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Remembered Today:

Officers cuffs, collars and epaulettes


ColinY43
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Hi Pals

I was always told that this picture was of a relative who was killed in action asa private on the Somme.

I have recently blown it up and think I see evidence that he cant be....

- he seems to be an officer

- he has medal ribbons

- my dad and aunt are also in the larger picture and based upon their d of bs it must be late 1916 and probably 1917

post-46415-1249828378.jpg

Can any uniform expert tell me anything more from the picture - he was an RFA man for sure but what tells you what his rank is and can you tell what the medal ribbons were?

Any ideas very welcome.

Colin

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He's a Major which is what the crown in the cuff panel denoted, he is wearing for certain the ribbon for a Military cross, I think a Queen's South Africa medal and the 1914-15 star. Don't get too caughtupin rank placement for dating tunics, certain units always wore shoulder rank, never cuff. Shoulder became more commonplace in late 1916 but more so in 1917 but cuff ranking was not discontinued until well after the war. There are plent of 1919 era pictures of officer groups wearing whole mish-mash of styles. Do you have a name the MC would be easy to look up in the london gazette and gert details of the award his unit etc.

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Guards Officers wore rank on the shoulder; it became more common in other units as the wore went on - less obvious for the enemy to spot officers.

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He's a Major which is what the crown in the cuff panel denoted, he is wearing for certain the ribbon for a Military cross, I think a Queen's South Africa medal and the 1914-15 star. Don't get too caughtupin rank placement for dating tunics, certain units always wore shoulder rank, never cuff. Shoulder became more commonplace in late 1916 but more so in 1917 but cuff ranking was not discontinued until well after the war. There are plent of 1919 era pictures of officer groups wearing whole mish-mash of styles. Do you have a name the MC would be easy to look up in the london gazette and gert details of the award his unit etc.

Hi Scott,

thanks for the clarity - I didnt recognise the crowns!

He was never a full major in WW1 but was a Lt/A.Maj and later a Capt./A. Major.

I have the gazette records and his MC as well as a later bar so with your data I should be able to better date the photo.

What appears in place of the crowns on the cuff for a captain or less, or are the lacings (for want of a better description!) indicative in some way?

Colin

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A second lieutenant would have one 'pip', a lieutenant, two, and a captain, three. The ring of braid round the cuff would differ: I suspect the 2nd lieutenant and lieutenant had one, and the captain, two (but I'm not sure the numbers are correct).

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The ring of braid round the cuff would differ: I suspect the 2nd lieutenant and lieutenant had one, and the captain, two (but I'm not sure the numbers are correct).

Correct. Majors and lt-cols had three stripes, and colonels, four. They were analogous to the rank rings worn in the Navy. with the same crowns and pips as were (and are) worn on the shoulder..

Scottish regiments wore gauntlet-style cuffs. but with similar combinations of stripes and pips/crowns.

Ron

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Correct. Majors and lt-cols had three stripes, and colonels, four. They were analogous to the rank rings worn in the Navy. with the same crowns and pips as were (and are) worn on the shoulder..

Scottish regiments wore gauntlet-style cuffs. but with similar combinations of stripes and pips/crowns.

Ron

Thanks guys... and were the pips the same as those worn later on shoulders?

I have another picture of officers at rest in Uniform. This will help me recognise them more.

Can I safely assume the collar worn grenades were for Artillery?

One point.. if he was a Capt. a/Major ... as he was in this case, is that signified or is he simply dressed to his acting rank?

Thanks anyway

Colin

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Hi Colin

Yes, the collar badges are Royal Artillery grenades, and yes, as an acting Major he would wear the insignia of the rank he was filling, in this case a major.

Phil

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Well, without a detailed look at the grenades (probably not likely) or the buttons, he could be a Gunner (Royal Artillery) or a Sapper (Royal Engineers) Major. Difficult to tell from the angle of the light, but the buttons do seem to suggest a Gunner.

I disagree with the medals ribbons; I think Military Cross (dating the picture after the end of 1914) yes, but Queen's South Africa and King's South Africa (not 1914-15 Star). So he could probably be a pre-war Regular.

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Well, without a detailed look at the grenades (probably not likely) or the buttons, he could be a Gunner (Royal Artillery) or a Sapper (Royal Engineers) Major. Difficult to tell from the angle of the light, but the buttons do seem to suggest a Gunner.

I disagree with the medals ribbons; I think Military Cross (dating the picture after the end of 1914) yes, but Queen's South Africa and King's South Africa (not 1914-15 Star). So he could probably be a pre-war Regular.

Guys

Thanks for that .. clarity is good to achieve and I am certainly getting there with your kind help.

He was a pre-war regular - he did serve in SA 1899-1902 with 44th Battery, RFA and took part in operations in Cape Colony (Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasp: Cape Colony; King’s South Africa Medal with two clasps) - he was a Gunner, from 1898 (india) until 1942, so was his Dad and his son! All named William 'nnnn' Brookes. He gained his Military Cross (LG 14 Jan 1916, with effect from 1 Jan 1916): for service with 256th Battery, RFA.

I am working on his pre 1911 service data.... if I can ever find it!

Thanks Pals

Colin

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