Military Chat

Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

George Chatfield & Bertie Smith

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Maralyn Report 7 Jun 2018 16:20

Bertie Smith b.1888 in Lenham, Maidstone. Served in the Army, with some time in India we believe but we do not know if he joined as a boy soldier or around the time WW1 broke out. We have no service number unfortunately.

His father George Chatfield b.1848 Maresfield, Sussex joined the Army but was found to be a deserter from the 76th Regiment, Shorncliffe, in 1869. Did he ever get taken back to his Regiment or remain AWOL. Again we have no service number.

Any assistance gratefully received.


ArgyllGran Report 8 Jun 2018 13:02

If George changed his name to Smith, it would appear that he remained AWOL??

George in 1881 ???:

Geo. Smith
in the 1881 England Census
Name: Geo. Smith
Age: 33
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1848
Relationship to Head: Head
Spouse: Fanny Smith
Gender: Male
Where born: Maresfield, Sussex, England
Civil Parish: East Sutton
County/Island: Kent
Country: England
Street address: Cottage
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Agricule Labourer
Registration district: Hollingbourn
ED, institution, or vessel: 5
Piece: 935
Folio: 65
Page Number: 14
Household Members:
Name Age
Geo. Smith 33
Fanny Smith 32
Mary Elizabeth Smith 8
Geo. Smith 4
Alfred Horace Smith 2

But the children were born Chatfield:

GRO Reference: 1872 D Quarter in TONBRIDGE Volume 02A Page 577

GRO Reference: 1879 M Quarter in SEVENOAKS Volume 02A Page 587

I don't see a marriage for George and Frances /Fanny.

Bertie - for our reference:

Bertie Smith
in the 1901 England Census
Name: Bertie Smith
Age: 13
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1888
Relation to Head: Son
Gender: Male
Father: George Smith
Mother: Frances Smith
Birth Place: Lenham, Kent, England
Civil Parish: Lenham
Ecclesiastical parish: Lenham
County/Island: Kent
Country: England
Registration district: Hollingbourn
Sub-registration district: Lenham
ED, institution, or vessel: 4
Piece: 771
Folio: 36
Page Number: 1
Household schedule number: 4
Household Members:
Name Age
George Smith 52
Frances Smith 51
Bertie Smith 13
Dora Smith 10
George Smith 8
James Smith 3
Elizabeth Smith 2

Can't see any military record for him.


ArgyllGran Report 8 Jun 2018 13:14

Frances Smith
in the 1891 England Census
Name: Frances Smith
Gender: Female
Age: 42
Relationship: Wife
Birth Year: 1849
Spouse: George Smith
Child: Elizabeth Smith
Alfred Smith
Walter Smith
Robina Smith
Annie Smith
Bertie Smith
Emily Smith
Birth Place: Lambeth, London, England
Civil Parish: Gillingham
Residence Place: Gillingham, Gillingham, Kent, England
Sub registration district: Gillingham
ED, Institution or Vessel: 46
Piece: 665
Folio: 69
Household Members:
Name Age
George Smith 43
Frances Smith 42
Elizabeth Smith 18
Alfred Smith 13
Walter Smith 9
Robina Smith 7
Annie Smith 4
Bertie Smith 3
Emily Smith 2/12
Albert Brancne 18


ArgyllGran Report 8 Jun 2018 13:21

Is this George in 1871 with a different wife ?? If so, he hadn't yet changed his name, in spite of going AWOL in 1869:

Geo Chatfield
in the 1871 England Census
Name: Geo Chatfield
[George Chatfield]
Age: 23
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1848
Relation: Lodger
Gender: Male
Where born: Fletching, Sussex, England
Civil Parish: Lingfield
County/Island: Surrey
Country: England
Registration district: East Grinstead
Sub-registration district: East Grinstead
ED, institution, or vessel: 13
Household schedule number: 6
Piece: 1057
Folio: 68
Page Number: 2
Household Members:
Name Age
Thos Chatfield 52
Elizh Chatfield 51
William Chatfield 12
Rebecca Chatfield 10
Rosina Chatfield 7
Trayton Chatfield 6
Geo Chatfield 23 - Ag Labourer
Eliz Chatfield 22

George Chatfield
in the 1851 England Census
Name: George Chatfield
Age: 3
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1848
Relation: Son
Father's name: Thomas Chatfield
Mother's name: Elizabeth Chatfield
Gender: Male
Where born: Fletching, Sussex, England
Civil Parish: Fletching
Ecclesiastical parish: Rushton Brook
Phillimore Ecclesiastical Parish Maps:
View related Ecclesiastical Parish
County/Island: Sussex
Country: England
Registration district: Uckfield
Sub-registration district: Rotherfield
ED, institution, or vessel: 1a
Household schedule number: 26
Piece: 1640
Folio: 451
Page Number: 7
Household Members:
Name Age
Thomas Chatfield 76
Elizabeth Chatfield 71
George Chatfield 3
Thomas H Chatfield 10 Mo
Rebecca Oliver 64


ArgyllGran Report 8 Jun 2018 13:25

George Chatfield
in the UK, Naval and Military Courts Martial Registers, 1806-1930
Name: George Chatfield
Court or Trial Date: 19 Mar 1869
Court or Trial Place: Shorncliffe
Regiment: 73 Foot
Reference Number: WO 86/18

You'd be able to see the whole record if you had a sub to Fold3.
Or perhaps you have already seen the whole document, because you know he was a deserter, which the above basic details don't show.


Maralyn Report 8 Jun 2018 19:47

Thank u for your help and I realise It's a minefield: -
Have copy of marriage cert: George Chatfield & Bridget Dempsey 08/06/1874.
1871 Census Bridget used the name Elizabeth (George's mother's name) and both were Chatfield. Between then and the Census in 1881 they changed their name to Smith and Bridget has become Fanny. Some of the children were recorded as Chatfield and some Smith. Later Census Fanny has become Frances.

What is a sub to Fold3? We do not have access to any military records.

The deserter information came from a newspaper article (27th March 1869) when George was in Court for another offence, committed on 10th March and he was found to be an Army deserter? The judge ordered he be taken back to his unit at Shorncliffe. Did he ever get back to a Court Marshall and what happened to him then? He remained a Chatfield for a few years after this event, before becoming a Smith. His wife Bridget had changed her Christian once already (1871 Census) and later again. Obviously they didn't want to be found, possibly someone looking for them!!

As far as Bertie Smith is concerned, his daughter was led to believe that he was in the Army, with time in India. He certainly had an understanding of the language according to a grandson. Would he not have been called up when WW1 started? Would he have gone in the Army as a Chatfield, even though his birth records has him as a Smith. We lose him from a 13 year old in 1891 Census, until he reappears in Medway in the 1920s. His marriage certificate says Bertie Smith also Chatfield.
Any help or suggestions are truly welcome. Many thanks. :-S


ArgyllGran Report 8 Jun 2018 21:22

Fold3 is an off-shoot of Ancestry, requiring an extra subscription - or separately here:

But I believe many of the records are viewable on FindMyPast.
I don't have a sub to that, but many other helpers here do.
I'm sure one of them will have a look, once they've read this.


ArgyllGran Report 8 Jun 2018 21:32

For our reference (though not relevant to your query, as well after WW1):

Marriages Sep 1938 (>99%)
Chatfield Bertie Fullager Medway 2a 3447
Fullagar Sarah A Smith Medway 2a 3447
Fullagar Sarah A Chatfield Medway 2a 3447
Smith Bertie Fullagar Medway 2a 3447


Maralyn Report 9 May 2019 18:49

The above refers to my husband's granddad. Great grandmother Bridget Dempsey
b.1848/49 Lambeth, with possibly a sister Elizabeth b.1850 Lambeth, with mmn Nash. Father was Michael Dempsey and there is record of marriage to a Mary Nash 1847 in Stepney. In the 1851 Census the 3 females are recorded as paupers in Tower Hamlets (London); the children are recorded as being born in Middlesex though. Is it possible to obtain workhouse info?

Many thanks to my helpers.


ArgyllGran Report 9 May 2019 22:47


Bridget Dempsey
in the London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930
Name: Bridget Dempsey
Admission Age: 22
Record Type: Admission
Birth Date: 1848
Admission Date: 14 Jan 1870
Admission Place: Tower Hamlets, Stepney, London, England

Cause of seeking relief: sick.

Bridget Dempsey
in the London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930
Name: Bridget Dempsey
Discharge Age: 22
Record Type: Discharge
Birth Date: 1848
Discharge Date: 16 May 1870
Discharge Place: Tower Hamlets, Stepney, London, England

Discharged at "own desire".
She was single, and a baker.

Info re Stepney (and district) workhouses:

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for info re records.


ArgyllGran Report 9 May 2019 23:06

Is this the 1851 census you refer to??
If so, this Bridget is born c1828 (unless wrong on the census) Her age isn't very clear on the image - could be 2 1/2.
Mary and Elizabeth are listed together, but Bridget's not near them on the list.

Elizabeth Dempsey
in the 1851 England Census
Name: Elizabeth Dempsey
Age: 3
Estimated birth year: abt 1848
Relation: Pauper
Gender: Female
Where born: St George, Middlesex, England
Civil Parish: St George in the East
Phillimore Ecclesiastical Parish Maps:
View related Ecclesiastical Parish
County/Island: Middlesex
Country: England
Registration district: St George In The East
Sub-registration district: St John
ED, institution, or vessel: Workhouse St George in the East
Household schedule number: 1
Piece: 1549
Folio: 255
Page Number: 17
Household Members:
Name Age

Bridget Dempsey 27 - St George, Middlesex
Mary Dempsey 22 - Limerick, Ireland
Elizabeth Dempsey 3

[Plus many other paupers ]

Re workhouse at St George in the East:


greyghost Report 10 May 2019 13:39

Lots about the family on this thread


Maralyn Report 19 May 2019 22:41

My Bridget was b. 1848/49 and recorded as being born in Lambeth, South London.
Elizabeth b. 1850, born Lambeth, South London. Both mmn Nash.

Bridget's father was Michael Dempsey (as per her marriage certificate).

1851 Census show two children with the same names and a Mary Nash possibly the mother in Tower Hamlets workhouse. The only difference is the children are recorded as being born in Middlesex!, My Bridget eventually ended up in Kent.

Can I get access to workhouse records?

Many thanks.


ArgyllGran Report 23 May 2019 16:47

Did you look at the link I posted on 9th May at 23:06?

Copied here again:

And the other link posted on 9th May at 22.47 ?

If you scroll down to the bottom of those pages, there's information about what records exist, and where they are held.

For the workhouse at St George in the East, there are these - (apart from what's available online on Ancestry and FindMyPast) -

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. Holdings include: Guardians' minutes (1836-1924); Committee minutes (1907-17); Staff records (1876-1926); Admissions and discharges (1811-43, 1854-56); etc.

For the Stepney workhouse (apart from what's on Ancestry and FMP):

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. Union records include Guardians' minute books (1836-1926); Financial records 1839-1925; Staff records (1894-1925); etc. ?Wapping Workhouse — Admissions and discharges (1848-63).
?Limehouse Children's Establishment — Admissions and discharges (1838-73); Deaths (1866-73); Creed registers (1869-73); Visitors (1865-71).
?Ratcliffe Workhouse — Admissions and discharges (1839-72, 1893-1908).
?Mile End Old Town Workhouse — Admissions and discharges (1840-57); Deaths (1854-7).
?St Leonard's Street Workhouse — Admissions and discharges (1863-1913); Births (1866-1923); Deaths (1866-1923); Creed registers (1874-1923).
?Stifford Children's Homes — Admissions and discharges (1902-23); Creed registers (1902-21).

Here is the London Metropolitan Archives website:


Maralyn Report 29 May 2019 19:51

Thank you so much for the info.