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    John Robert Series a man who actually never existed


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    I found the following article in a Medal Auction catalog many years ago and kept it, because its worth sharing. Unfortunately no information, who did the research


    Here is an unusual occurrence a WW1 casualty pair and plaque to John Robert Series a man who actually never existed!

    While browsing an auction catalogue I came across a War Medal and Victory Medal pair to 306920 Pte. J.R. Series Royal Warwickshire Regiment together with matching memorial plaque to John Robert Series.

    I checked John out on the CWGC web site and found he was an April 1918 casualty with the 2nd/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, no family or next of kin details where given, no suprise there as they often are not present anyway.

    Except in this case there never would be any next of kin details as John Robert Series technically never existed!

    John Robert Shrimplin was born in West Ham in 1899, his father was Robert John Shrimplin a Fireman on the railways, his mother was Harriet Shrimplin. Tragedy was to strike the Shrimplin family just 12 months later when Harriet died during childbirth, the second son George Leonard Shrimplin survived.

    As a working man with a one year old and a brand new baby it is little suprise that Robert could not cope and had to "give up" his two baby sons to his relations and indeed move in with another brother John and his wife Mary. On the 1899 Census he is described as a 35 year old widower and his occupation is now given as Engine Driver GER.

    What of the 2 babies? John Robert is shown on the 1899 census as living with his Uncle and Aunt George and Lucy SERIES the name he chose to enlist under in September 1914, maybe as a sign of gratitude to his caring aunt and uncle? Or did he believe they were his parents we will never know.

    His service record is available on Ancestry which shows his enlistment in the 4th Battalion of the Hampshire regiment and after 2 years home service his transfer into the 2/8th and ultimately the 2/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

    Then a fantastic find within his service record which started this detective trail

    A letter from his Wife enquiring if the medals of her late husband 306920 J R Series could actually be issued named to John Robert Shrimplin his real name, she is Daisy Frances Caroline Liddiard and had married John on 11.12.1915 in St Peters Brighton. I assume a birth/baptism certificate had to be produced for the marriage to be performed and so she had of course became Mrs Shrimplin.

    The response from the Ministry was to be expected! As John enlisted as J R Series and served as J R Series then his medals would be named John Robert Series.

    So I now knew John's fascinating story and why his medals bore another surname at this point I nearly fell of my chair! The next group listrd in the catalogue I was browsing was:

    A group of three WWI Naval medals, comprising War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914-15 star awarded to K.2692 G. L. Shrimplin Sto. 1. R.N.

    George Leonard Shrimplin was John's infant brother and the surviving child from the death of their mother, I was first of all stunned that they had stayed together especially with the mixed family names and secondly new I had to have both groups.

    Then I started to look a bit more closely at George and immediately discovered how the medals had remained together!

    George Leonard Shrimplin married Ada E Labourn in 1917 in Poplar Middlesex incredibly she died in Childbirth in September 1922, again as so often was the case the child (also Ada) survived. Then in December 1923 George Leonard Shrimplin married Daisy Frances Caroline Shrimplin, his late brothers Widow. Probably the only reason both groups stayed together and sadly it appears only a small respite for both of them as Georges death is recorded in 1929 aged just 39.

    Daisy, well she married again in 1950 one Arthur P Baker and she finally passed away aged 93 in 1981! Some amazing family history and thanks to Ancestry I managed to keep two brothers together.


    Researcher Unknown








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