Can I order Norman MacFie's service records without a death certificate?

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Kateryan, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I don't know if it makes a difference in finding his death cert but I note from his baptism details he was in the Trinity Presbyterian Church - I have as yet not found a death cert for him ??

    Name: Norman Macleod Macfie
    Baptism Date: 20 Sep 1903
    Baptism Place: Newham, Middlesex, England
    Church: Trinity Presbyterian Church
    Father: John Macfie
    Mother: Lizzie Macfie

  3. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    The trail appears, as currently seen, to go dry at what would roughly have been his retirement age. Could he have retired and died overseas and hence the lack of a Death Certificate? Just a thought. Of course he could still be with us albeit at the right old age of 112.
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I should remind everyone, you only need proof of death. So a photo of his headstone will suffice or something like an undertakers invoice etc etc.
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Drew, thats understood but as we do not know where he died its difficult to find a certificate, or headstone. I do not know if the Trinity Presbyterian Church have different systems, or specific records, or separate cemeteries?? - anyone any ideas??

  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Looking at his personal history, I still believe there is a reasonable chance he will have died overseas.
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    His birth cert:

    Name: Norman McLeod Macfie
    Registration Year: 1903
    Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep
    Registration district: West Ham
    Inferred County: Essex
    Volume: 4a
    Page: 329

    Baptism is as post 22 above

    1911 Census:

    Name: Norman Macfie
    Age in 1911: 7
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1904
    Relation to Head: Son (Child)
    Gender: Male
    Birth Place: East Ham, Essex
    Civil Parish: East Ham
    County/Island: Essex
    Country: England
    Street address: 50 Lathom Road, East Ham, London E
    Registration district: West Ham
    Registration District Number: 188
    Sub-registration district: South East Ham
    ED, institution, or vessel: 16
    Household schedule number: 61
    Piece: 9535
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Elizabeth Macfie 51
    Florence Macfie 26
    Winifred Macfie 24
    John Macfie 17
    Charles Macfie 15
    Norman Macfie 7

    I do not have access to these but there is a Norman Macfie that appears on several USA census's

    New York, State Census, 1925
    Norman Macfie

    1930 United States Federal Census
    Norman Macfie

    1940 United States Federal Census
    Norman Macfie

    Passenger lists:

    Name: Norman Macfie
    Arrival Date: 20 May 1912
    Birth Date: abt 1904
    Birth Location: England
    Birth Location Other: london
    Age: 8
    Gender: Male
    Ethnicity/ Nationality: Scottish (Scotish)
    Port of Departure: Southampton, England
    Port of Arrival: New York, New York
    Ship Name: New York

    Name: Norman N Macfie
    Arrival Date: 21 Jul 1947
    Birth Date: abt 1904
    Birth Location: England
    Birth Location Other: london
    Age: 43
    Gender: Male
    Ethnicity/ Nationality: Scottish (Scotish)
    Port of Departure: Liverpool, England
    Port of Arrival: New York, New York
    Ship Name: Valacia

    Name: Norman Macfie
    Birth Date: abt 1904
    Age: 44
    Port of Departure: St John, New Brunswick, Canada
    Arrival Date: 31 May 1948
    Port of Arrival: Manchester, England
    Ports of Voyage: St John
    Ship Name: Manchester Commerce

    It seems his last trip was back to UK - his address is given as 3 Castle Mansions, Gourock, Scotland, occupation is Civil Engineer, and his last place of residence was USA.

    So perhaps a search of Scottish records (not available on Ancestry for this time period) may result in a death date and place

  8. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

  9. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Air travel then took off (pun intended). Would a return trip to the USA by plane show up anywhere? Just have this gut feel that he could have been in the USA or Canada when he died.
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    SDP - you could be right in that his last sea trip to Scotland was in 1st class, so I guess he may well have had the finances to fly, especially as air travel was taking off (pun intended) with many aircraft lying around after the war and many airlines starting up.

  11. Kateryan

    Kateryan Member

    I do have all of his census info from England as a boy through 1940 in NY. His father and brothers worked as stewards for various shipping lines so I assumed he was traveling so often with their connections. Somehow he lost touch with the family as at one point my mom remembers my grandmother trying to look him up in London because she didn't know what happened to him so it would make sense that something may have happened in the U.K. If he died there sometime after his last trip in 1948 would there be an online record? I'm assuming if he had died in NY there would be a record of it? But at the same time I haven't found a death record for his mother or a couple of brothers who were all living in NY.

    Was Lieut. a common first rank? Was Major a basic rank to be discharged with? Is it strange that in 1943 he was sent from the USA to Scotland and then sent back from Scotland on the Queen Mary in 1943 when the Queen Mary seemed to be taking troops from the USA to Scotland? He was close to 40 when he joined up and a carpenter.
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A Lt was normally in charge of roughly 30 men depending on the units role. A Maj was normally responsible for around a 100 men depending on role. A Royal Engineer Major could have been in charge of a Field Company as an example.
  13. Kateryan

    Kateryan Member

    Thanks Drew! Is it strange then that an almost 40 year old Carpenter who is basically an American would be brought in as a Lieut.? His travels are so extensive it just seems odd to me since it doesn't seem like he had an education or anything that would make him an officer. It looks like the government paid to ship him from USA to UK and then back again, then to Singapore and possibly stationed in India.
  14. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Why not just apply for his service records. The last sign of him seems to be in the 1960s and, if still alive, he would be one of the oldest people in the World and showing on some sort of database so it's reasonable to assume he's dead. The only risk is that you could lose the £30 fee. Is this a simple case of nothing ventured nothing gained?
  15. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    The MOD will just send the application back. They need proof of death

  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    You could ring them and say he would be 112 if alive today and you believe he died overseas-No harm in asking?
  17. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    MOD will process applications without a death certificate where birth date is more than 116 years ago - it is in the small print of the application paperwork.

    I would apply and include a covering letter with the full circumstances and ask if the death certificate policy is "flexible" in view of the fact he was born 112 years ago.

    Steve Y
    Drew5233 likes this.
  18. Kateryan

    Kateryan Member

    From emailing MOD it looks like the 116 year rule is not flexible. Any other ideas on how to find out where he died?
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    The family tree I found has no information as to when or where he died, and even searching all the Ancestry databases I have access to I cannot find anything that results in details to move this forward - sorry - :(

    Do you have 'family' in New York, or any other little tits bits of what might seem irrelevant details. If he was a civil engineer then I would assume he would have been registered either in the UK or USA, so perhaps another avenue to chase up

  20. Kateryan

    Kateryan Member

    I have been trying to find anyone with anymore information on the family but no luck so far. I am on Ancestry as well so you might have seen my tree, I think I'm the only one with a tree on the family, and unfortunately there are very few MacFies that I have found. I think the brother John may have married and had a bunch of kids but so far none of those relatives have responded to my Facebook messages to find out. I'm in CA so I can't look anything up in NY. I was hoping to order more of the death certificates for the siblings I have dates of death for to see if they had any info but unfortunately NY will not release them except to spouse or children so that's a dead end. Alfred is the only one I've seen any burial information for so it doesn't look like I'll find anything on FindAGrave. I really would like to find a death record for the mother since her obituary did not listed any family information for her. Any ideas on her?

    I did not know engineers had to register so I will look that up.

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