My husband Greg had a great grandfather named Henry Dawson (1864 – 1929), who served for a short while in the British Army.

He was born on 30 Jul 1864 in Corby, Lincolnshire, the son of Isaac Dawson and Eliza Dawson née Skerrit. Henry had a twin brother, Charles, and at least seven other siblings. 

In the 1881 census Henry, then 16, and his twin brother Charles, both agricultural labourers, were recorded as residents of The Terrace, Corby.  On the night of the census their parents and other members of the family were away from home.

On 5 December 1883 Henry Dawson, labourer, then 19, enlisted at Lincoln as a gunner [private] in the Royal Artillery.

On 28 May 1885 Henry became ill and was found to have a faulty heart; he had had rheumatic fever as a child. Deemed medically unfit for service and discharged on 28 July 1885, he returned to Corby.

His army career cut short, Henry decided to emigrate to Australia.

I have not been able to find any record of his arrival. He may have been the 23 year old Henry Dawson, born Lincolnshire, who arrived in Townsville, Queensland, on 6 April 1888.

 From 7 June 1889 Henry worked on the Victorian railways in various roles, as lampman, carriage cleaner, porter. (See R is for Railways – triennial listing of railways employees in Victoria.)

On 12 December 1889 Henry married Edith Caroline Edwards in Brunswick, a suburb of Melbourne.  They had eight children.

On 30 July 1929, on his 65th birthday he died in Kyneton of pneumonia and heart failure.

My mother-in-law Marjorie talked to me once or twice about her grandfather Henry. She could remember his death in Kyneton on his 65th birthday when he was visiting her family there. She was 9 years old. Marjorie did not mention his brief service in the army, perhaps because she had never been told. She thought that he might have been to New Zealand. He hadn’t enjoyed it.

Henry’s brother Charles remained in England. He became a brickyard labourer then a colliery hand. He married but had no children. Charles died in 1928, a year before his twin.

Image retrieved from a family tree at
The grave of Henry Dawson and his wife in Kyneton cemetery, photographed in 2022

Related post

Wikitree: Henry Dawson (1864 – 1929)