Archive for August, 2012

A New Beginning for Thomas and Sarah

The next record I have for Thomas Hall is his marriage to Sarah Purdie Barnes on September 1 1916. The marriage took place at 2 South Hampton Street in Kilmarnock, Scotland, according to the forms of the established Church of Scotland. Kilmarnock is in the county of Ayr on the west coast of Scotland, not too far from Bonhill and the Vale of Leven. It is also very close to Glasgow.

On this marriage record, Thomas is described as 50 years old, a telegraph manager, a Lieutenant in the 1st Garrison Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, and a bachelor living at The Depot, Fort George. His parents were William Hall, a retired pensioner, now deceased, and Lydia Celina Hall, née Ramsbottom, also deceased. Sarah is described as 34 years old, a hosiery presser, and a spinster living at 15 James Little Street, Kilmarnock. Her parents were James Barnes, a cabinetmaker (deceased) and Sarah Barnes, née Purdie. The minister was William J. Smith from St Karmarnock’s parish, and the witnesses were Alexander Hunter and Agnes Boyd Barnes.

I felt very lucky to have found this record on Scotland’s People. This is a pay-per-use site but I find it very reasonable, and I can use my American credit card to easily buy the credits I need.

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August 27, 2012 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry

Cap Badge of the Highland Light Infantry

Although Thomas’ personal service record was destroyed by German bombing in World War II,I did find quite a bit about his unit, the 1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry (1 HLI). I found good sources for the history of this battalion. Thomas enlisted in 1888 and died in 1917, so I narrowed my research to those years. The sources included:

  • A Google e-book, Regimental Records of the 1st HLI, 1777 to 1906
  • Royal Highland Fusiliers Website
  • The Long, Long Trail, the British Army in the Great War

Raised in 1777 as the 73rd Foot (71st Foot in 1786) and in 1787 as the 74th Highland Regiment (74th Foot in 1816). These two regiments became the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Highland Light Infantry in 1881.

  • The battalion was stationed in England from 1881 to 1895, was in Malta from 1895 to 1898, and served in Crete as part of an international force during the rioting of  1898.
  • The battalion was heavily engaged in Crete and suffered many casualties. It returned to England in 1899.
  • In 1899, the Boer (Dutch) Republics in South Africa declared war on Great Britain and invaded Natal. Questions of colonial territories were complicated by the rich diamond and gold resources in South Africa.
  • The 1 HLI arrived in South Africa in November 1899. The battalion was directed to Ladysmith, which was under siege. It took part in the battles of Belmont (1899), Modder River (1899), Magersfonteim (1899), and several others.
  • After the Boer War, 1 HLI left South Africa for Egypt (1903-1904), Sudan (1904 to 1905), and India (1905 to 1914).
  • At the beginning of World War I,, 1 HLI arrived in France in December 1914 as part of th Indian Corps, serving in the 3rd Indian or Lahore Division. It was in action within days at Festubert. During 1915, 1 HLI was at Neuve Chappelle, St. Julian, and Ypres.
  • In November 1915, the bulk of the Indian Corps, including 1 HLI, was transferred to Mesopotamia to fight the Turks and remained there for the rest of the war. Actions included Tigris, Kut al Amara, Trabes, and Sharquat.

August 26, 2012 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

Questions About Thomas and the 1911 Scotland Census

The information on my great great-uncle, Thomas Hall, is much clearer in the 1911 Scotland Census. By this time,, my great grand-mother Jane Isabella Hall had married John Gray in Perth, Perthshire, Scotland. Jane and John had five children, Lydia, Ada, Violet, Madge, and Ruth and were living at 59 Union Street in Bonhill, Dumbartonshire, Scotland. They lived near Loch Lomond in an area called Vale of Leven (Valley of the Leven River). The household also included four borders, including Jane’s brother Thomas. Thomas was 45 years old, Single, and employed as an orderly room clerk in a military barracks. He was born in India, and his nationality was listed as EuroIndian.

I had a few immediate questions when I read this census. Why was Thomas listed as an orderly clerk and not as a telegraph clerk as he had been in earlier records? Why was he living with his sister when he worked at a military barracks? Was he in the military or was he a civilian employee? At which military barracks did he work? Unfortunately, I discovered very early in my research that Thomas’s military service record, along with those of most other British soldiers in World War I, had been destroyed by German bombing in World War II. The questions the 1911 census raised in my mind were not yet to be answered. I couldn’t find any military barracks in Bonhill. There were some in Glasgow, but I could not find any evidence that Thomas worked in these.

More research revealed that Thomas had a long military career with the Highland Light Infantry. This information comes from his obituary which my cousin Jane sent to me. Luckily for all of us, the obituary also included a picture of Thomas in his uniform.

August 26, 2012 at 10:55 am Leave a comment

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My Mom Ada


This blog traces the family history of my mom, Edith Porter Duffy. From the time I was a little girl, my mom would tell me stories about her family, who all called her Ada. I only wish I had asked her more questions while she was still here!

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