Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Identifying WWI Uniforms in old photos


tracer01uk
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi,

I have a number of relatives that served and died during (or just after) WWI. Two Grand Uncles served in the Highland Light Infantry and one Grand Uncle served with the Royal Engineers (all came from Lanarkshire in Scotland).

My problem is that I have a number of old family photos but cannot determine if they are photos of my Grand Uncles or other relatives. I would like to post the photos to the Forum in the hope that someone can identify the Regiment (or any other information) to assist my research. Unfortunately, the photos are not of the best quality but any help or guidance will be appreciated. Thanks for your time.

Regards,

David

post-42817-1231280314.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David,

I am sure folks will be along shortly with comments on the specific pictures but to get you started THIS LINK (a cooperative / ongoing project on the forum) might help get you started.

Chris

I had a go at cleaning him up a bit.

Agree on the medal.

post-14525-1231281538.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

post-42817-1231280659.jpg

This is another photo, possible of John Frearson (1892 - 1916) - Killed in Action in France (Lance Corporal, 14th Bn, Highland Light Infantry) or his younger brother Herbert Frearson (1898 - 1917) - Killin in Action in Belgium (Private, 16th Bn, Highland Light Infantry).

Regards,

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David

This second photo looks like Royal Engineers to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think these photos are the same individual as the first I posted (but at a later date). His age would preclude him from being one of my Grand Uncles that I know died in WWI but I have received copies of the photo from members of different family lines.

Regards,

David

post-42817-1231281415.jpg

post-42817-1231281429.jpg

post-42817-1231281442.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

If the second photo is a Royal Engineers then that would make the individual my Grand Uncle, William Henry Wells (1895 - 1919) Sapper, 409th Lowland Field Company, Royal Engineers. He first served in France in 1814 and later died of influenza in Germany before returning home. He was awarded the Military Medal in 1919.

Regards,

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fist photo is of a Cameron Highlander. The type of tunic he is wearing was a type widely worn in India. It was a special pattern of the Scarlet Doublet. The last photo could be of a Cameron Highlander as well. He is wearing a Plain Glengarry Bonnet and the badge looks to be the correct size and shape for the Camerons. Also his medal group is a Classic Cameron Highlander's group- Queens Sudan Medal, Queens South Africa, King's South Africa and lastly Khdives Sudan Medal. looks like this man probably fought at Atbara and Omderman in 1898.

Great Photo's,

Stewart

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking at the photo's again, it looks like in the 1st one, he might be wearing the Khdives medal on it's own, before the Queens medal was issued. I've not seen that before! But the bars/clasps and ribbon do make it look like this medal.

The photo of the Sergeant with the medals, I think he is in the Royal Engineers, going by the collar on his tunic. He looks very similar to the Cameron Highlander, were they the same man?

Regards,

Stewart

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The QSA medal was from the Boer War.

The first soldier in the last set of three you posted (post 6) is a TERRITORIAL (you can just make out his Imperial Service Badge on his right breast)

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking at the photo's again, it looks like in the 1st one, he might be wearing the Khdives medal on it's own, before the Queens medal was issued. I've not seen that before! But the bars/clasps and ribbon do make it look like this medal.

The photo of the Sergeant with the medals, I think he is in the Royal Engineers, going by the collar on his tunic. He looks very similar to the Cameron Highlander, were they the same man?

Regards,

Stewart

Hi Stewart,

I think they are the same man but cannot confirm it yet. Is it possible that he could have started his military service as a Cameron Highlander and somehow ended up serving in the Royal Engineers ?

Regards,

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The QSA medal was from the Boer War.

The first soldier in the last set of three you posted (post 6) is a TERRITORIAL (you can just make out his Imperial Service Badge on his right breast)

Chris

Hi Chris,

Is it likely that he served in the Territorial during peace time after serving in the regulars earlier in his life ?

Regards,

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was very common for ex Soldiers to join the TF after regular Military Service. In fact looking at the photo where he is wearing his Khaki Service Dress uniform with the Imperial Service badge It looks as if he is wearing his medal ribbons. So it does look like he joined the Cameron's sometime before 1898, served to sometime after the Boer War and then joined the Territorials as a Royal Engineer.

Do you know his name? And where in Lanarkshire he came from?

Regards,

Stewart

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Hi Stewart,

I suspect it may be Benjamin Frearson but not definite. He is likely to either a Frearson or Wells. If it is Benjamin Freason, we would have been born in Derby but by this time he would be living in Craigneuk, Wishaw or Motherwell. If he was a Wells he would have been living in the same area, Craigneuk, Wishaw or Motherwell.

Regards.

David

Hi,

I don't think my initial thoughts on the identification of this individual is correct. I am my leaning toward it being Robert Moody from the Wishaw/Motherwell area (but this is pure speculation at this stage).

Regards,

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

Hi,

I found my elusive relative in the Cameron Highlanders uniform. He is my Grand Uncle, Charles Wells (according to Attestation Papers) joined the 1st Cameron Highlanders on 6th May 1891 at Edinburgh (even though he lived in Motherwell, Lanarkshire at the time). His Service Number on the papers was 2495. He served in Malta, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Egypt and South Africa (receiving a number of medals over this period).

Just trying to find out where I could possibly discover more about his service.

Regards,

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 years later...

If anyone is still watching this thread I can confirm from my 90-year-old father James Wells that the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and possibly the 5th photos are of his father. I was doing some research and found these photo's by chance and confirmed them with my father. I have almost all of the medals as my father at the age of 8 had a mock battle with his friends and distributed them to his comrades. All but one medal was recovered and my grandfather didn't seem to mind it's loss. My Grandfather was Charles "Charlie" Wells born 1874 died 1960. He snuck out of his house in Motherwell and walked 40 miles to Edinburgh Castle and joined the Army 2 years earlier than was legal. One of the junior officers recognized him. The junior officer in question was Barron Hamilton's son who knew the family well. They sent for his father Jonas who came to the castle and since my grandfather was 6' 1" and strong as an ox the Barron said "If he is big enough he is old enough." his father told him, "You've made your bed now lay in it."  He then was then in The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. He first served Garrison duty then was moved to Sudan where he participated in the final use of The Thin Red Line tactic at Khartoum. After that he was moved to Cairo Egypt where he finished the Boer War. After that he came home and was recalled to active duty in the engineer battalion. He was wounded and returned home where he trained young men to go to France. He with millions of others were summarily discharged at the conclusion of WWI as there was no need for a military because that was "The war to end all wars." he received a letter recalling him to active duty in 1940 as an officer but his wife refused so he remained home where he trained the home guard. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...