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I used this search to locate this record in the 1921 census:

enter image description here

I am specifically interested in this entry because it says Army. I looked a little more at the article The British Army overseas in 1921 and it does state:

The British Army overseas in 1921 is now easy enough to find. Findmypast has comprehensively indexed the 1921 census of England & Wales and also produced a handy table showing the various worldwide locations – which includes Ireland and the Channel Islands – where the British Army was stationed.

I know that my wife's late grandfather was born in Peshawar, Bengal, India in 1914 as I have his birth certificate. His father:

  • William Henry Baker
  • Private No. 8187
  • 1st Royal Sussex Regiment

I know that I could just purchase the image for £3.50 but I wondered if anyone knew if these Army 1921 Census records included the soldiers number? As that would really be the only way for me to identify if he was my wife's great grandfather.

I see there are several pieces for India:

  • 28116: India
  • 28117: India
  • 28118: India
  • 28119: India
  • 28120: India
  • 28121: India
  • 28122: India
  • 28123: India
  • 28124: India

I tried to find out what information these records would include. I appreciate any clarification.


Background Info

I did ask a question some years ago (Verify facts about military service and use of alias) about him. The answers there are useful because they qualify his military activity.

2 Answers 2

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I do not have a specific answer for the 1921 census, but prior censuses (e.g. 1911 census) that I have seen did not usually include the service number. However, in prior censuses I have found it will usually show the regiment, which could be useful to identify your man.

If trying to narrow down a search it is usually fairly straightforward to determine the piece number, without purchasing the record. In this case you knew he was in the Army, so possible piece numbers can be found in 1921 Census - British armed forces overseas. It is then a simple matter of using the Advanced Search to search by piece number. You will find William Henry Baker in piece 28133.

Looking at the piece number list above:

Piece Branch of service Region Specific places
28133 Army Ireland Carrickfergus, Athlone, Curragh, Belfast, Newbridge, Boyle, Castlebar, Ballinasloe, Kildare.

So this William Henry Baker was in Ireland, not India at that time.

Now if we make an assumption, a big assumption, that your William Henry Baker was still in the army and still serving in the same regiment, we can search to see where the 1st Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment might have been in 1921. There are a number of possible places that might have this information so I just started with a quick Google search to see if anything quickly came up. Looking at the National Archives Catalogue there is a nice summary of the regiment's movements under Records of the Royal Sussex Regiment:

During the inter-war period the 1st Battalion concluded seventeen years of service in India, and in 1920 joined the Army of the Rhine at Cologne. The Battalion served in Northern Ireland in the early 1920s, and occupied home stations between 1926-1936, performing Public Duties in London in 1932, before embarking for Palestine towards the end of 1936.

Based on this, it still looks possible this is your man. I think it would be well worth the £3.50 to see if there is any more useful information.

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  • +1 Thanks for this informative clarification and the assurance about the 1st Battalion. I went ahead to purchase this census entry and confirm that this man was in this Battalion. It says that he was a Drummer in the Army Infantry. I find it significant that he is "Married" as opposed to all the others who are marked as "Single". Also, it says that he has 3 children (1yr, 3yr and 7yr). That latter (7yr) would work out with my wife's grandfather as he was born in 1914. Message continues .... Jun 26 at 19:52
  • I do have in the tree a sibling for my wife's grandfather "George Harry Baker". On my tree he is indicated as born in about 1920 in Brighton. So that would fit too. It just leaves the 7yr old that I know nothing about. Since he was serving in Peshawar, India it took me a long time to isolate her grandfather as it is. 😊 I will have to research. But I think this is indeed him. Jun 26 at 19:55
  • Based on all of this I think I have now found his GRO for Birth (1885, QTR 1, STEYNING, 02B, 310, BUDD). His name there is William Harry Baker, and I understand Harry / Henry to be interchangeable. Jun 26 at 20:12
  • In-fact, on my wife's' grandfathers marriage certificate, he does say his dad was William Harry. Thanks very much for your links about the Battalion movements etc. Very helpful. Looks like it all fits. Jun 26 at 20:27
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The army number was not required to be included, but I have seen at least one return (for the Middlesex Regiment on Army of Occupation duties in Cologne) where it has been.

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