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Military ancestor - now what?

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Clare Report 24 Apr 2015 09:16

I have just found my ancestor William John Randall was a private in the Oxfordshire Light Infantry - 43rd & 52nd Light Infantry. Joined in 1883, Soldier number 1112

What else can I find out & where do I start? National Archives? Or are there better places to search? I am doing this from overseas so I can't physically go to some of the records places,

Thanks - Clare


MarieCeleste Report 24 Apr 2015 10:54

Hello Clare

Would this be him (same service no and regiment but no middle name)?

British Army Service Records 1760-1915
First name(s) WILLIAM
Last name RANDALL
Birth year 1865
Birth parish WILLESDEN
Birth town KILBURN
Birth county MIDDLESEX
Birth country ENGLAND
Service number 1112
Rank ­
Regiment Oxfordshire Light Infantry ­ 43rd & 52nd Light Infantry
Document Type Attestation
Attestation year 1883
Attestation Day 4
Attestation Month 7
Attestation age years 18
Attestation age months 8
Attestation Corps Oxfordshire Light Infantry
Attestation service number 1112
Discharge Corps Oxfordshire Light Infantry
Series WO97 chelsea pensioners british army service records 1760­1913

His service records are on FindMyPast


MarieCeleste Report 24 Apr 2015 10:58

Those records are also available on this site, you can find them using the Search above. Depends on your membership whether they're included in your package or whether you'll need to buy credits to view them.


Maddie Report 24 Apr 2015 11:41

service record from find my past has mother as Caroline Holden of Princes Street Kilburn

1881 ????

First name(s) Last name Relationship Marital status Gender Age Birth year Occupation Birth place
Dick Holding Head Married Male 45 1836 Labourer Brighton, Sussex, England Transcription
Caroline Holding Wife Married Female 42 1839 Laundress Brighton, Sussex, England Transcription
William Randall - Single Male 14 1867 Errand Boy Sussex, England Transcription
Alice Randall - Single Female 12 1869 Scholar Hendon, Middlesex, England Transcription
Fred Randall - Single Male 10 1871 Scholar - Transcription
Harry Randall - Single Male 8 1873 Scholar - Transcription
Census details
First name(s) William
Last name Randall
Relationship -
Marital status Single
Gender Male
Age 14
Birth year 1867
Occupation Errand Boy
Birth town -
Birth town as transcribed IHFORD
Birth county Sussex
Birth county as transcribed SUSSEX
Birth place England
House number 77
Street Pembroke Road
Town -
Parish Willesden
County Middlesex
Country England
Registration district Hendon
Archive reference RG11
Piece number 1364
Folio 113
Page 47
Record set 1881 England, Wales & Scotland Census
Category Census, land & surveys
Subcategory Census
Collections from Great Britain

Name: William Randall
Age: 4
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1867
Relation: Son (Child)
Father's name: William Randall
Mother's name: Caroline Randall
Gender: Male
Where born: Kilburn, Middlesex, England
Civil Parish: St Pancras
Ecclesiastical parish: St Jude
County/Island: London
Country: England
Registration district: Pancras
Sub-registration district: Gray
ED, institution, or vessel: 12
Household schedule number: 8
Piece: 217
Folio: 48
Page Number: 1
Household Members:
Name Age
William Randall 30
Caroline Randall 33
William Randall 4
Alice Randall 2
Caroline Jeanes 14
Sarah Jeanes 9
Rose Jeanes 7


Maddie Report 24 Apr 2015 11:49

Name: Caroline Randall
Registration Year: 1876
Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun
Registration district: Hendon
Parishes for this Registration District: View Ecclesiastical Parishes associated with this Registration District
Inferred County: Middlesex
Volume: 3a
Page: 175
Records on Page:
William Reuben Barrett
Esther Ann Fullard
Richard Holden --------------
Caroline Randall


Maddie Report 24 Apr 2015 12:04

why not take a free 2 week trial with find my past. so you can download the images, but don't forget to cancel


Clare Report 25 Apr 2015 09:05

Yes Marie that is my William Randall born 1865 Kilburn Middlesex and yes I did find his record here on Genes.

Sorry Maddie looks like that is a different William Randall. My William's parents were Walter and Selina (Collins).

Do you know what else is out there to find out about his military career - if anything?

Thanks for all your help.



MarieCeleste Report 25 Apr 2015 13:20

Hi Clare, have you actually viewed the pages of the records?

The next of kin on enlistment for William Randall, private 1112 in the Oxford Light Infantry (previously in 5th Btn Royal Fusiliers) was his mother Caroline Holden of Princes Street, Kilburn. This man went on to marry Marie Von Gunten on 18 July 1893 in Fulham, London.

Does this marriage fit with your own information?


KathleenBell Report 25 Apr 2015 13:20

If "your" William Randall had the service number 1112 then his service records show his mother as Caroline Holden.

If you are certain that his mother was Selina Collins then the service records that you found with soldier number 1112 is NOT your man.

Soldier number 1112 married Marie von Gunten in Fulham in 1893. Is this your man?

Kath. x


MarieCeleste Report 25 Apr 2015 13:23

The marriage record for 1893 shows that the man in the service records had father William:

London, England, Marriages and Banns
Name: Marie Von Gunten
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1866
Age: 27
Spouse: William Randall (a conductor, of 23 Turneville Road)
Spouse Age: 27
Record Type: Marriage
Event Date: 8 Jul 1893
Parish: St Andrew, West Kensington
Borough: Hammersmith and Fulham
Father Name: Frederick Von Gunten
Spouse Father: William Randall (a carpenter)
Register Type: Parish Register

So, if you're sure of your William's parents then (as Kathleen says) those service records are not for your man.


KathleenBell Report 25 Apr 2015 13:28

Sorry MarieCeleste - I added the marriage to my post at the same time as you were posting the marriage above.

Kath. x


KathleenBell Report 25 Apr 2015 13:58

This looks like "your" William with his parents and siblings in the 1871 census:-

1871 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
Elgin Terrace, Paddington, Kensington, London, England

First name(s) Last name Relationship Marital status Gender Age Birth year Occupation Birth place

Walter Randall Head - Male 28 1843 - Dorset, England
Selina Randall Wife - Female 30 1841 - Dorset, England
William J Randall Son - Male 5 1866 - Middlesex, England<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Alfred G Randall Son - Male 4 1867 - Middlesex, England
Emma Randall Daughter - Female 2 1869 - Middlesex, England
Elizabeth Randall Daughter - Female 0 1871 - Middlesex, England
Ellen Collins Niece - Female 15 1856 - Dorset, England

He was probably too old to serve in WW1 although it is possible.

Kath. x


Gritty Report 25 Apr 2015 14:48

Name: William John Randall
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 7 Jun 1865
Baptism Date: 15 Oct 1865
Baptism Place: Saint Thomas,St Marylebone,London,England
Father: Walter Randall
Mother: Selina
FHL Film Number: 597919

possible 1901:
Name: William J Randall
Age: 35
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1866
Relation to Head: Head
Gender: Male
Spouse: Louisa Randall
Birth Place: Maylebone, London, England
Civil Parish: Birmingham
Ecclesiastical parish: St Saviour
County/Island: Warwickshire
Registration district: Birmingham
Sub-registration district: St George
ED, institution, or vessel: 01
Neighbors: View others on page
Piece: 2839
Folio: 18
Page Number: 28
Household schedule number: 184

William J Randall 35
Louisa Randall 34


Gritty Report 25 Apr 2015 14:51

Second marriage of Walter and Selina's son:

Name: William John Randall (Widower)
Birth Year: abt 1867
Age: 36
Spouse Name: Minnie Parker
Spouse Age: 26
Marriage or Bann Date: 9 Feb 1903
Event Type: Marriage
Parish: Leamington Priors, St Mark
Father Name: Walter Randall
Spouse Father Name: Alfred Richard Parker


Clare Report 26 Apr 2015 06:20

Hi Ladies,

You are quite right - my William Randall cannot be the man who's service number I had been given. His parents were definately Selina Collins & Walter Randall.

I have taken your advise and now have the free 14 day trial. I will look at the records properly and see what else I can find.

Thank you for all your help - at least I am not tracing bad information now!
You have to be quite the detective don't you!

- Clare


MarieCeleste Report 26 Apr 2015 08:39

Yes Clare, it's so easy to take a wrong turn! Pleased you're on the right track now.


mgnv Report 28 Apr 2015 02:33


[There seems to be a (hopefully, temporary) problem with the image]
[They have images for Fordington, St. George's, but not for West Fordington]


mgnv Report 28 Apr 2015 03:17

Although Dorset isn't complete for any year, they have partial coverage for most years via:

1841 Census
Piece: HO107/294/0 Place: Blandford Town -Dorset Enumeration District: 3
Civil Parish: Bridport Ecclesiastical Parish: -
Folio: 7 Page: 9
Address: East Street
Surname First name(s) Sex Age Occupation Where Born Remarks
COLLINS William M 30 Carpenter Dorset
COLLINS Ann F 30 Dorset
COLLINS William M 7 Dorset
COLLINS Selina F 15m Dorset

[NB In 1841, adult (15+) ages were supposed to be rounded down to a mult of 5]


malyon Report 28 Apr 2015 21:25

William Randall
United Kingdom, World War I Service Records
Name: William Randall
Event Type: Military Service
Event Year: 1919
Age: 53
Military Company/Regiment: Royal Defence Corps
Military Regiment: 14566
Military Battalion: 116th Protection Company
Birth Year (Estimated): 1866


Clare Report 29 Apr 2015 08:18

Thank you Yvonne, that is most interesting.

I believe I have found my William John Randall was enlisted as a private in the Royal Marines in 1883 (service no D8650) then transferred to Artillery Division as a Gunner in 1884. He was discharged in 1891 after i think he bought his way out of service - I have a copy of his proceedings of discharge from the National Archives which states "Purchase by R.M.O. memo no 4846/91 5th Sept 1891" as the reason for discharge.

His Attestation Papers state he belonged to 16th Btn Middlesex Volunteers. Not quite sure what that is. I will have to look it up

But lots to digest and review. I do wonder if he re-enlisted for the 1st WW but assume it would have been with the Marines and not the Army??

A big thanks to everyone who has helped me.