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list of deserters or people brought out

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#1
My maternal great grandfather is a bit of a mystery, I have several different names for him (Goldfinch, Brown ,Browne), and have been told that he changed his name to avoid being caught when he deserted from the army, another family member told me that he was brought out from the army and changed his name for other (undisclosed) reasons, I have been unable to find any of the names he went by in bmd records or censuses, the only piece of information which has been consistent in all accounts is that he was in the buffs (royal east kent regiment) and was stationed in hong kong in 1908 (my grandmother was born in hong kong in 1911, so this would fit that info).
If i could find a list of soldiers who either deserted or were brought out from that regiment at that time in hong kong then it would narrow down the search a lot, any ideas on how to get this info?
thanks
Jon
 
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#6
Tried tracing grandmothers birth certificate, I was told by the Hong Kong records office that they did not have any records prior to 1940, as the office was bombed and destroyed in that year, a friend of my grandmothers who came to england from hong kong at the end of the war has described to my mother how she used to sit on her roof and watch the bombing, she remembers seeing the records office burn to the ground, so unfortunately I dont think there is any chance of getting that particular document.
I have her marriage certificate, but the fathers name listed on it is (frank goldfinch) almost certainly false, as he does not appear in census, bmd or army lists under that name. her mothers name is given as Claudenia Reis, which I believe is a portugese name, but I have been told she never came to england, so she will have no documents here.
I do have an old shorthand instruction book that belonged to my grandmother with her address in hong kong (122 wangshai road) written in the front, but as far as I know an address on its own isnt much use for finding records.

jon
 

juliejtp

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#7
What a name Jon. I had the same trouble with my grandad, he changed his name as well. So from 1914 he's known by the name that we knew him and before that his birth name, but my mun was a good listner when she was young and happened to overhear a certain surname mentioned. So he just rearranged his names by using his 2nd name as his 1st name, his 1st name shortened and used as his surname. What really did help that I had someone look for a miliatry record , it wasnt the one I thought it was, but they found another record and it happened to be grandads and the rest is history.
 
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patrickw

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#8
Jon,
you can apply to the N.R.O for a copy of the unit/regimental diary. This is pretty much what it sounds like and contains details of movement of personal and equipment in and out of the unit. It ought to list any deserters at the time they were posted. Also, just a though on the buying out aspect. When did discharge by purchase come into being. I thought it was a reletivley new thing and that it may not have been an option so early, but as I say, thats just a thought that might be worth checking in to.
Good luck with your search
Pat
 
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#9
Well it took a while, but the brickwall is partly down!
Regimental diaries yielded nothing, and the Buffs museum couldnt help either, then purely by chance I stumbled across his name (Albert Brown) in someone elses family tree and they had a copy of his army records! they make very interesting reading. First thing was to check the place and date of birth and next of kin to make sure I was looking at the right person.
Most army records I have seen run to 3 or 4 pages, his was 35! seems he was a very naughty boy, posted to South Africa at first he has several pages of disciplinary actions for various offences, having a dirty rifle, late on parade, drunk on guard duty, going awol etc , his unit (the Buffs) was then sent to Hong Kong where the same pattern continued, he even managed to sell his uniform twice, then he finally deserted (probably a relief to his C.O.). a few years gap in the records and then he appears again, he gave himself up about a week before the outbreak of world war one (luck or did he know what way the wind was blowing? a little later and deserters would have been shot), since his regiment had moved on by that time he gave himself up to the Duke of Cornwall's light infantry, who made a note that he was using the name Frank Goldfinch as an alias and then turned him loose again, I cannot find any record of a court martial or hearing, but assume that one must have occurred under these circumstances (anyone able to suggest where the relevant record would be?). I checked with the DOCLI museum archivist and unfortunately their regimental diary for that period does not survive.
Because the records finished so close to WW1 he was filed under soldiers who served in the great war, somewhere I hadnt been looking for him because I knew he wasnt in the forces by then.

then I found him again on a shipping list, this time under the Goldfinch alias, coming to england from hong kong in the 1920s on the ship Katori Maru with his wife and daughter.

just need to trace a marriage certificate, his death certificate and my grandmothers birth certificate (which it transpires might not have been burnt after all, but thats a different story) now to fill in the blanks.

Jon
 
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