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Bertie Smith - 16th March 1888

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Maralyn Report 6 Jul 2020 17:54

You helped me enormously in the past and hope that you can do so again.

I'm still trying to find what happened to grandad Bertie Smith from the age of 13 (1901 census: West St Cottages, Lenham, Kent) until 1924 when he appeared in Gillingham (Medway). Bertie was born 16/03/1888, Lenham, Hollingbourne, Kent.

His daughter and grandsons say he spoke of being in the Army, with time spent in India. Even if he hadn't joined the Army before WW1, would he not have been conscripted in 1916?

Any help would be appreciated. :-)


KathleenBell Report 6 Jul 2020 20:02

Is this him in the 1939 register? :-

Bertie Smith's life in 1939
118 Richmond Road, Gillingham M.B., Kent, England

First name(s) Last name(s) DOB Sex Occupation Marital status Schedule Schedule Sub Number

Bertie Smith 16 Mar 1888 Male Skilled Labourer A R P Warden Married 66 1
Sarah Ann Smith 02 Oct 1893 Female Housekeeper Married 66 2
Joseph F James (Fullager,Smith) 03 Sep 1915 Male Warehouseman Single 66 3
George A T Fullager 04 Feb 1921 Male Fitter Shorts Airport Single 66 4
Gertrude E Whamond (Smith) 11 Sep 1927 Female At School - 66 5
The record for this person is officially closed.

Kath. x


KathleenBell Report 6 Jul 2020 20:05

Are you in touch with the descendants of his other children as they may know more about him?

Around 70% of WW1 service records were destroyed in a fire so it may not be possible to find his records.

Kath. x


ArgyllGran Report 6 Jul 2020 20:47

Previous thread with a little about Bertie.

However, we couldn't find any army records for him then, and still can't, unfortunately.
As Kath says, huge numbers of WW1 records have not survived.


ArgyllGran Report 6 Jul 2020 20:58

However, on another previous thread, AustinQ suggested this record, which seems to be him:

Listed on CWGC
Service Number CH/X 113349
Birth date 09 Dec 1924
Birth place Gillingham, Kent
Died 22/02/1945
Detachment 385.Royal Marines

Son of Gertrude Emily Smith, of Gillingham, Kent.


KathleenBell Report 7 Jul 2020 00:40

But Maralyn says he was born 16/3/1888 and that record says born 1924 ??

Kath. x


ErikaH Report 7 Jul 2020 10:10

Who was Gertrude's mother? Did he marry her?


ArgyllGran Report 7 Jul 2020 12:53

On reading AustinQ's post more thoroughly, I realise that AQ was talking about a different Bertie Smith - so the record may have been correct for that man, but of course not for Bertie 1888.


Maralyn Report 7 Jul 2020 16:20

1939 register is our Bertie Smith, his daughter was Gertrude Margaret Whamond (Smith)) born 11 April 1927. Her mother was Gertrude Emily (they never married) who had previously left the family home. Young Bert, born 9th Dec 1924 was Bertie & Gertrude Emily's son.

Not sure that Bertie (1888) was in WW1, as he might have had a reserved occupation at that time and perhaps joined later. He told his children and grandchildren that he served time in India. When I look in the Forces War Records I can find a number of possible links, but without being able to confirm dob I'm still no further on.

All a mystery as Bertie goes off the radar after the 1901 Census and reappears in Medway 1924. With the help of you all, I have found out a great deal about Bertie's parents and siblings, so perhaps I will just have to accept that I will never find anything more about Bertie (Snr).

Thank you all for your continued help and support. :-)


ArgyllGran Report 7 Jul 2020 17:25

Is it possible that he was using a different name?? (And age a couple of years out?)

Bertie Payne
in the 1911 England Census
Name: Bertie Payne
Age in 1911: 25
Estimated birth year: abt 1886
Birth Place: Lenham, Kent, England <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Search Photos:
County/Island: Military
Country: England
Rank: Privates
Military Unit: 7st (kings) Dragoon Guards [ 1st on image, not 7th ]
Registration District Number: 641
ED, institution, or vessel: India <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Piece: 34989

He's in "A" Squadron, 1st King's Dragoon Guards, in Ambala in the Punjab

There's no birth of a Bertie (or similar name) Payne in Hollingbourne RD 1884-1890.
There are some in other places in Kent.

There's a Bertie Payn (no E),who was in the Army, but he was born in Canterbury 1888, and lived all his life there apart from when in the Army - and was a driver in the Army Service Corps on 1911 census.


ArgyllGran Report 7 Jul 2020 18:16

Well, maybe not - though the only Bertie William Paynes around 1886-ish were not born in Kent - 1884 Shepton Mallet, 1888 Amesbury, and 1889 Edmonton.

Bertie William Payne
in the UK, British Army Recipients of the Military Medal, 1914-1920
Name: Bertie William Payne
Regimental Number: 6211
Regiment: 1st Dragoon Guards
Rank: Private
Medals: Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal, DM(B)

Bertie W Payne
in the UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
Name: Bertie W Payne
Military Year: 1914-1920
Rank: Warrant Officer Class 2
Unit: Corps of Dragoons
Company: WO 329
Regiment or Corps: Corps of Dragoons
Regiment Number: 19611

Ancestry thinks this is that man:

Bertie William Payne
in the 1911 England Census
Name: Bertie William Payne
Age in 1911: 25
Estimated birth year: abt 1886
Relation to Head: Head
Gender: Female [ Male on image]
Birth Place: Beccles, Suffolk, England
Civil Parish: Beccles
County/Island: Suffolk
Country: England
Street address: London Road, Beccles
Marital status: Married
Occupation: Engineers Turner
Registration district: Wangford
Registration District Number: 217
Sub-registration district: Beccles
ED, institution, or vessel: 07
Piece: 11013
Household Members:
Name Age
Bertie William Payne 25
Florence Payne 24
May Florence Payne 1

But if so, he's not the Bertie Payne in the other 1911 in my last post, born Lenham.

In 1939 he's a general labourer in Beccles, DOB 21/04/1886

Births Jun 1886 (>99%)
Paine William Bertie Wangford 4a 929


KathleenBell Report 7 Jul 2020 19:30

There is a Bertie Smith in the 1918, 1920 and 1921 electoral registers living in Woodside Green, Lenham, Kent. Also at Woodside Green is a George Smith.

Kath. x


Maralyn Report 8 Jul 2020 14:20

My Bertie was definitely born on 16th March 1888 (birth cert) and we have marriage cert 1938 when he married Sarah Ann Fullagar, noted here as batchelor, and 1939 Register still living at same address in Gillingham (Medway), which my husband remembers visiting.

But the electoral register of 1918, 1920 and 1921 sounds very promising. As Woodside Green, Lenham is only perhaps half a mile from the family home of West Street Cottages (1901 Census), when we last had knowledge of Bertie as a 13 year old. How can I access the electoral registers to continue my search as library services are closed at present? George Smith could either be his younger brother (George Frank Smith c1893) or his father George Smith (really Chatfield) c1848. The above info also helps narrow down the years he could have been in the Army.

Thank you all so so much.


ArgyllGran Report 8 Jul 2020 15:13

Bertie Payne, of A" Squadron, 1st King's Dragoon Guards, in Ambala in the Punjab in 1911, is still a mystery.
Born Lenham.


Maralyn Report 8 Jul 2020 16:31

I'll keep hold of that info just in case it is our man, although Bertie could have used the real family name of Chatfield. Changed by father between 1879 and 1881, reason unknown at present.

Any ideas as to how I access electoral registers in Kent?


KathleenBell Report 8 Jul 2020 17:09

You would have to wait until the libraries are open again to look at the electoral registers which are only searchable by address and not name. The only information they give is address and name - no age as only those over 21 and registered to vote are recorded.

Kath. x


Maralyn Report 8 Jul 2020 17:37

Appreciate all the fantastic information and ideas put forward. Really helpful. :-D


Maralyn Report 9 Jul 2020 13:35

Kathleen, were there any other people on the ER living at Woodside Green during the years' mentioned? According to census information there was a Smith family living at Woodside Green but they didn't have a Bertie, so perhaps it is still my man.

Will get into library as soon as I can to check ER and await the 1921 census info being released. Thanks again.


KathleenBell Report 9 Jul 2020 18:43

The electoral registers on Findmypast can only be searched by name (whereas in the libraries the actual registers are searchable by address.

There are over 600 pages so I haven't been through them all, but there is a Walter Smith and a James Smith at Woodside Green.

I've seen a family called Neaves and people called Hubbard, Harrison, Hoper, Longman, Williams and Warden.

I don't have time to look through any more just now but if I find any more Smiths or Chatfields I will let you know.

Kath. x


KathleenBell Report 10 Jul 2020 11:33

Had another look at the ER's and I can only see Bertie, George, James and Walter Smith. No other Smiths at Woodside Green.

Kath. x