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Harry Marfleet


  Harry Marfleet, son of Henry Marfleet a Corporal in the Royal Artillery, was born at Ahmednuggar, India, in 1869.

Ahmednuggar was where the 7th Battery of the 14th Bn of the Royal Artillery were stationed. In December 1869 the 14th Bn. of RA had batteries spread all over India (bar D Battery at Leith Fort). The 'A' (or 1st Bty) were stationed at Bangalore, 'B' at Secunderabad, 'C' at Kamptee, 'E' at Deolali, 'F' at Nasirabad, 'G' at Ahmednuggar and 'H' at Ahmedabad. The whole Battalion sailed back to England and took up station at Woolwich in 1870. Father Henry died there on the 12th September 1871. His death was registered during the third quarter of 1871 in the district of Woolwich.

The 1881 Census (RG11/0079f89) taken on the night of the 2nd April, shows that Harry was an 11 year-old scholar at the Royal Military School at Chelsea.

Public Record Office records (WO97/3422) show that Harry followed in his father's footsteps. On the 9th November 1883 he underwent a Primary Medical Examination at the AM Asylum, Chelsea and at a Final Medical Examination held in London the following day, the Approving Medical Officer considered him fit and approved him for the Army. Enlisted by special authority quoted as '27 Boys U. 566. 3 Nov 1883', Harry joined the Royal Artillery at Fort Rowner, Gosport, on the 14th November 1883, and was given the number 39841. He was 14 years of age when he joined up as a 'Boy' and his 'Trade or Calling' was that of a laundry boy. He was described as being 4' 7-5/8" in height, carried a weight of 81lbs, a chest measurement of 27-1/2", a fresh complexion with blue eyes and fair hair. His physical development was described as 'good' and he had four vaccination marks in the left arm. He had a scar on the nose and a scar on the right eyebrow.

On the 30th November 1883, Harry gained a 2nd Class Certificate of Education.

Harry served as a Boy until the 13th February 1884 (96 days) and on the 14th he was appointed as Trumpeter. He was granted GC Pay of 1d on the 10th November 1885 and continued as a trumpeter until the 19th July 1888 (4 years 157 days).

For the period of 2 years and 321 days between 10th November 1883 and 26th September 1886, Harry was based at 'Home' - at Gosport from the 14th November 1883, then at Portsmouth from the 27th February 1884 and at Dover from the 1st April 1884. From the 18th until the 20th of July 1886, Harry spent three days in hospital with 'Blisters of Feet'.

On the 27th September 1886 he set sail on H.M.S. 'Himalaya' and arrived in Bermuda on the 18th October that same year. Whilst in Bermuda, Harry had an accident whilst off duty. He was 26 days in hospital, from the 3rd March until the 28th March 1888, suffering from a dislocation of the right carpus (injury to wrist on the 2nd May 1888 whilst not on duty). A Court of Enquiry looked into the cause of the accident and concluded that is was "Complicated by what was probably a longitudinal splitting of lower end of Radius. Utility of joint slightly impaired will probably quite recover".

Harry arrived back in Woolwich on the 11th July 1888 and Harry was transferred as a driver (No. D.91752) to the 2 B'de F.A. on the 20th July 1888. He arrived in Coventry on the 28th August the same year.

Service reorganisation meant that this Brigade became the 30th Field Arty on the 1st July 1889 and Harry continued as a driver. On the 10th November 1889 he was granted GC Pay at 2d. A posting on the 1st December 1889 to the 1/1 Dep was as a driver.

On the 18th February 1890 embarked on H.M.S. 'Crocadile' bound for India. As a 20 year-old lad he was now returning to the land of his birth. Landing in India on the 20th March 1890 it took him another two weeks to reach Mooltan where he arrived on the 3rd April.

When on the 18th December 1890 Harry transferred to the 28th he was still as a driver. He arrived in Karachi one the 19th January 1891 but it would seem the climate did not agree with him. During the next four months he spent a total of 70 days in hospital.

Harry spent two periods in hospital in 1891 with an inflamation of 'Ingl' Glands, from 5th January until the 21st (16 days) and from 1st April until 6th April (5 days) before going down with Enteric Fever which hospitalised him for another 39 days from the 6th April until the 14th May.

Harry then went to Ghizree, possibly for convelescence. He arrived there on the 14th May 1891 but was back in Karachi a month later on the 15th June. During this time there was 'No Admission' to hospital.

In just over two months he is back in hospital with what can politely be described as a 'soldier's complaint', from 17th August 1891 until the 29th (14 days).

On the 15th December 1891 Harry embarked on H.M.S. 'Euphrates' for the journey home. Christmas that year was spent at sea. He arrived at Shorncliffe on the 11th January 1892 and was back in Woolwich on the 3rd August 1892.

The 3rd August 1892 saw him transferred as a gunner to the RA Regtl Dist Staff. No reason is given for a forfeit of 1d GC Pay on the 25th August 1892. Ten weeks later, on the 1st November 1892, Harry is transferred as a gunner to the Adj's Detach: S of Guny RA, but his health is now deteriorating. On the 23rd November he is hospitalised at Shoeburyness, the beginning of a 127 day stint, and he is eventually discharged from hospital on the 29th March 1893.

Harry's GC Pay at 2d was restored on the 28th May 1893. Another 51 days in hospital, from 28th August until 17th October 1893 but the respite is short lived. Back in hospital on the 30th March for 42 days until the 10th May 1894. Harry forfeited 1d again on the 11 May 1894. It is restored to 2d again on the 11th November. Another forfeiture commences on the 7th June 1895. Another 40 day confinement in hospital beginning on the 30th September was only terminated by Harry's discharge from the army. The Surgeon's comment on the 8th November "Time expires today" is very telling. Harry is discharged after 12 years service on the 9th November 1895. His character on being discharged was 'good'.

Harry's intended residence on discharge was recorded as 3 Park Corner, St. Albans, Herts. By what appears to be the same hand that recorded Harry's enlistment in 1883, the name and address of next of kin is recorded as 'Mother Mrs. M. Marfleet Her Majesty Prison St Albans'.

On the 24th December 1898, Harry Marfleet a 29 year-old bachelor and gardener of Cheshunt, married Emma Jane Brundish at the Parish Church of St. Mary, Stratford, Bow. Emma, slightly younger that Harry, gave her age as 26 ans she was a shinster (sic - spinster?) of 21 High Street. She was a daughter of William Brundish, farrier. Witnesses to the marriage were William Brundish and Louisa Grimwood.

Harry died on the 19th February 1910 at 6 Ware Road, Hoddesdon. He was 40 years of age and described as a Painter (Journeyman). The cause of death was Phthisis. Emma Jane remarried on the 4th May 1911 at the Register Office in Ware. At that time she gave her age as 37 years and her residence as Burford Street, Hoddesdon. Her husband was Horace Fearn, a 27 year-old General Labourer who lived in Amwell Street, Hoddesdon. Witnesses to the marriage were CHN(?) Halls and Robert Whitley.

Nothing more is currently known about Mary Ann, Harry's mother.

Grateful thanks to Kevin Asplin for the assistance given in compiling this short history.
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