I have found my father-in-law through the military service records for ww1. but cannot find any information on him either before or after the war. His name was Bernard Nuttall d.o.b. 7 june 1895. He enlisted in Aug 1914 at Albert Park Victoria and we know he stayed on in Australia after the first ww for some time returning to the u.k. only because his mother was very ill. He spoke very rarely of his time in Australia or the war only saying he left England by working on a ship and when he reached Australia he left and didn't go home so we are wondering if this could be why we can't find anything before the war. but hopefully he should appear somewhere in records after he was demobbed. Could you give mw any clues as to where to look next?   Thanks.


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Comment by Tonia (from NAA) on February 21, 2012 at 18:13

Hi Ann

Apologies for the delay in responding to your query.  If your father-in-law received an Australian war pension, there may be a record, however, pension files rarely contain information that elaborates or enhances that contained in the service record.  You could submit a reference inquiry using the online form at http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/forms/fam-inquiry.aspx, nominating WWI pension files under 'Other records' you are looking for.

The National Archives of Australia is the Archives of the Australian Government and our collection dates from 1901 when Australia became a federation. The Archives only holds information about individuals if they had business with the Australian government, such as those who came to Australia under an assisted migration scheme, or those who served in the armed forces.  

If you know when your father-in-law departed Australia, we may be able to locate a passenger listing with his name on it.  However, we would need to know reasonably precisely when he departed as it is not possible to comb through months worth of passenger listings.

Perhaps a family historian amongst our forum community may be able to give you some clues as to where you could find more information??

Sorry I wasn't able to be of more assistance on this occasion  - can any one else provide any clues??



(NAA staff)

Comment by ann rose nuttall on February 22, 2012 at 1:46

Thank you so much for your reply, I hadn't thought of checking for any pension files. Unfortunately we do not know the precise date he left Australia as he never spoke of it. I do know he loved living in Australia he always tried to get my husband and I to emigrate when we were younger as he said the only way he could  go back was if he had family there because he was too old. Such a shame he never did get to return.   I hope somebody might be able to point me in the right direction.       Regards,   Ann


Comment by Debra on February 26, 2012 at 14:53

Hi Ann,

Bernard was still living at home (26 Stopford Road, Plaistow) with his parents Albert and Sarah when the 1911 census was taken.  He was an engine cleaner working for the Great Eastern Railway at their Stratford works.  He had two siblings still at home, Lilian, 23, and Rupert, 18, who was a counter hand in a drapery store.  Bernard would have had to have come to Australia between 1911 and 1914 but I cannot find anyone obvious on crew lists.  He may have used a different name.  There was a B. NUTTALL (male person) who was a passenger on a ship to Hobart in 1912 but you would need to pay to look at an image of the manifest to see if you think it might be him. Sometimes they give a home address http://www.ancestorsonboard.com/

Unfortunately a lot of passenger records around this time don't give much information.  I had a look for him going back to England, but no luck there either.  Do you know where and when his mother died?  I can't find a death for her registered in Essex or Middlesex.  His father Albert died in 1918, registered at West Ham.

Bernard wasn't born in 1895, his birth was registered in the September quarter of 1894..  This of course means that he wasn't 21 when he enlisted but it was common for young men to fib about their age to qualify without parents' consent.

It may be worth tracking down his employment records to see when he left the railway.  Here are some links to help:



It looks as though the GER records are not online yet at the National Archives site.

Do you know all of his siblings or would you like a list?

If you have a look for 26 Stopford Road on Google streetview, luckily it was rubbish day when the photos were taken and you can find No. 26 by the numbers on the bins!



Comment by Francis Graham kelly on February 28, 2012 at 2:35

You will find Bernard nuttall in the England & Wales Census of 31 Mar v1901

NAME: Bernard Nuttall. GENDER: Male. AGE: 6. BIRTHPLACE: West Ham,Essex.REGISTRATION: West Ham

SUB DISTRICT: Stratford. ECCLESIASTICAL: Christ Church.  PARISH: Stratford Marsh.


there is also the following entry

NAME: Frances Maud Suckling. GENDER: Female. AGE: 6. BIRTHPLACE: Bromley.London.

SUB DISTRICT: Bromley. PARISH: Poplar Borough. COUNTY: London.

Comment by ann rose nuttall on February 29, 2012 at 5:03

Thank you both for you comments,  I have found him in the English records but it was his time in Australia  I was interested in.  It seems he played his cards very close to his chest we never even knew about a previous wife until  I saw the military records, he always said he never married!


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