions of mon­u­men­tal in­scrip­tions for burial grounds through­out Ross and Cro­marty, Scot­land. I have com­pared the dates of death found on some of these head­stone im­ages with those in the Statu­tary Reg­is­ters on scot­land­speo­ple.gov.uk and found dis­crep­an­cies for at least 28 of my rel­a­tives. Many dif­fer by only one or two days; some vary by a month. More than ten have a dif­fer­ent year of death recorded. One MI records the place of death as over 50 miles from the place of death recorded in the statu­tory reg­is­ter. The ma­jor­ity of these dif­fer­ences seem to oc­cur on head­stones where sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers are listed to­gether; some of whom died many years apart. Pre­sum­ably, over the course of time, peo­ple’s mem­o­ries faded and dates be­came mud­dled. Sheila Davis by email Your ed­i­tor asked the ques­tion does any­one else know of a mis­take on grave­stones – well, I have no­ticed one. My 2x great grand­fa­ther Thomas Ward was bap­tised on the 6 March 1831, how­ever on his grave­stone at St David’s Church in Airmyn near Goole it gives his birth date as 31 Jan­uary 1832. Per­haps he was born on the 31 Jan­uary, but not in 1832. Steve Ward, Scun­thorpe. Ed­i­tor replies: Thank you for send­ing in these let­ters. Clearly just be­cause it’s writ­ten in stone, doesn’t make it true!

Cir­cus omis­sion

Your ar­ti­cle on cir­cus ancestors was a good taster of a sub­ject that has kept me amused for 50 years. Steve Ward sets out some help­ful in­for­ma­tion to those seek­ing in­for­ma­tion but in my opin­ion misses out a huge source namely www.cir­cus­fed­er­a­tion .org. The col­lec­tions database is worth a visit to the above. Fed­er­a­tion Mon­di­ale du Cirque is un­der the pa­tron­age of HSH Princess Stephanie of Monaco. I do hope that you might add this in­for­ma­tion to your next is­sue so that read­ers can be bet­ter in­formed. Christo­pher Stone by email Ed­i­tor replies: We’re al­ways happy to in­form our read­ers. Glad you en­joyed the ar­ti­cle!

Re­peated names

David Cross’s let­ter in your sum­mer is­sue asks if any other read­ers have ex­pe­ri­enced par­ents so de­ter­mined to have a child by a cer­tain name that they re­peated it three times. My great great grand­par­ents Ja­cob and Ly­dia Jack­son, had a large num­ber of chil­dren, and named all their sons be­gin­ning with ‘J’. They were non­con­formist farm­ers who favoured bi­b­li­cal names. Their sec­ond and third sons, both named Josiah, died trag­i­cally as in­fants, but they per­se­vered and still named son num­ber four (who sur­vived) Josiah. This was not a fam­ily name un­til that time, al­though my grand­fa­ther and oth­ers since have been bap­tised with the name. Janet Hall by email Ed­i­tor replies: I hope their fourth Josiah lived to a ripe old age.

How to solve your name puz­zles

My ancestor Reuben Wheeler ap­pears as Ben Wheeler or B Wheeler in the cen­sus and we had great dif­fi­culty find­ing him when he moved from Bris­tol to South Wales and then to York­shire. Find­ing his sis­ter, Priscilla, gave us the lead that we needed.

John Daniel writes in the Au­gust is­sue about some­one mis­hear­ing the name Henry and writ­ing Emily, thus chang­ing the gen­der of the per­son be­ing reg­is­tered as well as the name. Sur­names can be even more dif­fi­cult, as il­lus­trated by the ques­tion from Ian Treen in your Au­gust is­sue re­lat­ing to the dif­fer­ent spellings of names. My prob­lem arose be­cause the sur­name was mis­heard rather than just mis­spelt. Part of the an­swer to Ian Treen’s let­ter, given by Ge­off Young, was the strat­egy I used in search­ing for my hus­band’s ancestors. Their sur­name was Alexan­der and I knew they lived in Bac­ton, Nor­folk but I could not find them in the cen­sus for 1841, 51, 61 or 71. I might have given up if I thought they had been missed off one of these but not all four. I even­tu­ally de­cided to find them by us­ing the first names of the hus­band and wife, Matthew and El­iz­a­beth, re­strict­ing the search to Bac­ton and they ap­peared, with all of their chil­dren named and with the right ages; places of birth match­ing; ev­ery­thing just right. How­ever, the sur­name was shown as Saun­ders. Alexan­der and Saun­ders prob­a­bly sounds very sim­i­lar if spo­ken with a strong Nor­folk ac­cent! Cathy Mill­wood by email

Ed­i­tor replies: Search­ing by fam­ily groups us­ing just first names can be very use­ful. Ex­cel­lent ad­vice, Cathy.

Tragic news re­ports

I’d read about how much oth­ers had learnt from the grow­ing num­bers of news­pa­per ar­chives on­line and al­ways been a lit­tle en­vi­ous of the de­tail peo­ple had gained, so I de­cided to sign up and search for my­self.

There have been fam­ily sto­ries about how my great un­cle James Har­ri­son had died as a boy but no one seemed to know much about it.

All my fam­ily had said was that he drowned in a pool near the fam­ily cot­tage in Stafford­shire. All I knew was his name and that he died in the 1930s.

What made it even more tricky is that his fa­ther James Har­ri­son and his grand­fa­ther James Har­ri­son all died in Stafford within three years of each other. I went round in cir­cles try­ing to find out more about what hap­pened to young James. It is only when I read about the depth of the Bri­tish

Al­bert Wheeler was saved by a BWIR sol­dier

Ast­ley’s Royal Am­phithe­atre in Lam­beth, Lon­don, in the 19th cen­tury

James Har­ri­son who drowned aged 11

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.