Herbert Alfred Vayro a Soldier in Two Regiments
In November 2014 http://www.findmypast.com had a special event for the centennial of World War One. So taking advantage of this, always keen to save money, I did some searching of their databases and extracted many Vayro individuals who had served in both the Great War and World War Two. These were checked against some others already extracted from http://www.ancestry.com and I was able to make a list of 28 named Vayro relatives who served.
In the middle of the list there were two entries which were a little confusing, for what appeared to be two Vayro soldiers, both born in Leeds in 1885. I had discovered two records that could be the same individual. It appeared that he had joined two different regiments in World War One. So the question I raised was "How could one person be in two Regiments at the same time, and with two distinct army numbers?"
HERBERT VAYRO 4244 Born 1885
DUKE OF WELLINGTON'S WEST RIDING REGIMENT
3/5 th Battalion Aged 30 in 1915 LEEDS
HERBERT VAYRO 4895 Born 1885
2/4 th Battalion Aged 31 LEEDS
As usual I raised the issue with colleagues on the Upper Dales Family History Group and Guild of One Name Studies Forums asking if anyone could confirm one way or the other if these two are records were for the same individual, and hazard a guess at the circumstances behind Herbert's "joining up" twice. One theory put forward was that "It might be that he was rejected after his first signing on as unfit for military service? Then re-applied and was accepted a second time but to a different regiment"
It turns out that that suggestion may not be far from the truth. Another colleague posted back an alternative after examining Herbert's Service Records:-
"The first record is when he served in the West Riding regiment and evidence shows that he was discharged after 61 days as being medically unfit and unlikely to make an efficient soldier. Herbert's character was marked as only fair which suggests he must have been a naughty boy, and probably on several occasions. The other gradings being used would be Exemplary (which would have meant that there were no entries on his Company or Regimental Conduct Sheet and he had served for more than six years) Very Good, Good and Poor."
"It is quite likely that he sought to re-enlist in 1916, either because of peer pressure or perhaps the medical problem abated. He should have declared his previous service on re-enlistment."
As colleagues know a lot of our research is "guesstimation" it is very useful when a colleague who has much more military knowledge can confirm some details direct from military records. Extra material was found that helped resolve the issue.
"Looking at http://www.findmypast.com these items seem to be for a Herbert Alfred Vayro 1885-1918 and I note that these are territorial forces discharges. The 1915 discharge as medically unfit after 61 days service in September 1915. It also says that he was not likely to become an efficient soldier. Discharged Huddersfield his discharge address is shown as Hunslet, which is in Leeds. The 1916 discharge as medically unfit ( no longer physically fit for war service) after 162 days service on 9th February 1917 On this second occasion he was shown as discharged in York and his discharge address is shown as Leeds. Taking this into consideration and with his death recorded July to September Qu. in 1918 age 33 suggests that he was not a well man and It may not be a coincidence that re-enlistment was almost exactly one year later."
Baptism Entry for Whitkirk St Mary’s for Herbert Alfred Vayro February 3rd 1885
Parents William Vayro and Mary Ann
Central Record Office entry for a death of Herbert A Vayro aged 33 in Leeds area
CRO Death entry for Herbert Alfred Vayro February 3rd 1885
All this information added to the dossier that I had on Herbert Alfred Vayro, with much assistance from members of Goons and UDFHG. Interestingly enough I suspected that Herbert had a middle name, and I have three records for other Alfred Vayro s, but all with different service numbers to Herbert. Another piece of the jigsaw picture regarding Herbert is now in place, or at least coming into focus, and it would appear that Herbert Alfred Vayro was probably seriously ill before he joined up in July 1915. Or certainly he was taken ill very shortly after his attestation papers were signed.
When history shows that thousands of British Soldiers were slaughtered in the early years of WW1 perhaps it is possible that in desperation the Services were prepared to accept anybody, even those not fully fit. Herbert is shown as serving periods of 61 days and 162 days but much of that time he was on " home leave " or in hospital. There is also no mention in his records of actually serving any time in France or Belgium. What I also find interesting is that his age is shown on enlistment, but nowhere could I find his date of birth on his official service records, though I know this to be 1885.
So digging a little further I found his father was William Vayro, and there is a William Squires and Mary Anne Kettlewell that had a son called Herbert in 1885. William Squires was the son of William Vayro and Elizabeth Berry. So Herbert's ancestry can be linked to my own in that William Vayro and Elizabeth Berry were my Great-Great Grandparents.
I have two other Herbert Vayro on my database:-
1864 Son of Abraham Vayro and Elizabeth Bright of Sedgefield
1882 Son of John Varo and Hannah Harker of Leeds
But I feel absolutely certain that Herbert Alfred Vayro (baptised Feb 3rd 1885 at Whitkirk)
is the correct Herbert and was the son of William Squires Vayro and Mary Anne Kettlewell, who lived in Hunslet near Leeds. Apart from the evidence from the 1911 Census where Herbert is shown as aged 26 and living with his parents it also shows him as NOT MARRIED on the second set of Attestation Papers when he joined the Northumberland Fusiliers. Another fact is that Herbert's Grandfather William is known to have died in Hunslet Leeds in January 1907 but was actually buried at East Witton on January 30 th 1907.
West Riding Regiment Attestation
Northumberland Fusiliers Attestation
Delving into http://www.findmypast.com there is a record of a marriage for Herbert Alfred Varo to Alice Ann Norman on 1 st June 1903, but this turned out to be the son of John and Hannah born 1882 mentioned above. Their marriage took place in Burmantofts, St Stephens, in Leeds. There is also a 1911 Census sheet for this family Herbert Alfred Varo aged 29, his wife Alice aged 29, and children Alice aged 7 and John Alfred aged 5 at Sutherland Terrace in Leeds. So my theory is that the original Herbert Alfred Vayro, who had enlisted twice in different regiments in WW1, died in Leeds in 1918 and was 33 as shown previously. Meanwhile another Herbert Alfred Varo (note the missing Y) had been born 3 years earlier, married and had two children and I think died in 1955.
After receiving several images extracted from ancestry.com for Herbert's WW1 Service Records, there is a mass of evidence showing his very poor state of health, which in turn led to his premature death in 1918. Part of his Attestation Papers, Army form E501, show a Herbert Vayro, army number 4244 joining the Fifth West Riding regiment. He enlisted on 10 th July 1915 at Huddersfield, and was Living at 20 Roylton Place, Hunslet, in Leeds. His attestation was witnessed by A Richardson.
Another Army form (Discharge form B268a) for the Territorial Force, show a Private H Vayro of the 3/5th West Riding Regiment A Company, discharged at age 30 years 4 months. A few personal details were:- Height 5'7", 34 ½" chest, dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair. His profession was Farmer of 20 Royston Place, Hunslet, Leeds. Discharged " Being medically unfit and not likely to become an efficient soldier " under King's Regs. Para 392-3c. The record did show he had completed only 61 days of service, signed by H Lowther Lt Col. 3/5th Battalion and Witnessed by S Dugdale. To support this Medical History, Form B178(1) showed Herbert Vayro as part of the 2/4 Northumberland Fusiliers with Herbert at home from 10 th July 1915 to 8 th September 1915 a total of 61 Days total. Army Form B 2513 part of his second set of Attestation Papers labelled Record of Service showed
Herbert Vayro army number 4895 joining the Second/Fourth Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers
Signed up for a second time on 12 th September 1916, aged 31 years 9 months, labourer, and NOT MARRIED. This time the attestation was witnessed by Dixon Hall.
A "Report on Joining" for Herbert Vayro (4895) of the Second/Fourth Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers showed William Vayro as father and next of kin. Home campaign 12 th September 1916 to 9 th February 1917, Herbert is deemed to have enlisted 2 nd March 1916, and served 162 days total. He was called up for Service and Posted 12 th September 1916, stamped Territorial Force York, discharged 9 th February 1917, " Being no longer physically fit for war service ". A report from Ripon Hospital dated 13 th November 1916 to 27 th December 1916 for Herbert Vayro identified "FIBROMA of the neck " Notes received from Leeds show that part of the tumour was removed there on 9 th August 1915. Pathologically it was found to be a hard fibroma too extensive and at that time bled freely. There was also an entry for November 27th. Ether and considerable piece of impenetrating fibroma removed, free bleeding.
Bath War Hospital report dated 8 th January 1917 to 23 rd January 1917 for Herbert Vayro showed " CARCENOMA of the neck" and " Invalided as permanently unfit" . Coupled with this a Medical History Form B178(2) recorded " Marks indicating congenital deformities show gland in neck and slight glue Valfusion" on September 12 th 1915 and stamped B1(One) dated 27th January 1917. There is no indication that the Fibroma in his neck was caused by an accident in army drill exercises or actual war combat, (if indeed Herbert ever left England), or even during farming work prior to enlistment and these reports suggest that the tumour was very extensive. He obviously tried very hard to "do his bit for the country" but within a year of this final hospital report, Herbert had passed away.
This all turned out to be an interesting piece of research but I think this is probably as far as I shall take Herbert's particular branch of the Vayro or Varo Ancestry. However whilst doing the research I have confirmed from my own searches of Findmypast.com that my grandfather Thomas had definitely enlisted in 1908, but whilst most Vayro individuals serving in WW1, including my Grandfather Thomas, were born in the 1880s there were two James Vayro from the list of 28 whose attestation papers showed 1896 and 1895 both aged 18.
James Vayro (S/No 3818) who had joined the 3 rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment was born 1878 at Gilling, Richmond Yorkshire, and turned out to be my Grandfather's bother whose attestation papers show 4 th August 1896 aged 18. and James Vayro (S/No 5739) of the 3 rd Battalion Manchester Regiment, was born in Hulme, Manchester, and his attestation papers show 20 th September 1895 aged 18. I can only assume both had joined the regular Army rather than the one of the territorial regiments. There were also three other James Vayro in the records that I felt worthy of note:-
James Vayro (SN 96081 AIR 79/871) is shown in the Royal Air Force Muster Rolls for 1918. He had enlisted on the 14 th September 1917 aged 47 (Born 1870) and other details showed he was in the Royal Flying Corps as Air Mechanic 3 rd Class and 3 rd Acting Major. He was discharged 2 nd April 1918 and was awarded the Silver War Badge no. 346689 for 1914-1918.
James William Vayro (S/No 5807/295494) who was born 1891 in Wattlefield, Norfolk was a Gunner in the 149 th Heavy battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. He had enlisted on 30 th October 1915 aged 24 and was discharged 27 th July 1917 under Para 392 (xvi) Kings Regs - Sickness, but mentioned in the Silver War Badge Rolls 1914-1918, granted 18 th July 1917
The final James Vayro (S/No 48227) had joined the Northumberland Fusiliers, in particular the 27 th Battalion Tyneside Irish. He was born in 1882 and died in the Western European Theatre of War on 9 th April 1917, aged 35. He is buried at the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais. There is a memorial for him in the local church at Thornton Watlass, in lower Wensleydale.