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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 6 days ago #85547

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WWI Canadian papers shine a new light on Harry Lloyd. His story is quite remarkable and very sad. By 1918 he had been diagnosed with "Dementia Praecox" (schizophrenia), though this was later changed to "Melancholia".

The following gives an insight into his mental health at the time:

20 Jun 1918 Medical Report.

Dementia Praecox (schizophrenia)
Family history negative. Personal history says he had some sort of fits when a boy, none recently, was always quiet and reserved, did not mix with the others. Came to England with the first contingent, was returned and discharged medically unfit. Says he had melancholia about Feb 1917, was sent to Long Point Asylum, there about 5 months. Re-enlisted Oct 1917. Arrived England just after Xmas. Has not been to France, was in signallers here, was not able to get along. Had severe headaches. Admitted to No. 11 Canadian General Hospital, 27 May 1918. M.H.S. states brought in declared insane by his Medical Officer. Much depressed and worrying about the coming of the Second Persecution after the war. Wrote letters to many prominent people warning them of this. Letters much confused.
Since admission has written many letters to the King, Lloyd George, etc. Has delusions of persecution. Memory poor.
Mental. Manner quiet but depressed. Has hallucinations. Says rats run over his bed, put their noses against his. Delusions of persecution. Cannot understand why he should have to undergo all this. Says if he were only in France he would be an ordained priest at once. Writes letters to the King, Lloyd George, warning them of the awful fate that is going to befall this country after the war, and imploring them to let him out of his prison as he alone can avert it.

3 Jul 1918 Medical Report

Admitted to Lord Derby War Hospital, Warrington, 29 Jun 1918
Disease: Dementia Praecox (schizophrenia)
Diagnosis later changed to Melancholia.
Born in England. Went to Canada age 24. Was studying for the priesthood in a convent. Suffered much from headaches and depression and towards the beginning of the war was sent away to stay with friends. Then enlisted and came over with the first contingent. Was sent back and went to a Mental Institution for melancholia. Joined up again anxious to get ordained in France. Says he knows of the “second persecution” through Sister Teresa whom he sees and speaks to at night. When she died in 1897 he wrote to a convent to ask if he could be her little brother. Says he has always been studying for his priesthood since a boy, but often broke down. The “second persecution” is to be of the Roman Catholics. Martin Luther started this war and the persecution is going to be secondary to it. Lord Halifax and the Bishop of London are to be concerned in it and there are to be burnings like at the time of the Reformation.
His affective state is one of depression, thinks he may be tried for treason. He has less headache now. Diagnosis doubtful between Melancholia, Delusional Insanity and Praecox.

14 Aug 1918 Medical Report

This man gives a history of gaining a scholarship at Shrewsbury which enabled him to go to Oxford. Went to ???? & whilst there joined the R.C. Church as he was refused ordination in C. of E. owing to his high church views. Admits having had several previous attacks of depression.

22 Nov 1918 Medical Report

Mental. Constitutional predisposition with numerous minor nervous breakdowns. Has for years devoted himself excessively to theology, went over from C. of E. to R.C. in 1909. Says he was keen on ritual and Latin ceremonial. Had studied for Anglican and later for Catholic priesthood, never ordained. Had nervous breakdown early in 1914. Enlisted Aug 1914. Says he was one month in France May 1915 and got nervous and depressed. Discharged in Canada Oct 1915. Another Mental attack spring 1917. Several months in Longue Pointe Asylum. Re-enlisted Oct 1917. Got to England where he had more nervous symptoms. Was first called C.P. then Melancholia.

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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 5 days ago #85548

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And there's more.....

After his short spell with the Hampshire Regiment at Aldershot, Harry Lloyd somehow found his way back to the Cape, this time claiming to be a Bugler with the South African Constabulary.
Just 7 weeks after his discharge at Aldershot, he is in the City Police Court, Cape Town, accused of forgery.

Ludlow Advertiser, 25th May 1901

The “Cape Times” of April 24 relates another chapter in the extraordinary career of a Shrewsbury lad, William Henry Lloyd, whose exploits attracted so much attention about a year ago. Lloyd stowed himself away on a vessel taking Shropshire soldiers to South Africa, and contrived to get through to Bloemfontein, acting the while in the capacity as a private soldier, and taking part in more than one engagement. Subsequently he was sent home, and whilst in England attracted some attention both at Southampton and Shrewsbury by his performances. His affections were strongly set on South Africa apparently, for, according to the “Cape Times”, he managed to obtain admission to General Baden-Powell’s Police, and was sent to the Cape as a member of that corps. On April 22, shortly after his arrival, he was arrested on a charge of forgery and uttering forged instruments, and the next day, at the City Police Court, was committed to take his trial. He is alleged to have given a forged cheque, on the strength of which he was supplied with food and drink. Afterwards, so the evidence ran, Lloyd went to the bank and tried to cash a cheque for £11 5s, on which the name “Norris, paymaster” was forged. When arrested he told the detective that he would yet make that officer salute him.
In reply to the charge Lloyd, who was dressed in khaki, said he was a bugler in Baden-Powell’s Police, and was stationed at Green Point. He came from Shropshire and would be 15 years old in July. He finally broke down and sobbed out that he was sorry, and had no wish to disgrace his parents or the Army.

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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 5 days ago #85550

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Here's another version of Lloyd's exploits in South Africa. This appears to be based on an interview with the boy, and should be read as a thirteen-year-old lad's "story". For instance, he claims to have been attached to the Oxfordshire Light Infantry at Sanna's Post, where he carried ammunition to troops in the front line and was wounded in the foot. Could there be any truth in this?
He also claims to have witnessed the closing scenes of Paardeberg, and to have had an interview with Lord Roberts .......
Note that there is no mention of the thefts and the flogging on the "Monteagle", nor the true reason for him being left on the ship at Cape Town.

Weekly Dispatch, 24th March 1901

When the war broke out, William Henry Lloyd, aged thirteen years, was employed at Messrs Blunt, chemists, Whylecop, Shrewsbury. In common with many other English boys he was struck with the war fever and a determination to get to the front.
For four months he nourished his ambition, and his perusal of the stories of Elandslaagte and Dundee and the investment of Ladysmith, Kimberley, and Mafeking by the enemy only resulted in lending further zest to his determination.
On the morning of February 2, 1900, HIS OPPORTUNITY CAME. The Shropshire Regiment marched forth from the Shrewsbury Barracks that morning under orders for the front. Thousands of the townsfolk cheered the troops off, and in the excitement of the moment none observed young Lloyd secrete himself in one of the railway carriages with some of the Tommies.
To the latter the young chemists’ boy forthwith explained the reason of his presence in their midst, and, though at first they were inclined to have him sent back to his parents, his entreaties to be allowed to proceed with them ultimately won the day.
Everything went well with the adventurous youngster up to the time of embarkations.
When the roll was called on the deck of the transport “Monteagle”, of the Elder, Dempster Line, at New Brighton, an officer discovered that young Lloyd was not attached to the regiment, and sternly informed him that he should have to return to Shrewsbury. Lloyd, however, elicited the sympathy of a sergeant-major, who was so impressed with the boy’s earnestness that – well, Lloyd remained on board and was not seen on deck until the vessel was well under way.
The ”Monteagle” was out two days before the officers discovered the youngster to be aboard, and upon consultation they decided that he be placed in the mess to work.
Lloyd, however, intended to be a soldier and not a lacky, and he promptly informed the officers as much.
Upon arrival at St Vincent a telegram was received from Lloyd’s parents granting their permission for him to proceed to the front, and advising him to try and become attached to the Imperial Yeomanry if possible.
That in its way was very well, but there were further obstacles to be overcome before a youngster of thirteen years would be allowed to carry his ambition into effect.
The first was on arrival at Cape Town, when the captain of the vessel would not allow the boy ashore with the troops, and told him that he would have to remain on board and work his passage back to England.
The captain of the “Monteagle”, however, was won over to the boy’s entreaties to be allowed to land; and after giving the youngster a good meal and some money, he wished him luck and handed him a pass to carry him ashore.
The first place Lloyd visited on landing was an outfitter’s, where he invested in a complete khaki outfit, a lady who had accosted him on landing financially assisting him to do this.
On inquiry, Lloyd discovered that the Shropshires had proceeded up-country, so, making for Maitland Camp, he endeavoured to join the New Zealand Police, who were camped there at the time. He was kept for a week, but, hearing that it was the intention of the officers to send him home, he quietly left and made for the railway station, where, on arrival, he found a train about to start up-country, and promptly jumped in amongst some soldiers.
At Victoria West a ticket collector handed him over to the civil power for travelling without a ticket, and once more young Lloyd found himself back in Cape Town.
His second attempt to get up-country, however, proved successful. This time he jumped into the dog-box of a train bound for Bloemfontein. The quarters in the dog-box were anything but comfortable, so on arrival at Worcester, Lloyd, under cover of darkness, changed his quarters for that of the mail van by means of walking the footboard. Here he hid among some mail bags, which he noted were labelled “Postmaster, Bloemfontein”.
At Orange River the pangs of hunger again made him change out of the mail van into that of the guard’s van. After listening to his story the guard promised to allow him to remain and give him food, on condition that he delivered some parcels for him to the guard at Arundel and Philippolis.
At Springfontein the daring youngster once more changed into another portion of the train, which it will be understood was conveying troops to Bloemfontein. Here, to his delight, the officer calling the roll called him in among the men. It was so cold, however, that on arrival at Jagersfontein, Lloyd left the train and proceeded with a convoy for Paardeberg, and reached there to witness the final scenes of that memorable engagement. Here, however, Lloyd came over queer, and he was sent back to the nearest railway station and put in care of some artillery men bound for Bloemfontein.
On arrival at the Orange River Colony capital, Lloyd, after a clean up, sought an interview with Lord Roberts at the Government House, to whom he told the story of his adventures, and asked to be allowed to join the Army.
The gallant Commander-in-Chief, who apparently took a lively interest in the lad’s recital, patted him kindly on the shoulder, and after shaking hands with him, called on one of his orderlies to take Lloyd to the camp of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry.
He was immediately attached to “F” Company in that regiment, and came under the notice of General Charles Knox, who cordially shook the youngster by the hand.
Very shortly after these little episodes had taken place, the regiment received marching orders, the first stop ordered being Sussex Hill. On this march Lloyd was bugler with the rear-guard. After a rest at Sussex Hill, orders were received to advance on the waterworks, which were in the possession of the enemy.
The story of that engagement is now common history. Young Lloyd’s experience in it was carrying ammunition to the troops in the firing line. Whilst thus engaged he was shot in the foot, and was carried off in an ambulance to Langman’s Hospital at Bloemfontein.
Dysentery subsequently set in, and after treatment at Bloemfontein, Springfontein, and Winburg, Lloyd was eventually invalided home, and finally discharged from Herbert Hospital, Woolwich.
He is, however, bent on being a soldier, and by special permission from the War Office he has been allowed to rejoin the Army, and at the present time is a full drummer in the Hampshire Regiment now stationed at Aldershot.

And another version, seemingly full of errors.

Kenilworth Advertiser, 27th September 1902

William Henry Lloyd, of Shrewsbury, has seen a good deal in his 17 years. When the Boer war was at its height in 1900 he was only a youth, but his love for soldiering was such that he stowed himself on the “Monteagle”, which conveyed the Shropshire Yeomanry in February, 1900, to South Africa. He was discovered, and on arrival was placed in a guard tent.
He escaped, was again arrested, but again escaped, and this time stole into a goods train, which carried him to Bloemfontein. There he appeared before the military authorities and said he wished to enlist. He was taken before Lord Roberts, to whom he made known his wish. Lord Roberts shook hands with the lad and ordered him something to eat. He was placed in charge of a major of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry and was passed as medically fit, and enlisted with the Shropshires.
He saw a good deal of service. At Middelburg he was commanding officer’s bugler for three months. At Sanna’s Post the lad was wounded near the ankle, a bullet glancing off from the water-bottle of a war correspondent.
He was then invalided home, and received his medal.
He was transferred to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Wrexham, and last week, having absented himself a day beyond his leave, was arrested and taken before Oswestry Magistrates on Saturday. He was taken back to the depot at Wrexham.

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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 5 days ago #85551

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Harry Lloyd finds his way into the newspapers again in 1930.

At the age of 43 he was found destitute, wandering the streets of Quebec in an emaciated state and "in the last stage of starvation".
He would only speak to the police and doctors in Latin or Greek and his identity was established by the Canadian Legion membership card he carried in his pocket.

The story of his having been to Oxford University persists and the religious medals he carries suggest he was still devoted to theology, though it appears his wife knew nothing about this side to his character.

Montreal Gazette, 7th January 1930

Quebec Hospital Patient Not Father Forster – Second Mystery Develops.
Quebec, January 6. – The taking into custody here on a vagrancy charge of an emaciated, meanly garbed man, at first believed to be Rev. Father Forster, the missing father superior of the Basilian order of Toronto, revealed a further mystery, just as deep as the first.
Picked up by a constable in the vicinity of the Union Station, the man, who appears to be about 45 years of age, astonished and puzzled police officers by addressing them in Latin and Greek. Patient questioning in English and French at length showed him to be English-speaking, but beyond a few disconnected phrases he could not be induced to say anything that would throw any light on his identity and extraordinary plight.
It was in the charity ward of the Hotel Dieu Hospital that clues were found to a story of wandering and misfortune, the mystery of which has not yet been entirely cleared up.
In one of the man’s pockets was found a card of the British Empire Legion, Ottawa branch, to the effect that the original bearer was a certain William Henry Lloyd, war-time sapper of the Royal Engineers. Two religious medals, on the other hand, lent colour to the suggestion that he was a priest.
The patient apparently was in the last stage of starvation when found. In spite of medical attention his condition is critical and there is a possibility he may die.

Ottawa, January 6. – William Henry Lloyd, whose Canadian Legion membership card was found on an emaciated man, thought to be a priest, discovered wandering in Quebec City, was identified here this afternoon as a classical scholar holding a B.A. degree from Oxford University.
He was discharged from the Civic Hospital here last year and sent to Toronto, where he was thought to have applied for a teaching post at Upper Canada College. His movements during the last eight or ten months were unknown to Legion officials here. He is a married man with two children, but the whereabouts of his family is unknown here.

Toronto, January 6. – Mrs William H. Lloyd, this city, said today she was positive the man found in Quebec City bearing the Canadian Legion membership card of William Henry Lloyd was her husband, who left Toronto December 15 last year for Ottawa where he was going in search of employment.
Mrs Lloyd said she had received a telegram from her husband on December 24 from Belleville, Ontario, in which he asked for financial assistance as he had been in an automobile accident. Since that message, however, nothing has been heard of Mr Lloyd.
The missing man was prominent in local Canadian Legion activities. He had done occasional teaching work for the Board of Education up to last April.
Mrs Lloyd could not account for the religious medals the man found in Quebec was reported to be wearing.

Montreal Gazette, 8th January 1930

Police Awaiting Word Regarding Man in Hospital.
Quebec, January 8. – While the man who was picked up on the streets of Quebec last weekend in a state of mental and physical distress is reported to be making satisfactory progress towards recovery at the Roy-Rousseau clinic here, local police authorities are still awaiting word from the woman, residing in Toronto, who is said to have declared he is her husband. He is tentatively identified, by means of papers on his person as William Henry Lloyd, graduate with B.A. honours of Oxford University.

Montreal Star, 11th January 1930

Quebec, January 11. – Information received from J.P. H.M. Cathcart, of the Department of Pensions and National Health, Ottawa, yesterday established the identity of the man picked up here believed to be a returned soldier and university graduate as William Henry Lloyd, whose wife is living in Toronto. Mr Cathcart said that Lloyd formerly lived in Ottawa and was subject to amnesia, an after effect of being gassed during the war.
Lloyd is a graduate of Oxford and Alberta Universities, he claims.
The police have practically decided to handle the case in the same manner as ordinary ones in which the person involved is destitute.

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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 5 days ago #85552

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Hello Neville.
Unbelievable story, many thanks for sharing and your in depth research, very much appreciated.
I wonder if there is an archive photo of our Shropshire Lad? Thanks again for a fascinating story.

Best wishes
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 5 days ago #85554

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Thank you Dave,

I have to say I found the research into this lad very moving. It is a tragic story. A boy who started out with such dreams, the decline that led to schizophrenia, and his discovery on the streets of Quebec, destitute ....
Yet, amongst all of this he somehow managed to meet his wife and have two children.

There is a film in there somewhere...


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