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Remembered Today:

Mystery Group


Jonathan_NW

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Would anyone have any idea who or what this group of men is please? There is a variety of Cap Badges on display including the RA.

All ideas welcomed.

Thanks

Jonathan

mystery.jpg

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The chaps with the armband on appear to be Royal Engineers (so I am assuming Signals Branch) so I would go for something Signals related.

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Could it be an RE Field Survey unit? I know they included artillerymen and observers among their ranks.

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Possibly simply one of many 'end of course' photos and no particular unit

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Corps or Divisional unit. The presence of RFC and RA men suggests that they had some sort of artillery co-operation role, and I think that this would have been conducted at Divisional level at least, though I'm not exactly certain). The other cap-badges will be signallers from other units within the same division or corps.

The image was taken sometime between mid-1918 and early 1919 (overseas service stripes are visible on some men's sleeves).

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Or a signals training course. Antony

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Hello all

I would have gone along with centurion or headgardener - either a training course or HQ staff, probably of a Corps - had all the men been officers. But they mostly seem to be NCOs, with only four officers and one WO (see the Sam Browne belts). They could be the permanent staff of an Army or Corps School of some kind - probably Corps, because I don't recognise the chap front centre as being any of the Army Commanders.

The war establishment details I have on schools, which mostly date from 1918, all show three or four officers and about 25-30 ORs, which again is consistent with the numbers shown. If we could identify the middle chap as one of the Corps Commanders, it might help to narrow down the field a bit.

Ron

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Hello all

I would have gone along with centurion or headgardener - either a training course or HQ staff, probably of a Corps - had all the men been officers. But they mostly seem to be NCOs, with only four officers and one WO (see the Sam Browne belts). They could be the permanent staff of an Army or Corps School of some kind - probably Corps, because I don't recognise the chap front centre as being any of the Army Commanders.

The war establishment details I have on schools, which mostly date from 1918, all show three or four officers and about 25-30 ORs, which again is consistent with the numbers shown. If we could identify the middle chap as one of the Corps Commanders, it might help to narrow down the field a bit.

Ron

Wasn't only officers that went on training courses

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Hello all

I would have gone along with centurion or headgardener - either a training course or HQ staff, probably of a Corps - had all the men been officers. But they mostly seem to be NCOs, with only four officers and one WO (see the Sam Browne belts). They could be the permanent staff of an Army or Corps School of some kind - probably Corps, because I don't recognise the chap front centre as being any of the Army Commanders.

The war establishment details I have on schools, which mostly date from 1918, all show three or four officers and about 25-30 ORs, which again is consistent with the numbers shown. If we could identify the middle chap as one of the Corps Commanders, it might help to narrow down the field a bit.

Ron

The number and distribution of ranks is strongly suggestive of a 'unit' rather than a 'course', but it's the presence of the RAF* men that makes me say that they must have had some sort of co-operation role rather than being staff of a school.

Any thoughts on that?

* I mistakenly said RFC in my post - technically possible, but unlikely given the probable date.

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There's a 'Jock' too. Gordons or Argylls?

282kqkk.jpg

The chap in the middle Ron mentioned, looks like he doesn't want to be there, hands in pockets.

Mike

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The chap in the middle Ron mentioned, looks like he doesn't want to be there, hands in pockets

He's too bloody important to be there.....! The photographer had better press the bloody shutter of that camera PDQ!

Edit; I just counted the number of RE signallers - there are 9 out of a group of 25 men.

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The number and distribution of ranks is strongly suggestive of a 'unit' rather than a 'course', but it's the presence of the RAF* men that makes me say that they must have had some sort of co-operation role rather than being staff of a school.

Any thoughts on that?

Co-operation between artillery and aircraft, using signals, is a strong possibility. Such skills would have to be taught somewhere, which is why I suggested a school. I don't know of any units (in the narrower sense of that word) which had men from such a mix of corps.

Ron

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How did the signalman on the left get his stripe to go overtop of the armband? Could they be pin-on stripes or is it just a trick of the light?

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Co-operation between artillery and aircraft, using signals, is a strong possibility. Such skills would have to be taught somewhere, which is why I suggested a school. I don't know of any units (in the narrower sense of that word) which had men from such a mix of corps.

I've got several pics of RE men 'in the field' posing with RFC men, and vice versa (Ditto with RA men), and in one instance with a radio set. So clearly they did operate together, hence me thinking of these guys being part of a specific unit. The chateau in the background looks typical of an HQ, and perhaps less typical of a school (I *think* that all the images I have of courses have been in the open or clearly in a camp or compound). Also, the only images I have of Divisional or Brigade units seems to have a variety of cap badges representing (I thought) some of the units in the Division or Corps. You'll certainly see that with officers.

Would be interesting to work out which units are represented here.

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If we could see the medal ribbons and overseas service stripes of the large RA Warrant Officer a little more clearly it's just possible we could work out who he is.

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If we could see the medal ribbons and overseas service stripes of the large RA Warrant Officer a little more clearly it's just possible we could work out who he is.

The original image is from a postcard I picked up on eBay the other day for £2 at the last minute and measures 5"x4". This scan has been posted via imageshack using 1MB of memory and is as sharp as I could make it! Sorry.

Thank you all for the overwhelming level of interest shown. If anyone would like a copy of the photo then please feel free to PM me.

Thanks

Jonathan

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The chances of idenifying the building is possibly fairly slim - the reflection of most of the trees in the windows implies the photo was taken during the winter, as does the foliage on the building itself. The Officer (front and Centre is wearing a British Warm type coat with what looks like a non regulation fur appendage on the collar.He has his hands in his coat pockets - a sure indication it was cold.

At least three are wearing medal ribbons: the man wearing RFC tunic on the right as you look at the picture, the man behind him and of course the WO wearing what looks like three medal ribbons.

I would hazard a guess and say its a Divisional School Course - mostly Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers. The men wearing brazards are like to be Royal Engineers (Signals) although its difficult to discern the cap badge, At least two of the officers appear to be wearing Royal Artillery Cap Badges. Not sure about the 4th Officer (Captain ?) sitting to the right - I cannot make out the badge on his lapels or cap even with a much higher resolution. The WO is holding what looks like either a pace stick or a riding crop. The shutters and iron work on the building appear continental possibly France, Belgium or Germany. Are we looking at a photo taken during the Army of Occupation in Germany?

Are there any clues on the reverse of the postcard?

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At least three are wearing medal ribbons: the man wearing RFC tunic on the right as you look at the picture, the man behind him and of course the WO wearing what looks like three medal ribbons.

I would hazard a guess and say its a Divisional School Course - mostly Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers. The men wearing brazards are like to be Royal Engineers (Signals) although its difficult to discern the cap badge, At least two of the officers appear to be wearing Royal Artillery Cap Badges. Not sure about the 4th Officer (Captain ?) sitting to the right - I cannot make out the badge on his lapels or cap even with a much higher resolution. The WO is holding what looks like either a pace stick or a riding crop. The shutters and iron work on the building appear continental possibly France, Belgium or Germany. Are we looking at a photo taken during the Army of Occupation in Germany?

Serious question; If it's a signallers course of instruction then wouldn't we expect there to be more RE officers (I reckon they're all RA except the one on the right)? Also the WO and SNCO's; only one is RE.

I'm interested to see what we can read into some of the more subtle aspects of this image as I've got loads of group photos like this, but have never thought much about the nature of each group beyond those that are annotated in some way.

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At a guess I would say it is some sort of higher command headquarters unit photograph taken after the Armistice because of the overseas chevrons as mentioned above. Neither Corps or Army Signals Schools had a Class 1 Warrant Officer on the staff. The RE men with signal brassards, which includes a sergeant, could easily be a despatch rider section attached and some of the other men could be clerks and batmen. Just as an illustration, I have a photograph of the staff of Operations Branch at GHQ at the Armistice which consists of a plethora of all ranks and units.

On the other hand, it could be, at a pinch, the GHQ Concert Party. :P

TR

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I'm interested to see what we can read into some of the more subtle aspects of this image as I've got loads of group photos like this, but have never thought much about the nature of each group beyond those that are annotated in some way.

They are gone but their memory lingers on. Terry Reeves is right, yes possibly some sort of command headquarters after the Armistice. Many group photos contain subtle clues. All too often the group photos of men or women in uniform for the Great War, in albums and the like have no supporting names or captions. Those that do sometimes help to identify faces within photos in a Regimental collection. Those who took the trouble to record names in pencil on the reverse of a photograph did so because they wanted to remember their friends. Others could not be bothered because they knew the names and did not think to leave a record for posterity.

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It looks to me very like an HQRA. Artillery HQs (HQRA at division and corps) and specialist staffs had their own establishments and were not part of the parent formation HQ establishment. The formation HQ (division or corps) had a RE signal detachment on its own separate establishment and this provided Signallers, vehicles, telephones, motor cycle orderlies (and from late 1918 radios), etc to the HQRA. The organisation of HQsRA reflected that of an infantry or cavalry brigade: a brigadier general (BGRA) in command and a major as his principal G Staff officer (Brigade Major). The HQRA commanded all artillery, AA and garrison, as well as field, in the division, or corps troops.

In the centre of your picture would be the BGRA, flanked by his Brigade Major and Staff Captain with signals, transport and other support staff all around. The RFC/RAF men would be the liaison communicators for the Army Co-operation Squadrons supporting at Divisional or Corps level.

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