Henry Thomas Emptage lied about his age when he enlisted at only 16. He had already lost both his parents and no doubt saw a life in the Army as a way out of poverty and an opportunity for travel and excitement and it may have helped him deal with an very tragic personal life. His career in the army saw him serve in two wars before being called up to serve again at the outbreak of WW1.
William Alfred Emptage was 18 when he enlisted in the 3rd Battalion of The East Kent Regiment “The Buffs” in 1900, following his brother Henry Emptage who had joined in 1897. They both saw action in South Africa in the second Boer War. William transferred to the Royal Horse Artillery in 1902. In 1914, by then a reservist, William was one of the first to be called up at the outbreak of war.
A difficult childhood and an army career in which he obtained three good conduct medals. But his conduct as a civilian was questionable, as one young lady was to find out. But was there a happy ending?
There is a well used but nevertheless very apt saying in family history research, that it raises more questions than it answers.
And that is so true of the story of two brothers, three women and seventeen children.