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30th December 2003James Arthur LYONS - any AZW service?
By Peter Ewart
I wonder if anyone can help me, please? A correspondent (of the non-AZW sort) has asked me If I can advise her if a relative had served in the AZW, as is believed.

The name was James Arthur LYONS (born Lambeth 1886) who had apparently resettled in England by 1886. If his army service record survives at Kew it'll reveal all anyway, but I imagine there are transcripts of the complete 1877-79 medal roll (published or otherwise) knocking around & wonder whether any of the medal-collectors or biographical fiends on this forum have access to one & can assist. Regiment not known - just possibly a surname alias of Nelson may have been used.

Had a quick look in both Tavender (although the chap survived) & Holme (nothing to suggest he was a 24th man anyway) and Julian Whybra's published roll, as well as the roll published by Patrcia D'Arcy (not expected to be a colonial anyway) but the vast majority of those who served in 1877-79 would not feature in these lists.

The odd Lyons, Nelson and Nielson crop up in the above but without matching initials. Any ideas? (I won't be doing any digging myself as I understand the National Archives will be examined eventually but just wondered if anyone can put her out of her misery in the meantime, please?)

If the info is from family tradition, then I suppose it could just refer to service there during the 1880s, in which case a negative 77-79 medal roll search won't necessarily be conclusive.

Many thanks,

30th December 2003Peter Ewart
Sorry, born 1856 - excuse fingers!

31st December 2003Martin Everett
Dear Peter,

A quick look at the medal roll suggests there were a number of Pte J Lyons - including J Lions of 2/21F who deserted. The provides nos., names and clasp details so no possibly of definitely identifying your man. Another approach is to look at Marriage, Birth (children) Certificates - the place of registration, father's occupation - Pte, xx Foot may narrow the search before going to Kew. Your correspondent could always employ a researcher at Kew - see
for suggestions.

11/599 Pte J Lyons 2/4th
1912 Pte J Lyons 1/13th
1162 Pte J Lyons 99th

The above is just a selection. As he was born in London he could have served in any regiment. Regret haven't look at Nelson or Neilson.

Best wishes from Wales for 2004
1st January 2004Peter Ewart

Very many thanks for searching. That gives her plenty to go on and, hopefully, one of them may just turn ou to be her chap when she searches the army service records at Kew. I've already advised her of the usual genealogical steps and it is to be hoped that the information contained on the respective attestation sheets will enable her to differentiate between which of the above (if any, of course) is likely to be hers. With the other details she has, this seems reasonably feasible, although I think she should trace a local newspaper obit first to improve chances of details of reg't first.

Many thanks

4th January 2004Ron Lock
I don't want to raise your hopes - as we have seen, there were lots of James Lyons. However, I have a medal to a Private James Lyons with copies of all his service papers. If nothing else, the following details may enable you to eliminate this particular James Lyons as the one in question.

Name: James Lyons of the parish of St. George, London. Joined 64 Foot, 19 March 1867. Apparent age - 18 years. Transfer to 1/13 Light Infantry Feb. 1872.

He saw much service in S. Africa and Egypt. He was discharged at his own request on 5 April, 1887. His intended address was 27 Christchurch Terrace, Battersea. His mother's name was Margaret.

Hope that helps.

Ron Lock.
5th January 2004Peter Ewart

Very many thanks for those details. They could be very helpful even if, as you say, they help only to eliminate that particular chap. The age suggests he was a bit old to be the one they're looking for but does give details on the 1/13th soldier thrown up by Martin - and it may help them to know the details of this chap for eliminatory puposes.

I shall pass this on - and thanks again for posting the details.