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Old 07-09-15, 05:54
Jill Jill is offline
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Default (75) William Carey

William Carey is the “lost sheep” of the WW1 Roll of Honour of St Wilfrid’s School, Haywards Heath, because I have not been able to find his date of death and I can safely say I have spent more time researching William than any member of my own family.

William was the son of gardener George Carey, and Mary Ann (nee Pettitt) who started off their married life in Keymer, Sussex, where their first son Charles George Carey was born in 1883. His birth was registered in Cuckfield district in Q2 1883 and there is a baptism for him at SS Cosmos & Damien, Keymer on 13 May 1883.

By the 1891 census the family had moved to Haywards Heath and were living at St Clair Cottage which was the gardener’s cottage for the now demolished St Clair house in Perrymount Road and William appears with them aged 3 born in Haywards Heath, which gives a birth date of between April 1887 and before March 1888.

There is no GRO birth registration in Cuckfield district or Lewes district (under which different parts of Haywards Heath came) for William during this period. There is a Bertie Carey in Dec 1889, bapt in Horsted Keynes s of Richard & Rosanna. There is a registration for a William Edward Carey much later in Jun Q 1889 Cuckfield but it is for a baby with parents Edward and Elizabeth of Brook Street, Cuckfield who was born 14 Apr, bapt 16 Apr and buried aged 5 days on 22 Apr 1889 at Holy Trinity, Cuckfield (from Holy Trinity parish registers). There is a registration in Rye, Sussex , Mar 1889 for a William Charles Carey. There is no baptism for William at St Wilfrid’s church in Haywards Heath.

The family are at the same address in 1901, William was 13, with no additional children in the family.

The 1911 census saw William in the Navy as a Stoker 1st Class aboard HMS Halcyon giving his birthplace as Haywards Heath although his age of 24 gives a birth date of between Apr 1886 and Mar 1887.

In January 2015 Ancestry added the Royal Navy Register of Seamen’s Services 1900-1928 which was a revelation. William gave a birthdate of 5 Dec 1886 and a birthplace of Brighton (13 miles south of Haywards Heath). I’m sure it is him because he was on HMS Halcyon in the 1911 census with a Haywards Heath birthplace, his Naval record shows him on HMS Halcyon and because of the newspaper report below. On his Naval record his previous occupation is given as Postman though there is nobody of that name in the correct time frame in the British Postal Service Appointment Books on Ancestry.

After finding a mention of him in the Sussex Express, Surrey Standard and Kent Mail for 15 Sep 1906 I realised it was related to a note on his service record about spending 3 days in the cells:

William Carey, of Haywards Heath, was charged with being an absentee from the Navy. On the application of Supt. Brooman an order was made for the prisoner to be sent back to his ship at Chatham.


The last entry on William’s naval record is in the “If Discharged, Whither and for what Cause” column. It says “Run Lyttleton” from HMS Pioneer on 12 Oct 1912, i.e. he deserted at Lyttleton, New Zealand.


I have searched the local newspaper for the war years which is available digitally at Burgess Hill library for references to William Carey but have found nothing. Throughout the war each week the paper listed a huge number of names of local men serving in the forces, alphabetically by village and town. His name is not there. (His brother does not appear either though his army record survives, neither is my husband’s grandfather, he was orphaned as a child so there were no proud parents to pass his name to the press). The “Roll of Honour” website claims he served with the Surrey Regiment but gives no evidence for this and I believe that may refer either to Bertie Carey who is demonstrably a different man or to the William Carey who served with 1st Bn Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment) regtl no 9444 who was presumed to have died on 12 April 1916 according to the UK Army Register of Soldiers Effects, but was later found to be alive, and was a prisoner of war as noted on his medal card.


I have looked at every William Carey, W Carey or any other Carey with W and another initial in any of the services from any country on the CWGC site and eliminated them as they are too old, too young, have differently named parents or were born in another country (The UK Army Register of Soldiers Effects was also very useful.)


I have no idea what happened to him after 1912. Sometimes I even wonder if he died in WW1 at all, and as he had disappeared in 1912 may have got onto our Roll of Honour purely on the assumption by his family that he had died in the war. His father had died in 1908, mother in 1928. His brother has a WW1 service record, he was married but his only daughter died (unmarried) in 2004, so there are unlikely to be relatives who might know.

I have found a William Carey on a crew list on the ship “Port Lincoln” as a 28 yr old Able Seaman born Sussex from Port Pirie, South Australia sailing to Sydney NSW 28 May 1917, which might be him, (bit would give a birth date of c1889) and have looked at the NZ Papers Past website and Australian newspapers on Trove without any conclusive sightings.


Newspaper report of death found, see below. I will leave all the steps I took in my research in eliminating other William Careys though.

Link to my Ancestry tree for William Carey

Last edited by Jill; 02-09-18 at 10:54.
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Old 07-09-15, 05:57
Jill Jill is offline
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These are the men I believe I have eliminated:

CAREY, W , Sgt 53500, 1/8 Middx Regt, d 24 Aug 1918, bur Douchy les Ayettes, reason eliminated: mother’s name Catherine.

CAREY, W, Rifleman 5/8366 Rifle Brigade, died c 24 Aug 1916, bur Vermelles Brit Cemetery, reason eliminated: mother Ann, bro Patrick, sis Mary

CAREY, W, Pte 93835, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, d 18 Oct 1918, bur Tincourt New British Cemetery, reason eliminated: father John.

CAREY, William James, Pte G/69178, Royal Fusiliers, d 22 Nov 1917, bur Fleshquieres Brit Cemetery, reason eliminated: 2nd name James, widow Jane

CAREY, Walter, Rifleman 592576, London Regt Royal Irish Rifles, d 9 Nov 1918, bur Croydon, reason eliminated: mother Mary E

CAREY, W, Lieut, London Regt, d 29 Dec 1917, bur Jerusalem, reason eliminated: unlikely to be an officer

CAREY, William Cross, Company Sgt Maj, Roy Inniskilling Fusiliers, d 27 Apr 1916, reason eliminated: distinctive middle name

CAREY, William Henry, pte 17250, Durham Light Infantry, d 23 Oct 1918, bur Cross Ros Cemetery, reason eliminated: 2nd forename, widow Margaret

CAREY, William, Cpl 15614, Kings Own Royal Lancs, d 2 Mar 1916, memorial Menin Gate, reason eliminated: mother Martha

CAREY, William John, L/cpl 22156, Welsh Regt, d 9 May 1915, memorial LeTouret, reason eliminated: mother Eliza, & middle name

CAREY, William Reginald, Pte 1249, Australian Infantry, d 1 May 1915, bur Shrapnel Valley, reason eliminated: born Australia, & too old born c1880

CAREY, William Michael, Pte 3023, Australian Infantry, d 13 Oct 1917, bur Nine Elms British Cemetery, reason eliminated: b Australia, 2nd forename

CAREY, William Vincent, Lieut Canadian Infantry, d 30 Sep 1916, bur Sunken Road Cemetery, reason eliminated: Canadian, officer, 2nd name

CAREY, WJ, Pte 93925, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, d 8 Nov 1918, bur Dourlers Communal Cemetery, reason eliminated: Welsh, 2nd name

CAREY, William, Battery Sgt Maj 28089, RFA, d 16 Apr 1918, bur Cockill RC Cem, reason eliminated: Irish, aged 46 too old

CAREY, William David, Pte 15938, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, d 8 May 1915, bur Hop Store Cemetery, reason eliminated: too old, born Walmer, Kent, father in army

CAREY, William Francis Henry, Sgt RMA/7425, Royal Marine Artillery, d 13 Dec 1918, bur Portland RN Cemetery, reason eliminated: Irish, additional names, too old

CAREY, William Hardacre, Gunner 63720, Australian Field Artillery, d 16 Oct 1918, bur Sutton Veny, reason eliminated: , b in Australia, father HH Carey

CAREY, William Daniel, Pt 36699, Royal Fusiliers, d 28 Apr 1917, bur Abbeville, reason eliminated: too old, born c1881

CAREY, William George Thomas, Pte 36835, Wilts Regt, d 1 Sep 1918, bur Vis en Artois, reason eliminated: too young born c 1899

CAREY, William Henry Edward, Sgt 202761, Royal Berks Regt, d 15 Mar 1918, bur Ham British Cemetery, reason eliminated: middle names, too old born c1876

CAREY, William James, AS J/8887, Royal Navy, d 31 May 1916, on Portsmouth Naval memorial, reason eliminated: too young, born c 1895

CAREY, WC, Driver 83384, RFA, d 22 May 1917, bur Sunken Road Cemetery, reason eliminated: too young, born c1896

CAREY, William, Sgt 9670, East Yorks, d 31 Mar 1916, on Menin Gate memorial, reason eliminated: too young born c1893, father Thomas

CAREY, William, L/cpl 1396, Monmouthshire Regt, d 6 Jul 1916, on Thiepval memorial, reason eliminated: Welsh, on war memorial at Usk

CAREY, W, L/9444, Royal West Surrey Regiment, reason eliminated: ALIVE, was prisoner of war

CAREY, William, Pte 3/3326, Kings Own Yorks, d 1 Jul 1916, bur Blighty Valley Authuille Wood, effects to widow Annie, reason eliminated: married Annie 1905
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Old 07-09-15, 08:12
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I looked at the records of the men either side of William in the records where he said he was born in Brighton. Of the four I looked at (two before and two after) only the last one (the second one after William - Archibald Mills) seemed to have a bona fide birthplace and date that fitted with a birth reg and census records. Maybe I just didn't try hard enough, but just thought I'd mention it!
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Old 07-09-15, 12:25
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Thanks Merry, I just wanted to give him a slap when I found he had deserted!
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Old 16-03-17, 19:30
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I have at last found his birth registration using the new GRO facility to search using mother's maiden name - March quarter 1888 Cuckfield 2b 161. Free BMD has transcribed the district as Cockermouth and has the wrong volume number.

A visitor who came to record the memorial board has today suggested that William Carey may have enlisted under an alias.
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Old 02-09-18, 10:51
Jill Jill is offline
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Now that Find My Past have the Mid Sussex Times I have found a newspaper report 11 Jan 1916 which I failed to find at the library which states:

"News was brought to the Mid Sussex Times Offices yesterday (Monday) that Private W. Carey, of the New Zealand Infantry, who was known to many locally, was killed in action on the Gallipoli Peninsula about September last. His age was 27.

So far I have found nothing under his name on the CWGC, so it looks as if he may well have used an alias.

I will be looking for his NZ records at some point, I'm just about to leave for a commemoration for one of his schoolfellows who won the VC, an apt day to tie up the last of the loose ends.

Last edited by Jill; 02-09-18 at 10:58.
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Old 02-09-18, 14:10
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If you do a search on CWGC site for New Zealand Infantry who died Aug-Nov 1915 at Gallipoli (no name) there is only one match, perhaps suggesting that some of the other information in the newspaper is incorrect.
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Old 02-09-18, 16:28
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Thanks Merry, the report sounds a little vague doesn't it. I know he jumped ship from the Royal Navy in NZ in 1912 and the report does at least associate him with NZ forces. More work to do here when I get time.
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