A FORTNIGHT ago in this space, we re-published part of a page from the D&S Times of exactly 100 years ago on which the Richmond recruiting officer was requesting information on the whereabouts of 150 named men who he felt should be on military service but were not. At the foot of his advert, the captain added in big capital letters: "Any communications will be treated in strict confidence."

Fortunately, a century later, we do not have to be so careful about the identity of those who send us communications, so we can reveal that Ralph Formstone of Stokesley, a keen family historian, chose one name at random and ran it through his websites and databases.

"I picked Albert Ernest Hart because he had an easy name to look in to and a detailed address at The Lodge, Hornby Grange, Northallerton," said Ralph.

Ralph's researches reveal that Albert was born at Osmotherley on August 12, 1878, and that he married his wife, Margaret, on April 18, 1906, in Shirley, Derbyshire. They lived with their children, Gladys, Joan and Charles, in The Lodge, which we guess is the noticeable house on the A167 south of Little Smeaton which guards the driveway to Hornby Grange. Albert was a chauffeur – would he have been employed by whoever lived in the Grange?

The Richmond recruiting officer appears not to have known that Albert had joined the Army on May 29, 1916, when he was 5ft 4ins tall, had a 35.5in waist and weighted 130lbs. These details are on his war records which, miraculously, survive, although the papers are charred round the edges from the Second World War bomb that destroyed so many First World War records.

He put his driving skills to good use by joining the Army Service Corps which posted him as a driver to No 2 Water Tank Company – this company seems to have followed the frontline troops providing drinking water from canvas bowsers. Much of the company's water was acquired from rivers and passed through its sterilising and depoisoning processes before it was fit for the soldiers to drink.

When the advert demanding information about his whereabouts was published, Albert was serving in France. Perhaps it was Margaret who saw the D&S and informed the recruiting officer, because at the foot of the following week's list of names, the officer acknowledges that he had received a "satisfactory explanation" concerning Pte Hart.

Albert was discharged on June 23, 1919, and he and Margaret resumed civilian life in Belper, Derbyshire. He worked with vehicles all his life, and died in Derbyshire in 1962.