Before I went on holiday, I emailed the Department for International Development, Pensions Department to see if they had any records for Henry Hedges’ pension or service. I had an email waiting for me when I checked tonight that has knocked a few bricks out of my brick wall, so much so I think I can see it falling down soon.
Unfortunately, we have been unable to trace any files containing your grandfather’s records in this office.
I should explain that generally if no action has been taken on a file of a deceased officer, or their dependents, for 6 years after their death the file is destroyed under statute.
The only record we have been able to find relating to your grandfather is an index card noting that Mr Hedges’ wife died on 11 May 1972 and that, as there are no further eligible beneficiaries under the widows’ and orphans’ pension scheme/fund to which he contributed, interest in them has been lapsed. As noting Mrs Hedges death, and the resulting lapse, is probably the last action taken it seems likely that the files have been destroyed several years ago.
The only other information this index card shows is very similar to what you have already stated in your email:
- That Henry Hedges, born 17 February 1897, was a Superintendent of the Government Press in Nigeria and later a Government Printer in Sierra Leone.
- That he joined the Nigeria Widows and Orphans Pension Scheme i.e. started contributing to it, on 11 October 1922 (the date of joining such a scheme is usually the date the officer’s appointment in the territory started).
- Subsequently, he joined the Sierra Leone Widows’ and Orphans’ Pensions Fund on 14 January 1939 (most likely his date of transfer to his appointment in Sierra Leone).
- His contributions ceased on his death on 4 November 1939.
As mentioned above, his wife died on 11 May 1972. (Pensions in respect of Mr Hedges’ contributions to the Nigeria and Sierra Leone Scheme/Fund would have been paid to his widow from 5 November 1939 until her death).
I finally have an actual date of birth for Henry! This means I can confirm Henry’s parents and at last know which Hedges family is really mine. To say I am overjoyed is understating it.