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Newspapers Willesden and Paddington

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Choccy Report 8 Mar 2013 18:13

Have sent Nancy a PM with details of possible living relatives.


Nancy Report 9 Mar 2013 07:27

Such and interesting story. This is what I've managed to find out from the service records I got last night. What a turn of events, at first I had him going awol to save a marriage and thinking his wife perhaps had a couple of children with another man. Now, this is what I think....

His service records give the name of William George Harris and show that he served 6 years with the Army Reserves Royal Berks Regt. He never went awol, but 3 years into his service he seems to have changed his name to Walter George Webb. I'm guessing that this was about the time of his marriage to Jane Lord. Why did he change his name, I have no idea. Was it a legal change, I doubt it but don't know. His pension records show his wife as Jane Webb and his first two children as George Webb and Harry Webb. He received his pension under his name, William George Harris. The record shows he was born in Chiswick, Middlesex, England. I searched records for him there and think I may have found him as William H. J. Harris. He has a brother named Harry and he named one of his children that name. I can't be sure but feel this is his family. Why the H J as initials who knows. On his marriage record to Jane Webb he gives his father's occupation as a carpenter. On the census record in Chiswick his father is a carpenter. I have a lot more research to do, but thanks you all so much for your suggestions and support. Suggestions still welcome! nancy :-)


MarieCeleste Report 9 Mar 2013 08:03

I've just had a read of his pension record and it is rather strange that it makes no mention of his dual identity.

Have re-checked newspapers for William George Harris (had previously looked for Walter) but still nothing.

According to the service records he did actually go AWOL in June 1909 but that was just for 2 days.

When he enlisted in February 1909 he was 22 years and 6 months, which would give a birth date of around August 1886.


MarieCeleste Report 9 Mar 2013 08:33

Is this the family you refer to in 1901?

HARRIS, William A J Head Married M 40 1861 Carpenter & Joiner Lambeth, London
HARRIS, Martha E Wife Married F 44 1857 Bromham, Wiltshire
HARRIS, William H J Son Single M 16 1885 Carpenter & Joiner Chiswick, Middlesex
HARRIS, Harry Son Single M 10 1891 Hanwell, Middlesex

Piece: 1570 Folio: 19 Page: 29
Registration District: West Ham
Civil Parish: West Ham

Address: 20, Plaistow Grove, West Ham County: Essex

My slight reservations about this family is that when "our" William/Walter enlisted in 1909 he gave occupation as labourer and when he married in 1912 he was a carman.

Doesn't mean he couldn't have changed jobs and worth following through to either prove/disprove.


MarieCeleste Report 9 Mar 2013 08:45

According to an unsourced tree on Ancestry the young man on the 1901 above is the son of William Alfred Joseph Harris and Martha Elizabeth Weston.


Nancy Report 9 Mar 2013 09:04

Hi again, I did see that AWOL but chalked it up to something like arriving late to that course. It was the first I think after he joined. He went through his service under that one name of William George Harris. It certainly does get confusing when his wife and hail dream are listed with the Webb surname. I appreciate you taking the time to look at his records.

You have the family I'm leaning to as his family. On one of the census' he is listed as a labourer. I just feel that with the correct birth place and his father being a carpenter on two records this might be the correct family. I know right now there is no way to be sure of much! Perhaps he changed his name and occupation when he left home? Gosh, I just don't know where to look next. Why would he change his name? Perhaps his wife didn't know until after military service? Thoughts welcome :-)


MarieCeleste Report 9 Mar 2013 09:36

Just a wild thought to consider - perhaps he was already married so used a different name when he married Jane Lord?

EDIT: another point to ponder - could William George Harris be the illegitimate son of a Walter George Webb (or the names vice versa)? That would certainly explain the use of different surnames (I've just been looking at a case a few days ago where a chap and his family regularly switched between his birth surname and that of his father).


Nancy Report 31 Mar 2013 05:49

I've certainly not given up on this mystery, Thank you all so much for your suggestions and help. I need to put it aside for a while, as life is happening around me. I'll be back.

nancy :-)


Nancy Report 5 Apr 2013 09:22

I now have a new theory, I'd love your thoughts on ... I'm not sure what the 'normal' age was for enlistment in the army?

William George Harris enlisted in 1909 at age 22+. I'm wondering if perhaps, (because of family lore of an AWOL), Walter George Webb inlisted at around age 18-19 in 1906 and went awol. Then to avoid whatever punishment there might be for desertion, he re-enlisted under the alias of William George Harris but he married in 1912 Jane Lord under his own name of Walter George Webb and his children were given that surname.

Does anyone have any suggestions about where I can follow up on any of this? His grave stone says, W.G. Webb, served as Private W. G. Harris. Of course that information probably was given by his widow, Jane Lord Webb.