Sydney Whiston Earnshaw, Lancs Fusiliers

1877 Mar 9. Born Stockport, Cheshire

1881 census at Hurlbobe Grange, Wilmslow Road, Handforth, Cheshire

1891 census at


1901 census at Handforth, Cheshire,

1905 Nov 8. London Gazette. Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership here tofore subsisting between us the undersigned, John Jackson, Sydney Whiston Earnshaw, and Frederick Arthur Cliffe, carrying on business as Engineers, at Macdonald's-lane, Corporation-street, in the city of Manchester, under the style or firm of the "ACME" GOVERNOR AND PATENT KEY MANUFACTURING COMPANY, has been dissolved by mutual consent as and from the date hereof. All debts due to and owing by the said late firm will be received and paid by the said Sydney Whiston Earnshaw.

1907 Dec 16. Married Mary Sayers

Mary Sayers died in 1990, aged 102 (!) and her son Leslie died shortly after.

1911 census at 64 Carlisle Road, Hove, Sussex

1915 Nov 23. Lancs Fusiliers. The undermentioned to be temporary Second Lieutenants: — Sydney Whiston Earnshaw.

1916 Jun 26. Garrison Battalions. Yorks. L.I. Temp. 2nd Lt. S. W. Earnshaw, from Lan. Fus. (attd.). to be temp. 2nd Lt. 26 June 1916, but with seniority from 23 Nov. 1915.

1916 Oct 26. Lancs Fusiliers. The undermentioned temp. 2nd Lts., from Res. Bns., to be temp. 2nd Lts. (att'd), retaining their Army seniority : — S W Earnshaw

1919 Jan 31. Yorks. L.I., — 16th Garr. Bn.— The undermentioned temp. Lts. to be temp. Capts. — S. W. Earnshaw.

1919 Dec 3 . Yorks LI. Temp Capt S W Earnshaw relinquishes his commission on completion of service and retains the rank of Capt

1920 Aug 31. Joined ADRIC with service no 431. Posted to K Coy

1920 Dec 17. Struck off the strength as a deserter

1921 Feb 11. In Galway Gaol on a charge of embezzlement. Bailed and discharged 19 Feb 1921

1929 Probably bigamously married to Dorothy Phillis Tompsett i Steyning as "Richard J Earnshaw"

I bought the marriage certificate

It clearly states that Richard James Earnshaw married Dorothy Phyllis Tompsett in 1929. His occupation is listed as commercial traveller, her occupation is listed as hotel waitress. Dorothy's parents were witnesses, and Richard states his parents as being William Francis Earnshaw and Margaret Earnshaw - the same parents as Sydney Whiston Earnshaw.

So, I assumed that Sydney and Richard J must be brothers. But alas, no, for Richard isn't listed as being a member of this family on any of the census records, and yet Sydney's probate is made out to Dorothy, and the son of "Richard" and Dorothy that was born in 1930 is with Sydney in Breconshire in the 1939 census. 

Ergo, the only logical conclusion is that Richard never existed, and was actually Sydney, marrying for a second time. I think that there may have been a social class element to this, because on Sydney's original marriage certificate that relates to his union with Mary Sayers, he is listed as a "gentleman" - whereas Dorothy's origins were definitely quite humble, in comparison.

1939 Living in Hay, Breconshire. Tyruched Cottages , Hay R.D., Breconshire, Wales He is "retired"

1954 Sep 16 . Died in Paignton, Devon



WO 339/47306

I believe that Sydney was my great grandfather. I notice that a few of the men listed on your page are believed to be bigamists. I'm almost certain that Sydney was, as well. My grandfather Anthony Richard was born in 1930 to Dorothy Phyllis Tompsett, who is supposed to have married a Richard James Earnshaw in 1929. I'm almost certain that "Richard" was actually Sydney using a false name, as on the marriage certificate "Richard" has listed his father as William Francis Earnshaw, who was the father of Sydney; yet there is no record of Sydney's parents ever having a child named Richard. Furthermore, my grandfather Anthony is listed on the 1939 census as living with Sydney in Hay, Breconshire; and according to Sydney's probate he left all that he had to a Dorothy Phyllis Earnshaw. A couple of experienced genealogists that I've spoken to are also quite sure that "Richard" was actually Sydney. The evidence appears to be overwhelming. So, certainly an interesting story! It seems to make more and more sense that Sydney would have committed bigamy, especially I now know that several ex auxiliaries did the same thing also.