Short Service Record – No. 8211, Robert Norry Wilson!

A “Twist of Fate” that led me back in time to Burt, Co. Donegal…

Born in 113 Creggan Road, Londonderry on 7 Aug 1887, Robert Norry Wilson was my great grand uncle.  He was one of thirteen children born to Thomas Wilson and Margaret Jane Norry, my 2nd great grandparents.  I knew very little about Robert until recently when I started to research the rather unusual family name of Norry!

Robert Norry Wilson

In 1901, at the age of 14, Robert was living in 68 Creggan Road.  The 1911 census however showed no trace of him.  After exhausting several avenues, and researching many Robert Wilsons, I came across a “Short Service” Record and 1911 Military Census for yet another Robert Wilson.  This time it was the correct one!  On 9 Jan 1905 Robert joined the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers by signing the Short Service Attestation and the “Oath to be taken by Recruit on Attestation” in Omagh.  The record shows he was a carpenter by trade, born in Londonderry and was 18 years and 5 months old!  The record also indicated that Robert was a man of smaller stature standing at 5’ 6 ¼”, 120lbs; with a “fresh complexion”, hazel eyes and dark brown hair.  It was noted that Robert had some “distinctive marks”, tattoos and a “ring device” on the middle finger of his left hand.  The documents also confirmed that his “Next of Kin” were Thomas and Margaret Wilson of 113 Creggan Road and Thomas Wilson (my great grandfather) of 22 Lewis Street, Londonderry.

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

His service was to be short lived… on 28 Jan 1905, nineteen days after he enlisted, the Statement of Service of No. 8211 – Robert Wilson noted that for the sum of £10 he was “Discharged by Purchase”!  At this point in time it’s unclear why Robert was discharged.  Was it because he was underage, or did he change his mind about serving in only nineteen short days?  I’m leaning towards him being underage – unfortunately, it’s something I’ll never know for sure!

Statement of Services Discharge

One very faded, short sentence on Robert’s “Statement of Services” read: “Certified that a refund of £5.00 Purchase Money was paid to Mrs. Eliza Wilson, Burt, Co. Donegal by the Regimental Accountant, Belfast”!  This was the first time that I had one of my Wilson Crooked Branches lead directly back to Co. Donegal!  Once again… my Christmas had come early!  Since this discovery I’ve “unearthed” many more of my Wilson and connected families in Burt, Co. Donegal, including burial records for Thomas Wilson (my great grandfather) showing that he was born in Burt, Co. Donegal, however, that’s a story for another time.  Not to be deterred… on 12 Nov 1907 Robert once again enlisted in the military.  The Certificate of Primary Military Examination revealed that Robert was “fit for service in the Royal Regiment of Artillery (Royal Garrison Artillery)”.  On 2 Sep 1911 in Cornwall, England, witnessed by James Harte and Kate Prime; Rev. Wood joined Robert Norry Wilson and Mary Nicholl in marriage.  On 30 May 1912 Mary gave birth to their daughter Eileen.  Yet another Twisted Limb for me to research further.

Royal Regiment of Artillery

Robert retired on 11 Nov 1919 after 12 years of service.  His final Statement of Service showed Robert’s character as “Exemplary – A sober, honest, reliable hardworking N.C.O”.

He returned to 7 North Street, Londonderry where remained, with his wife Mary, until his death on 25 July 1964.  He is interred at the Derry City Cemetery with his wife and many of his extended family. I am so grateful for Robert’s “Discharge by Purchase” and the twist of fate that led me back to my Wilson’s in Burt, Co. Donegal.  One tiny piece of information has helped unearth many more of my Co. Donegal ancestors!

About CJ Murdoch

Genealogy: Looking For "Dead People"! My Journey Back In Time - Tracing my ancestors and researching the counties, cities and towns where they resided. Taking a “Glimpse” into their lives and stories and the times in which they lived; all in an effort to learn about their “Dash”! “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning – to the end. He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the second with tears, but he said that what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.” I have always been interested in researching my family tree and “hanging out” in cemeteries. Like most of us... I didn't ask enough questions when elderly family were still living. Oh, what I would give for 24 hours and a camera with my ancestors… just to sit and listen! I'm researching many family lines, including: Murdoch, Wilson, Berry, Love, Scott, Beattie/Beatty, Hendren, Sweeney, Robinson and Elvin; just to name a few. My families are predominantly from counties Antrim, Donegal and Londonderry. However, it seems that many of my family, both maternal and paternal lines "hailed" from Co. Donegal. I was born and raised in Northern Ireland and now live in Ottawa, Canada, making frequent trips back home to visit with my family. Of course those visits also include treks to the many burial grounds of my ancestors. My most recent trip back home was the summer of 2014! If you are interested in help tracing your ancestors I’d love to hear from you!
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9 Responses to Short Service Record – No. 8211, Robert Norry Wilson!

  1. Dara says:

    Wonderful CJ, it is always rewarding when an unexpected detail, easily missed, leads back to your direct ancestral trail.

    Like

    • CJ Murdoch says:

      It is Dara, it’s taken me over a week to get around to writing the blog… just because I continued for find more ancestors. As I’m sure you know it becomes rather addictive! 🙂 Thanks for reading… I’m heading over to check out your blog! Colleen

      Like

  2. Amy says:

    It often seems to happen that way—you look for one thing about one person, and you learn a lot of things about others as well.

    Like

    • CJ Murdoch says:

      So true Amy! It’s been quite an exciting journey for me in finding my Wilson’s somewhere other than Londonderry. I’ve also discovered that my 2nd great grandmother Norry (family surname) and family are also from Co. Donegal. Looks like they originated in Co. Tyrone; so, another “crooked branch” to follow! Thanks for taking the time to read! Colleen

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looking for any information on a mary o’donnell who was born in donegal about 1920. Mary came to glasgow and gave birth to my dad michael john o’donnell in 1939.

    Like

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