Saturday, 4 June 2016

The curious case of Henry Brummage

Pte H Brummage is listed on the Yorkshire Regiment memorial to it's dead for the Anglo-Boer war.

Yorkshire Regiment Memorial, York.
(Nigel Kirby/Loop Images gettyimages) 
However he is not shown in the official casualty roll or on the regiment's medal roll. It is possible he died after the end of the war and did not qualify for a campaign medal. Research shows this not to be the case and reveals a curious tale.

Born March 30,1882 in Norwich, Henry volunteered with 4th bn Norfolk Regiment. In February 1901 he enlisted for the Regular Army joining the Yorkshire Regiment, number 6502. Henry served in South Africa from April 1902 and would have qualified for the Queen's South Africa medal, but his name is not on the medal roll.

Evidence of his death comes from Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929 where he is shown as having died at Klip River on June 7, 1902, Henry's war gratuity and other monies owing were paid to his father, Christmas Brummage.

His service papers (WO97) show that a court of enquiry found that he was absent without leave "to have committed suicide or been accidentally drowned" at Klip Drift (sic). Then there is an entry for July 1907 where Henry is subject to a court martial.

Henry's case made the national newspapers in the UK when he came before civil magistrates in Norwich before being handed over to the Army for court martial. No further detail is given except that his clothes were found on the banks of the Klip and he was presumed drowned. Obviously Henry had planned his desertion and returned to the UK without being detected and managed to live in the UK until 1907. How he was found out is not known.The court martial sentenced him to one year imprisonment with hard labour and discharge with ignominy for desertion.Thirteen days after rejoining Brummage was dismissed on July 22,1907. All former service save for five days from the end of the trial to dismissal was forfeited.

The medal roll on which soldier's who arrived in South Africa in 1902 was prepared in 1903, when he had deserted. Undoubtedly the regiment did not enter his name on the roll.

In February 11, 1911 Henry married Kathleen Mabel Stone in Norwich. On the 1911 Census, taken in March, they were man and wife with a 14 month old son called Henry, presumably Henry was the father. Henry worked as a general labourer, later he woudl work as a painter. Henry and Mabel woudl have a further three children.

On the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 Henry re-enlisted in the 3rd bn Norfolk Rgt, number 8070. He declared his former service and discharge for desertion. He was discharged medically unfit after 93 days service, during which time he had four entries in the defaulter's book for being absent without leave.

In April 1915 Henry enlisted for 2/3 East Anglia Field Ambulance, RAMC. In December he transferred to the ASC, later he was posted to the Labour Corps, number 355080, then served with the 2nd, 3rd and 5th bn Bedfordshire Rgt, number 210860. Henry continued to collect numerous entries in the defaulter's book, but he did serve overseas. He was demobilised in March 1918 from the with 20% disability due to rheumatism. For his World War 1 service Henry was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and a Silver War Service Badge.

In the depressed post-war economy Henry served again with 2 East Anglia Field Ambulance, RAMC from April 1921 to May 1922. On discharge his character was "good".

Henry Brummage died in Norwich in 1960.

Source: WO97. WO363. Effects. WO100. Diss Express 19070712

1 comment:

  1. Found another similar case: Pte 6481 J Delamere Warwickshire Rgt

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