Wednesday, 20 July 2011

More research into the birth of Kathleen Mary Millington in India

I have previously posted up information concerning the birth of my father's older sister, Kathleen Robinson nee. Millington in India in 1922.

I have Katheen's original birh registration certificate and her baptismal certificate. I also have an electronic copy of the Army Returns birth index for 1922 sourced from the internet.

On the surface, the information in the first two documents is straight forward and consistant with what Kathleen knew about the location of her own birth.

My grandfather William Joseph Millington was stationed in India, he was a private with the 1st Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment and my grandmother Florence was with him as an army wife.

Kathleen was born on 3rd January 1922. The details of her parents were given as above and the birth was registered on the same day. The location of the birth is given as Ahmedabad Maternity, Civil Hospital.

Kathleen's baptism took place at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Ahmedabad on 20th January 1922 . The minister was Rev. P Fernandez (RC Chaplain). Kathleen's Godmother was Sister Baptista. Parents were named as William and Florence Millington, father's profession was Private, Worcestershire and their domicile was Camp, Ahmedabad.

A new question arises though in the Army returns birth index which lists the birth of Kathleen M Millington in 1922 but lists the station as being Nasirabad as opposed to Ahmedebad. This wouldn't be too bad if the two places were close together, but Nasirabad lies in the state of Rajasthan which is many hundreds of miles to the north of Ahmedebad in the state of Gujarat.

Further to this, a search of the history of the 1st Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment shows that in 1919 the regiment left England for India and for three years was stationed in Nasirabad with no mention of Ahmedabad.

Nasirabad is even described as a cantonment town, which basically means a town established either temporarily or permanently as a military base. In 1922 the 1st Battalion moved to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh which is further to the north east of Nasirabad and even further away from Ahmedabad.

My guess is that my grandfather's period of service with the Worcestershire Regiment probably finished in 1922 and the Millingtons returned to Birmingham. My aunty Nance (Kath's older sister) who did not travel with her parents to India recalled to me seeing her infant sister for the very first time, so this recollection would suggest that William and Florence arrived back shortly after Kathleen's birth. A three year term of service in the army would also sound most feasible.  

I guess there is probably no intrigue behind the the differing registration stations on these old records, or nothing that can't be explained by a more in-depth knowledge of the movements of the 1st Battalion around northern India between 1919 and 1922. Information which I don't have at the moment. We do not know for instance if my grandfather was even present for either the birth or baptism of his daughter Kathleen. The whole reason for being in India was after all to presumably serve in conflicts, so it makes sense that wives and families might have been housed in a safe place far away from the front lines or other locations of conflict.

We might therefore surmise that Ahmedabad was a place of security and safety for army families, a huge cosmopolitan city - the home no less of Mahatma Ghandi himself, whereas the northern states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, towards the borders of India with modern day Pakistan to the west and Nepal to the north east were clearly where the action was taking place.

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