The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names


by John Slaughter

This article was originally published in the August 2012 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society

Kathy Saul had kindly sent me some information and photographs about some of her husband’s ancestors who served in the Army at the beginning of the 20th century.  Kathy’s son found a couple of old photographs in a black plastic bag on the top of a wardrobe and was able to identify them. They included a Private Joseph Saul who had served in the Border Regiment during the Boer War.


Some details of Joseph’s military career are to be found on our website. It appears that he signed up specifically for service in the Boer War and enlisted at Carlisle on 16th January 1900 in the Border Regiment. He embarked for South Africa on 4th March 1900 where he served until 23rd April 1901. On his arrival back in the UK his engagement was terminated. The photographs show his Service Group, Service Section B (Appleby) Company, at both the start and end of the engagement.  There are eleven soldiers in the 1900 photograph but only ten in 1901. The missing soldier is a Private T L Atkinson, who may have been a casualty of the War. On his enlistment papers Joseph gave his next of kin as his uncle Thomas Saul of Brackenber, Appleby, Westmorland. Joseph was born in 1876, the illegitimate son of Mary Saul. On the 1881 census Joseph was in the household of his grandfather John Saul and his wife Margaret at Brackenber where John was a farmer of 69 acres. The household also included their children John, Mary and Thomas. By 1891 grandfather John had died and the farm seems to have been taken over by his son Thomas who is shown as the head of the household on that year’s census. Some of the relationships on that census are suspect as Mary is shown as a daughter (rather than a sister) and Joseph as a son (rather than a nephew).


It appears that by 1911 Joseph had emigrated to the USA.


Joseph had a cousin William Saul who saw active service in World War One (WW1). Unfortunately his service records do not appear to have survived but Kathy tells me that he served in the Durham Light Infantry and saw action on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918. At some stage he was wounded by a shell and was hospitalised back in England. He recovered sufficiently to be sent back to the front line. William had two brothers Joe and Ted who also served in WW1 but again there appears to be no records for them at The National Archives. 


 Service Section “B” company 2nd V.B. Border Regiment for South Africa. January 15th 1900

The caption reads: Service Section “B” company 2nd V.B. Border Regiment for South Africa. January 15th 1900

Private T Holmes, Private J Saul, Private W Tydd, Private T L Atkinson, Private R Howe

Private H Robinson, L.-Corpl. T H Davey, L.-Corpl. W J Woof, Private T Gibson

Private E W Slack, Private T Howe


Service Section ‘B (Appleby) Company 2nd V.B. Border Regiment from South Africa. 1st May 1901

The caption reads: Service Section ‘B (Appleby) Company 2nd V.B. Border Regiment from South Africa. 1st May 1901

Private T Holmes, L.-Corpl. T H Davey, Private T Gibson, Private W Tydd, Private J Saul

Private H Robinson, L.-Corpl. W J Woof, Private E W Slack

Private T Howe, Private R Howe