A Victorian deserter's family story: surviving a clash of loyalties


By Donald Read, published 6th January 2008

More people than ever are seeking to trace their family histories. People can now sit at home and tap out in seconds from the  internet many of their family's previously unknown genealogical details. But what if a century or more ago one of your family had tried to cover his tracks? What if he had changed his name after deserting from the British Army? My greatgrandfather - Peter Paton - did just that. He became ‘John Harrison'. When? Why? How? This is Peter Paton/John Harrison's story. It is a good story not only for its content but also because it shows how much human interest...

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