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47668 Company Quartermaster Sergeant
HARRY DUNCAN BURNET

Royal Engineers

by

Ó Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis, 2017  

Figure 1.  Company Quartermaster Sergeant Harry Duncan Burnet, R.E.
(Photograph from the s_tomasi Family Tree, Ancestry.com)  

1.  INTRODUCTION  

            Unless otherwise noted, the details supplied in this narrative were obtained from the soldier’s service papers at the Nation Archives, Kew, Surrey or from Ancestry.com web sites.

2.  EARLY LIFE AND FAMILY INFORMATION  

Grandparents

            Harry Duncan Burnet’s grandparents were Duncan and Alice (née Crossley) Burnet.  The 1861 Census of England provides the following data on the Burnet family.[1]

Dwelling: 126 Dock Cottages, No. 45 D Block

Census Place: Parish: Birkenhead.  Town: Birkenhead.  Ecclesiastical Parish: St. James’. 

Source:  1891 Census of England, National Archives File RG12/2896.

Name and Occupation

Relation

Mar

Age

Birthplace

Duncan Burnett
Blacksmith

Head

M

28

Scotland

Alice Burnett

Wife

M

30

Liverpool, Lancashire

Elizabeth
Scholar

Dau

 

6

Scotland

James
Scholar

Son

 

5

Scotland

Margaret

Dau

 

3

Scotland

Alice

Dau

 

1

Birkenhead, Cheshire

             Elizabeth was just an infant when the census was taken in 1861.  Unfortunately she died in that year as will be seen in the list of James Burnet’s siblings provided below.  Also. Elizabeth, aged 6 in 1861, does not appear below in the list of James’ siblings that was taken from the Burnet family tree shown on Ancestry.com (s_tomasi).  No explanation for this discrepancy has been uncovered.  However, in the photo graph below we see Duncan Burnet with three of his oldest children, one of which is Elizabeth.


Figure 2.  From left to right: James, Duncan, Margaret and Elizabeth Burnet.
(Photograph from the s_tomasi Family Tree, Ancestry.com)

Parents

   

Figures 3 and 4.  James Burnet, the Father of Harry Duncan Burnet.
(Photographs from the s_tomasi Family Tree, Ancestry.com)  

            Harry Duncan Burnet’s father was James Burnet (1856 – 1932).  James had been born in Arbroath, Forfarshire, Scotland.  He had quite a number of siblings as shown in the following table.[2] 

Name

Year of Birth

Place of Birth

Year of Death

Margaret

1858

Scotland

1895

Alice

1860

Birkenhead, Cheshire

1861

Harriet

1861

Birkenhead, Cheshire

1949

William Rattery

1864

Birkenhead, Cheshire

1930

John

1866

Birkenhead, Cheshire

?

Alexander

1868

Birkenhead, Cheshire

1935

Alice (*)

1870

Birkenhead, Cheshire

1923

Amelia Ann (+)

1874

Seacombe, Cheshire

?

George Harrison (#)

1876

Seacombe, Cheshire

1907

 NOTES:

(*) A second sister named Alice in place of Alice who died in 1861.

(+) A half-sister.

(#) A half-brother.

            In March of 1880 James married Elizabeth Ogden (1858 - ) at Rochdale, Lancashire.  Harry Duncan Burnet, the son of James and Elizabeth, was born in the town of Seacombe, in the County of Cheshire, on the 25th of November 1880.  James and Elizabeth Burnet divorced in 1890. James subsequently remarried (name of second wife unknown) and had another son, Alexander William, who was born in December of 1894 in Seacombe, Cheshire.[3] 

Figure 4a.  Elizabeth Burnet, the Mother of Harry Duncan Burnet.
(Photographs from the s_tomasi Family Tree, Ancestry.com)
 

Harry Burnet’s name does not appear in the 1881 Census of England; however, his family does appear in the 1891.  In the 1891 census he is noted to be the grandson of the head of the household, Duncan Burnett.[4]  The members of the family were Presbyterians.[5]

Figure 5.  Young Harry and the Burnet Men, Cheshire, England.
(Photograph from the s_tomasi Family Tree, Ancestry.com)[6]

Dwelling: 11 West Seacombe Terrace

Census Place: Civil Parish: Poulton-cum-Seacombe.[7]  Parliamentary Borough: Wirral.  Ecclesiastical Parish: St. Paul’s.  Administrative County: Cheshire.

Source:  1891 Census of England, National Archives File RG12/2896.

Name and Occupation

Relation

Mar

Age

Birthplace

Duncan Burnett
Foreman, Black Smith

Head

M

59

Scotland

Alice Burnett

Wife

M

59

Liverpool, Lancashire

James Burnett
Black Smith

Son

M

35

Scotland

Alice Burnett
School Pupil Teacher

Dau

S

20

Seacombe, Cheshire

Ann Burnett

Dau

S

17

Birkenhead, Cheshire

George Burnett
Engine Fitter

Son

S

15

Seacombe, Cheshire

Harry D. Burnett

Grandson

S

10

Seacombe, Cheshire

Duncan B. Nixon

Grandson

S

6

Seacombe, Cheshire

            The 1891 census indicates that young Harry was living with his grandparents and not with his parents at that time.  This can be attributed to the fact that his father and mother had divorced the previous year and his father became a single parent and probably was not able to care for his 10-year old son without a woman in the house.  He may have moved back into his father’s house after James married his new wife, but there is no information to corroborate this.

Figure 6.  Young Harry Burnet in Fancy Dress, circa 1890.
(Photograph from the s_tomasi Family Tree, Ancestry.com)  

            Harry grew up as a boy in Seacombe and when he was old enough he went out on his own.  As a young man, Harry was a Civil Servant.  He worked as a telegraphist and sorting clerk at the post office in Rock Ferry,[8] Cheshire, a village located on the banks of the River Mersey to the south of Seacombe.  The British Postal Service Appointment Book for 1896 shows him listed as No. 186927, a nominee for the position of a “scanner” in the post office at Liverpool.  At some time between 1896 and 1901 he left Rock Ferry to work in Scotland.

            The 1901 Scotland Census shows that Harry was living on Tonderghie Road in Whithorn, Wigtownshire in southwest Scotland.  He was boarding at that time with the family of Hannah and Janet Donnan and he was working as a sorting clerk and telegrapher in the local post office.  The census shows him as a “visitor” in this household and it is not known whether the Donnans were family friends of the Burnets or whether Harry was just a paying boarder.

            In addition to his work as a Civil Servant, Harry served in the Denbighshire Hussars of the Imperial Yeomanry.[9]  The headquarters of the Denbighshire Hussars was located in Denbigh, Wales, approximately 22 miles due west of Chester.  What is difficult to reconcile regarding his service in the Imperial Yeomanry is how he could have been serving in a unit located in Wales while he was working at a post office in Scotland, or for that matter at a post office in Liverpool.  The time line is confusing.  He would have turned 20 years of age in November of 1898, thus making him eligible or service in the Imperial Yeomanry as a Trooper.[10]  In 1896 he appears to have been working in Liverpool and in 1901 he was working in Scotland.  The 22 miles between Chester and Denbigh seems reasonable, but the distance from Wigtownshire to Denbigh seems to be excessive.     

            A detachment of the Denbighshire Hussars fought in the Boer War and won the battle honour “South Africa, 1900-1901.”  Their dress uniform was blue with scarlet facings and busby bag and a white plume.  Although Burnet would have been 20 years old in 1900 and eligible for service with the regiments during the Boer War, there is no indication in his service papers that he saw active service in South Africa.

Figure 7.  Trooper Harry Duncan Burnet, Denbighshire Hussars, circa 1900.
(Photograph from the s_tomasi Family Tree, Ancestry.com)  

NOTE:  The Royal Warrant of 1899 describes the Imperial Yeomanry uniform as follows: “The men to be dressed in Norfolk jackets, of woolen material of neutral colour, breeches and gaiters, lace boots, and felt hats. Strict uniformity of pattern will not be insisted on.  Harry Burnet’s uniform in Figure 7 above almost meets this description except that the bib front on his uniform is not mentioned in the Royal Warrant.  The fact that so many different uniforms were worn (“strict uniformity of pattern will not be insisted on”) is obvious from the photograph below.  The man seated at the far left on the lower row of chairs is dressed most like Burnet in Figure 7.

 

Figure 8.  A Photograph Showing the Various Uniforms of the Denbighshire Hussars.
(Photograph from The Imperial Yeomanry – Brief History web site)
 

Burnet was discharged from the Denbighshire Hussars after his time expired and prior to enlisting in the Army for service in the Great War of 1914-1918.  His residence when he enlisted in the Royal Engineers was 41 Highfield Road in Rock Ferry, Cheshire; therefore, the time line is somewhat re-established by 1914 where we see him back in Rock Ferry in 1914, presumably working at the post office there again. 

3.  PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
           
The following is a description of Harry Duncan Burnet at the time he enlisted in the Army in 1914:[11]

Declared age:

33 years and 360 days

Height:

5 feet 8-1/8 inches tall

Weight:

129 pounds

Chest measurement (expanded):

35½ inches

Chest measurement (normal):

33 inches

Physical development:

Fair

Complexion:

Fresh

Eyes:

Brown

Hair:

Brown

Distinguishing marks:

None

4.  ENLISTMENT AND TRAINING  

            Harry Duncan Burnet was recruited for service in the Army by Company Sergeant Major F.A. Major, R.E. of the Royal Engineers Postal Service, in early November of 1914.  CSM Major had served in the South African War of 1899-1902 as 443 Corporal F.A. Major, Army Post Office Corps.  The Army Post Office Corps later was later to become the Royal Engineers Postal Service. 

            Burnet was eminently qualified for duty with the Royal Engineers Postal Service because of his civil service work as a telegraphist and postal sorting clerk and this was surely known to the Company Sergeant Major when he recruited him.  Although Burnet was somewhat long in the tooth when he was recruited, his age would not be a hindrance to his performance of duty since he would be well behind the front lines when performing these duties.

            Burnet was given a medical examination at Liverpool by a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps on the 20th of November 1914.  The medical examiner indicated that Burnet had no marks of previous disease and no congenital defects.  His vision was classified as 6/6 in both eyes and it was noted that he had three vaccination marks on his left arm.  These vaccinations were made in infancy.  Burnet declared an unwillingness to be vaccinated again.  After this rather cursory examination, Burnet was found fit for service in the Army.  On this same date, Burnet’s Certificate of Primary Military Examination was issued by the Recruiting Officer, Major C.A. Wheeler, R.E., who found him fit for duty in the Royal Engineers Postal Service.

            The Oath of Attestation was administered to Harry Burnet in London on the 27th of November 1914.  His was a Short Service Attestation for the duration of the war, and he indicated that he was willing to enlist for General Service.[12]

            Burnet’s attestation was certified on the 27th of November by the Attesting Officer, the same Major C.A. Wheeler, R.E. who was his Recruiting Officer.  Major Wheeler also signed the documents as the Approving Officer for Burnet’s attestation. 

On the 28th of November 1914 a recommendation was made on Burnet’s behalf by an officer at the General Post Office in London that Burnet be given a special enlistment in the Royal Engineers Post Service.  This recommendation was based on his being an “excellent postal official” in civilian life and was probably made by his supervisor at the Rock Ferry post office.  On this same date, Burnet was assigned Regimental Number 47668 and the rank of Sapper and was assigned to the Royal Engineer Postal Section under 2nd Lieutenant D.K. Hopkyns, R.E.[13]

5.  ASSIGNMENTS AND CAMPAIGN SERVICE

 

            Because of his special enlistment status, Burnet received no recruit training prior to embarking for service in France on the 3rd of December 1914.  He was essentially thrust into the then existing Army Post Office organization that had been used in the Boer War and had maintained its organization and procedures since that war.  Crabb (1970)[14] gives the following description of the postal operations during the Great War:

“When hostilities commenced in 1914, a contingent of some 300 Royal Engineers, to which the Postal Service was attached, accompanied the British Expeditionary Force to France.  The system was briefly that mail in this country (England) was collected at London then shipped to the Base Army Post Offices at Le Havre, Rouen, Boulogne, and Calais, and then to the various Army Post Offices which were mainly established at Divisional Headquarters, etc., and then by vehicle, or on foot, to the Unit Field Post Offices which were attached to the front line troops.”     

Burnet’s first posting was to the 6th Cavalry Brigade on the 5th of November 1915.            This brigade was commanded by Brigadier General David Graham Muschet Campbell and formed part of the British 3rd Cavalry Division.[15]  This Unit Field Post Office at brigade headquarters level would be the closest that he would come to the front line.

            The 3rd Cavalry Division was in reserve during the winter of 1915/16 and all throughout 1916.  Duty was fairly easy and safe for Burnet and he was able to take 10 days’ leave between the 18th and 27th of November 1916.  Even the great British offensive on the Somme did not involve his division.

            On the 2nd of February 1917 Burnet was reassigned to the headquarters of the 3rd Cavalry Division where he served at the Army Post Office level.  On the 4th of November 1917 he was assigned to General Headquarters.  He was now at the Base Post Office level as described above by Crabb.  Fortunately for Burnet, each posting was taking him further and further away from the front line.  For a 37-year old man with a wife and two children at home, this most have been a blessing considering the slaughter prevalent in the trenches of France and Flanders at the time.

            At some point after his posting to General Headquarters, Burnet was assigned to a Royal Engineers Postal Section with the Italian Expeditionary Force.  Because of his rank (Company Quartermaster Sergeant) he was probably assigned to a Base Post Office level position in Italy.  He left Italy for the United Kingdom on 14 days’ leave beginning the 2nd of June 1918 and returned to his section in Italy on the 16th of June.  After the Armistice Burnet took a further 10 days of leave in Italy.

            For his services during the Great War, Company Quartermaster Sergeant Burnet received the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.  These medals are shown in Figure 9, but the image only is presented here to show what the medals look like.  The medals shown are not Burnet’s medals.  Figure 10 is his medal index card showing that he was indeed awarded these medals.  In addition to indicating the medal roll for the award of each medal, the card shows that he was posted to France on the 3rd of December 1914 and that upon his demobilization from the Army after the Armistice he was assigned to the Class “Z” Army Reserve.[16] 

Figure 9.  The Trio of Medals of the Kind Awarded to CQMS H.D. Burnet.

 

Figure 10.  The Medal Index Card of CQMS Harry D. Burnet, R.E.

            He was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for service in Italy.  The announcement of the award of the Meritorious Service Medal appeared in the Supplement to the London Gazette of the 31st of May 1918 and the 3rd of June 1918.[17]

Figure 11.  The Meritorious Service Medal Awarded to CQMS.  

The citation for his award reads as follows:  

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased on the occasion of His Majesty’s Birthday, to approve the award of the Meritorious Service Medal to the undermentioned Warrant Officer in recognition of valuable services rendered with the Forces in Italy.  

6.  PROMOTIONS AND CONDUCT  

a.                  Promotions:  Harry Duncan Burnet received the following promotions during his time in service:

Date of Promotion or Appointment

Rank or Position

27 November 1914

Attested Sapper

31 October 1915

Appointed to the rank ofUnpaid Acting Corporal

31 October 1915

Promoted to the rank of Corporal

17 October 1917

Promoted to the rank of Sergeant

13 January 1918

Promoted to the rank ofCompany Quartermaster Sergeant

b.  Conduct:  There is no indication of Burnet receiving any Good Conduct Badges or Pay during his time in service.  It may be assumed that his rapid promotion to Sergeant and then to Company Quartermaster Sergeant is a testament to his efficiency in his trade and his good conduct. 

7.      EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATIONS  

a.      Education:  

There is no indication in Burnet’s service papers that he received any Certificates of Education while serving in the Army.

b.      Qualifications:  

Harry Burnet received no training or special qualifications during his time in service.  He entered the Army as a trained telegraphist and postal clerk.  He probably performed these duties initially and then, by virtue of his promotions to the non-commissioned officer ranks, he undertook supervisory rolls in various Postal Sections.

8.  MEDICAL INFORMATION  

            The following medical information was taken from Harry Duncan Burnet’ service records during his time in service:

Location

Date of Admission

Ailment

Period of Hospitalization or Treatment

France

4 August 1915

Unknown

5 days in No. 2 General Hospital

France

16 September 1917

Unknown

4 days in hospital

 Italy

 11 January 1918

Soft Chancre
(VDCS)

37 days in the 37th Casualty Clearing Station and 66th General Hospital

 9.  MARRIAGE AND PERSONAL INFORMATION  

            Harry Duncan Burnet married Emily Sarah Colley[19] in the Presbyterian Church in Rock Ferry, Cheshire on the 24th of July 1905.  The marriage ceremony was performed by the Reverend Charles C. Goodlet, the Minister of the church.  Donald Mc Donald and Jessie Elizabeth Colley were witnesses to the marriage.  The Burnet’s moved into Harry’s house at 41 Highfield Road after the wedding.

            The Burnet’s first child, Ronald Duncan, was born at 13 Highfield Grove in Rock Ferry on the 14th of April 1907.[20]  Their second child, Arthur Wallace, was born at the family home at 41 Highfield Road in Rock Ferry on the 13th of August 1912.[21]

10.  DISCHARGE  

            Company Quartermaster Sergeant Burnet was given a medical examination in Italy on the 4th of March 1919 in preparation for his return home and demobilization.  He made no claim for a service-related disability at the time of his examination.

            Burnet was transferred to the Class “Z” Reserve on the 8th of April 1919.  His total service was reckoned as shown in the tables below:

Location

Period of Service

Home

6 days

France and Italy

4 years and 126 days

Total Service

4 years and 130 days

 11.  POST SERVICE LIFE

            After his demobilization, Harry Burnet returned home to 41 Highfield Road in Rock Ferry, Cheshire.  On the 12th of December 1919 he was issued a Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity and was placed in Medical Category “A.”  In case of a national emergency he was to rejoin the Colours at Chatham, Kent.  Presumably he returned to his duties at the post office in Rock Ferry.  Prior to his death he changed his residence to 37 Kings Road in Bebington, Cheshire.[22]

            Harry’s half-brother, Alexander William Burnet died on the 17th of April 1919 at the age of 38.  His father, James Burnet died on the 18th of July 1932 at the age of 51.

            Harry Duncan Burnet died on the 11th of February 1958 at Clatterbridge General Hospital in Bebington, Wirral, Cheshire.  His will was probated at Liverpool on the 24th of March 1958 to John Lowell Tetlow, solicitor.  His estate was values at £3759 4s. 4d.

ADDENDUM

This addendum present various maps and photographs pertaining to the life and military service of CQMS Harry Duncan Burnet, R.E.


Map 1.  Seacombe, Cheshire, the birthplace of Harry Duncan Burnet. 
This map also shows Liverpool and Bebington, places where Burnet worked and lived during his life.
(Source: Expedia Maps, Microsoft Corp.)


Map 2.  Whithorn, Wigtownshire, Scotland.
The 1901 Scotland Census shows that Harry Duncan Burnet was living on Tonderghie Road in Whithorn in southwest Scotland.  He was boarding at that time with the family of Hannah and Janet Donnan and he was working as a sorting clerk and telegrapher in the local post office.  The census shows him as a "visitor" in this household and it is not known whether the Donnans were family friends of the Burnets or whether Harry was just a paying boarder.  Tonderghie Road is the large road (in yellow) near the arrow.
(Source:  Streetmaps.co.uk)


Map 3.  Rock Ferry, Cheshire.
Harry Duncan and Emily Sarah Burnet lived at 13 Highfield Grove in Rock Ferry when their first child, Ronald, was born on the 14th of April 1907 (see the arrow on the map).  When their second child, Arthur Wallace, was born on the 13th of August 1912 the family was living at 41 Highfield Road (see the black dot on Highfield Road just below Bedford Road).
(Source: Streetmaps.co.uk)


Figure 12.  The Burnet Home at 13 Highfield Grove, Rock Ferry.
They were living at this address in 1907.
(Source: Google Earth Street View)


Figure 13.  The Burnet Home at 41 Highfield Road, Rock Ferry.
They were living at this address in 1912.  Number 41 is the house with the white door and white wall.
(Source: Google Earth Street View)


Map 4.  Denbigh, Denbighshire, Wales.
Before enlisting in the Royal Engineers, Burnet served in the Denbighshire Hussars, an Imperial Yeomanry Regiment with headquarters in the town of Denbigh.
(Source: Expedia Maps, Microsoft Corp.)


Map 5.  The Western Front during the Great War.
Burnet served in a number of Royal Engineers Postal Sections in France and Flanders from December of 1914 to December of 1917.
(Source: Illustrated History of the Great War, © Arthur Banks 1973)


Map 6.  The Italian Front in the Great War
Company Quartermaster Sergeant Burnet served in a Royal Engineers Postal Section with the British Expeditionary Force in Italy from about December 1917 until March 1919.
(Source: Illustrated History of the Great War, © Arthur Banks 1973)


Map 7.  Bebington, Cheshire.
At the time of his death Harry Duncan Burnet was living at 37 Kings Road in Bebington, Cheshire.  The location of that house is just about at the point of the arrow on the map.
(Source: Streetmaps.co.uk)


Figure 14.  37 Kings Road, Bebington, Cheshire.
Harry Burnet was living at this address at the time of his death in 1958.
(Source: Google Earth Street View)


Figure 15.  Clatterbridge General Hospital, Bebington, Cheshire.
Harry Duncan Burnet died in this hospital on the 11th of February 1958.

REFERENCES

 Books

 1. BECKE, A.F.  History of the Great War.  Order of Battle of Divisions.  Part 1 – The Regular British Divisions.  The Sherwood Press Limited, Nottingham, 1934.

 2. JONES, H.W., HOERR, N.L. and OSOL, A. (editors).  Blakiston’s New Gould Medical Dictionary.  McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1941. 

 3. LETTS, C.  Roadbook of Britain.  Charles Letts and Company Limited, London, 1977.

 Census Records

 1.   1861 Census of England, National Archives File RG9/2644.

 2.   1897 Census of England, National Archives File RG12/2896

 3.   1901 Scotland Census, Roll CSSCT1901_444

 4.   1911 Census of England and Wales.

 Family Trees

 1.   AnnHasler13

https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/pt/RequestTreeAccess.aspx?tid=37398807&pid=19088243384

 2.   s_tomasi

https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/1193642/person/-1970182133/facts

 Internet Web Sites

 1.   The Imperial Yeomanry – Brief History

http://www.britishmedals.us/kevin/iyhistory.html

 2.   The Long, Long Trail

http://www.1914-1918.net/reserve.htm  

3.   Cheshire Parishes: Poulton cum Seacombe web site. https://www.ukbmd.org.uk/genuki/chs/poulton2.html

 4.   Cheshire Parishes: Bebington web site. https://www.ukbmd.org.uk/genuki/chs/bebington.html

 Medal Rolls

 1.   Medal Index Card, 47668Company Quartermaster Sergeant Harry D. Burnet, R.E.

2.   British War Medal and Victory Medal Roll, Quartermaster Sergeant Harry D. Burnet, R.E.

3.   Queen’s South Africa Medal Roll, 443 Corporal F.A. Major, Army Post Office Corps.

Official Documents

Royal Warrant dated the 24th of December 1899, raising the Imperial Yeomanry.

Periodicals

 1.      The London Gazette, 31 May 1918.

 2.      The London Gazette, 3 June 1918.

 3.      The Monthly Army List, October 1911.

 4.      The Stamp Magazine, October 1970.

 5.      FENWICK, Simon.  The Army Post Office, 1914-1928.  Extract from The Cologne Post and Wiesbaden Times Christmas Annual 1928.

 Registers

 1.   England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915, January, February and March 1881 [BUR], page 79.

 2.   British Postal Service Appointment Book, 1737-1969 for the year 1896.

 3.   England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915, July, August and September 1905 [BUR], page 52.

 4.   England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005, April, May and June 1948 [BUR], page 148 (Doris L. Davies).

 5.   England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007, January, February and March 1958 [BUR], page 153.

 6.   England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 (1958).

Soldier’s Service Papers

 1. Short Service Attestation Paper, Army Form B. 2505, (For the Duration of the War).

 2. Statement of Services.

 3. Medical History, Army Form B. 178.

 4. Descriptive Report on Enlistment.

 5. Casualty Form – Active Service, Army Form B. 103.

 6. Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity, Army Form Z. 11.

 7. Statement as to Disability.

 8. Application for Special Enlistment of a Recruit, Army Form B. 203.

 9. Troop, Battery and Company Conduct Sheet, Army Form B. 121...

 10. Military History Sheet

 11. Description on Enlistment.

ENDNOTES


[1] 1861 Census of England, National Archives File RG9/2644.

[2] Family tree of s_tomasi on Ancestry.com.

[3] Seacombe is a small village located to the north of Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula, where the River Mersey flows into Liverpool Bay. 

[4] In this census the surname Burnet was spelled Burnett.

[5] Noted in Harry’s service papers.

[6] The family tree names the men from left to right as James, Duncan and perhaps Duncan Nixon Burnet. 

[7] Poulton-cum-Seacombe is a township in Wallasey Parish, Wirral Hundred, which became part of Wallasey civil parish in 1912.  It included the hamlets of Poulton, Lancelyn, Seacombe and Somerville.  In 1901 it had a population of 20,749.

[8] Rock Ferry was a civil parish created in 1894 from part of Higher Bebington, and incorporated into Birkenhead in 1898.  It included the hamlets of Rock Ferry and part of Woodhey and in 1901 had a population of 2,971.

[9] Declared by him in his Great War enlistment papers.

[10] The minimum age for enlistment in the Imperial Yeomanry was 20 and the minimum period of enlistment was for one year.  It seems likely then that Harry Burnet enlisted when he turned 20 years of age and only served for one year.  Source: The Imperial Yeomanry – Brief History.

[11] Burnet’s physical description was taken from his Medical History, Army Form B. 178. 

[12] One may assume from this that Burnet did not specifically ask to serve in the Royal Engineers and would have accepted posting to any regiment, corps or department.

[13] The medals of 2nd Lieutenant (later Major) D.K. Hopkyns are also in the author’s collection.  See http://www.reubique.com/hopkyns.htm.

[14] CRABB, GEORGE.  The British Army Postal Service, 1799-1964.  The Stamp Magazine, October 1970, pp. 63-66.

[15] See Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Campbell_(British_Army_officer).  

Figure 16.  Brigadier General D.G.M. Campbell

 [16] Class Z Reserve was authorized by an Army Order of 3 December 1918. There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities. Soldiers who were being demobilized, particularly those who had agreed to serve "for the duration", were at first posted to Class Z. They returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon. The Z Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920.

[17] This medal is in the author’s collection.  The whereabouts of the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal are not known.

[18] A soft chancre is also known as a chancroid, a lesion produced by an infection with Hemophilus ducreyi, involving the genitalia, usually of venereal origin.  The lesions are, as a rule, multiple and painful, and cause lymph note involvement.  The chancroid is distinct from the hard chancre, the primary lesion of syphilis.

[19] Emily Burnet died in Cheshire in 1953.

[20] Ronald Duncan Burnet died in Cheshire in November 1996.

[21] Arthur Wallace Burnet died at Birkenhead, Cheshire in July 1997.

[22] Bebington and Bromborough was a civil parish created in 1922 by uniting Bromborough, Higher Bebington and Lower Bebington.