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Help identifying these uniforms


Rockdoc
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This is another of the 3in x 2in contact prints from my Grandfather's papers. I'm fairly sure that it shows a French soldier on the left. From the hat, the middle chap may be Greek but whether the chap in a solar topee is military or civilian I don't know. Any thoughts?

Keith

post-5629-1230393063.jpg

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The middle man is also French, he wears a "bonnet de police" nothing to see with the police, it is only a name, usualy weared in barrack.

Pierre

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The middle man is also French, he wears a "bonnet de police" nothing to see with the police, it is only a name, usualy weared in barrack.

Pierre

This was first introduced in the 18th century and was originally worn for fatigues. We get the English/American term 'policing the camp' , ie tidying up, from the same source.

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Merci, Pierre. The photograph is with others from Salonika in my Grandfather's papers and your clarification may help me eventually work out where he was stationed.

Encore merci,

Keith

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I can't read anything on his collar, I'm afraid. The original is quite small and badly faded and I had to juggle with the brightness and contrast on my computer to get what appears on the image. The only clue may be a dedication written on the back of a menu for a meal given on 12th November 1918. The dedication seems not to have been written by a native speaker of English and it sounds, to me, to be a French attempt at the language. It reads:

Best remembrance from the WO of the Poste 1/2 fine d'AAA 281 to the Comrade Gaskin

Does that make any sense to you, Pierre?

Keith

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AAA means artillerie anti aerienne (anti aircraft artillery)

Poste 1/2 fixe, read fixe, not fine, means a very little unit, one or two pieces, between 20 and 30 men with one officer or warrant officer.

I think 281 is a batallion or a regiment, but don't find anything, there is a French 281 infantry regiment, but nothing in relation.

Pierre

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Thanks again, Pierre. With a British AA Section having only two guns they were probably similarly-sized groups with plenty in common. If the sites they were based at were close together it isn't hard to imagine that they'd socialise on occasion too. As the old British saying has it "Birds of a feather flock together" which means similars attract.

Keith

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I think 281 is a batallion or a regiment, but don't find anything, there is a French 281 infantry regiment, but nothing in relation.

Having another think about this, I wonder whether the French AA batteries were numbered separately but overlapping, as the British ones were? The British units came under the Royal Garrison Artillery but do not follow the normal RGA numbering sequence. It looks very likely that my Grandfather's unit was 99 AA Section but there was also a totally separate 99 Brigade, for example, which never left Western Europe.

Keith

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