My father (1926 - 2007) always said he was born and raised in England until immigrating to Australia in 1947 after being discharged from the army. I have now found out through his army records that he was born and lived in India until joining the army. Trying to find some understanding for the secret/deception. Both his parents were British.

Yes, he had British citizenship. Getting his birth certificate was how this started. No record of him or his family in Grassmoor, Derbyshire where he said he was brought up. There are records in India. Just confused why this would be kept secret by his whole family who all immigrated to Australia. No family members left to interrogate.

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    Is it possible that he falsified the Army records? Is there any reason why it might have been advantageous to his enlistment (commission) to have been born in India?
    – MCW
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 13:43
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    It's certainly possibly your dad is correct and the army records are wrong. You should look for a more reliable source, such as a birth record in the town where he said he was born. Do that before going down this path. You may find that your dad was right all along.
    – Mohair
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 13:57
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    It should be relatively easy to obtain your father's birth certificate, whether he was born in England or in India. Do you know the place in England in which he claimed to have been born? Does he have a relatively uncommon surname? Those will be two helpful factors, also if you happen to know his exact date of birth that too will be an advantage. But irrespective of any of that it shouldn't be rocket science digging out the birth certificate of someone born as recently as 1926. .
    – WS2
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 18:13
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    Did Australia have immigration laws in place post-war that made it easier for British-born citizens to enter (compared to say Indian-born)? That could be a reason.
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 6:37
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    @SteveBird has nailed it IMO. I don't want to offend David - assuming he's an Aussie - but Australia had a somewhat covert but highly bigoted approach to immigration at that time. His father may well have known that putting down his India background could only lead to confusion and harm to his immigration application. Although many Brits had difficulty adapting to life in Britain after India (due to relative loss of social status and spending power) I am not aware of any prejudice against them. Also I have some genealogy experience and could check David's father details in case of some mix-up. Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


MY father was born in Hong Kong (in 1923), and he always made the distinction between a British "citizen" (born in the British Isles), and a British "subject" (born elsewhere in the Empire). It was the difference between being a British "native" or "colonial."

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