Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Topics about the Regiment during the 2nd Boer War.

Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby Jondi44 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:52 pm

Hello,

For some considerable time I have been attempting to find some information on my maternal grandfather's service history. Unfortunately he died some years before my birth and there are no other family sources. As a result the information I have is very slim. I was told he served in South Africa during the Boer War and that he said he never wanted to see another war. He died in November 1940.

The only information I have is as follows:

His name:
Maurice Kelly (he may have had a second Christian name of Desmond). Both his parents were Irish and it is likely the original spelling of his name was Moris Kelley.
Date of Birth:
14 September 1867
Place:
Chatham, Kent

I have one other reference, which I believe is for him, in the 1891 Census serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion of the Border Regiment at the South Front Barracks, Western Heights, Hougham, Nr. Dover, Kent. He is recorded as being single at this time and shows his birth place as Chatham.

It is probable he left the service after the South African campaign as the next record I have is the 1911 Census and he is married and working in Chatham Dockyard.

If anyone can suggest a way forward in obtaining any additional details of his service record I would be most grateful.

With thanks in anticipation.
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Re: Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby plbramham » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:53 pm

Hi Welcome to the forum,

Actually you seem to have done a pretty decent job on research yourself! Maybe others more familiar with the Boer War ( Scottie?) might be able to assist a little more?

Sadly it is always the case that it is far, far easier to research a soldier who died, I guess he should be listed in the QSA/KSA medal records though. Depending on his age, he may (just) also have served in WW1 too ?

Regards Paul
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Re: Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby plbramham » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:59 pm

Ah, maybe if you buy a cheap limited membership to "Ancestry" and put his name and "Chatham" you might find something in 1901, or especially 1911 census? Paul
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Re: Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby Jondi44 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:06 pm

Many thanks for your replies.

My research has been mainly with Ancestry; it's where I found the Census returns and other information. Whether there is a Regimental archive that may be able to provide a bit more I have no idea. I know his service number and rank on discharge would help but to get these it looks as if I need his records; hence the circle!!

Looks as if I may have hit the Catch 22 point?
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Re: Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby IanT » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:16 pm

You'll find some records on findmypast. There are two sets of service records for him covering 1885 to 1897 (serving in India and Burmah), then in the reserve until recalled to service in 1900 to 1902 (served in S Africa).
Other family named: mother Margaret, brothers Matthew & Patrick, one or both in the Royal Marines.
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Re: Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby Jondi44 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:06 am

Hello IanT,

Many thanks for your information.

It looks as if I shall need to take out a subscription to findmypast. I was with Ancestry for a good while and found the details I posted, but have changed to TheGenealogist recently in the hope of finding more as they claim to have a big database - personally I find it little different.

When you searched for him in findmypast, what spelling or other details did you put in? The reason I ask is that I see I can buy a credit package (60 credits for 90 days £6.95) which gives access at about 5 credits per page. Obviously this limits the number of shots I have at getting the records and I don't want to waste them.

Thanks again for your most welcome help.
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Re: Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby IanT » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:38 am

I searched for Maurice Kelly with birth and death years in the military records. FMP has recently changed its search forms which I (and others) are not too keen on, but this search brought up the hits plus a few others that could be checked. Don't enter 'Border' or 'Border Regiment' in the regiment name field or the search fails for some reason.
The two hits of interest are those with his name in capitals and event dates 1885 (also has birth year 1867) and 1897 (no birth year). The latter also duplicates most or all of the 1885 document (typical of the army!).
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Re: Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby plbramham » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:44 am

Of course you could always try the military museum at Carlisle ( formerly Border Regiment / KORBR museum) http://www.cumbriasmuseumofmilitarylife.org/
Guess they a a bit busy at present with moving to new premises and WW1 centenary enquires, though, Cheers Paul
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Re: Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby Jondi44 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:02 am

Hello Ian,

Many thanks for the search advice in findmypast. It is very easy to add information such as you mention that negates any good hits. Ancestry has also changed its search form which I find annoying as well!! At least with findmypast it will all be new to me.
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Re: Help in Sourcing Boer War Service Records

Postby Jondi44 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:22 am

Hello plbramham,

I have visited the site you provide a link for and read up on their ability to search their files; they say that regimental numbers are essential. However, on the off chance that his location in 1891, from the Census, will enable them to identify him and provide his service number I have posted for their assistance. I recognise it is a long shot but it is one of the few avenues left to me.

Thanks for your assistance.
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