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Very Confused Re: Greenwood Clark

Kent UK
Going through some paper and noted that on my G.Grandfathers death certificate, it is listed Engine Tender in Worsted Mill formerly Stoker in Royal Navy. I checked the National Archives and it had service records for him dated 1903.

So I've purchased the records but am now confused. The date of birth given on records is 17th March 1886, his birth certificate is 17th August 1886. I have checked and checked the birth records and there was definitely only one Greenwood Clark born in Halifax,Yorkshire in 1886 and that was my G.Grandfather.

I don't know if abbreviated dates would have been used then. If so could 17/8/1886 been misread as 17/3/1886?

Also, the list of ships that he served on with the 'ceased' dates. Would the dates be the date that the ship ceased being in service?

Many thanks

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