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Remembered Today:

Identification of Regiment

Aurel Sercu

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I wonder if someone can help me. Or maybe I should say : a kind lady in the UK (Lancashire) who asked me some help with regard to her grandfather and greatuncles who fought in the Great War (Ypres Salient).

Gradually her question has absorbed me, because I find it quite puzzling. And also sad, for her grandfather and his 4 brothers all died, in the Ypres area, and two of them even on the same day (31 July 1917).

She has the names (first names too) and dates of death. Not the regiments however (except her grandfather, who was King's (Liverpool Scottish).)

So using the first names + surnames + dates of death I found that the brothers were :

- For 1 or 2 : King's (Liverpool Scottish)

- For 2 : York & Lancaster

- For 1 : Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own).

However there are a few things that make it a bit more complicated. One of them is that there is another family with the same surname, the three sons of which all were killed too (according to CWGC records), and somehow I think the two families may have been mixed up.

The reason for this posting however is that I have a problem with the UNIFORMS on a photo showing 3 of the 5 brothers. And as I am certainly no expert with regard to uniforms, but know that some Forum members are ...

1. What uniforms are these ? I suppose Liverpool Scottish ? If so, that means trouble, for as far as I know (see higher) only 3 of the 5 brothers were Liverpool Scottish. (And I suppose the badge on the berets is too small to identify ?)

2. There are some differences. The men in the middle and on the right have a different belt + buckle. What conclusion can be drawn from this ? (Someone told me : Territorials. Correct ?)

3. The man on the left (supposed to be the lady's grandfather) clearly has a different uniform. The tunic has square corners at the bottom, and his beret looks smaller (and also the 'thing' on top of it). Conclusion ?

4. It seems to me that there are some minor differences between the uniforms of the person in the middle and the one on the right as well. (Or am I imagining things ?) The breast pockets look different (vertical folds), and there seems to be a seam between the pockets and the shoulders. Conclusion ?

5. And a final question : is the man in the centre a Lance-Corporal?

6. And one more, but probably silly : based on the information I have, one of these men should be Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own). But Middlesex Regiment didn't wear kilts, did they ?

I hope that someone can help us, for this family really is becoming a puzzle.




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here my answers:

1 yes the uniforms are liverpool scottish. Also the badge looks like it.

2 The snake buckle belts are P14 webbing in leather. Indeed mainly used by territorials.

3 this is probaly a Balmoral instead of a Tam'o' shanter (what the others wear) this make no difference of regiments. He is also wearing an issue tunic Not the modified tunic with the cut away jacket (mostley they did that theirself or by the regimental tailor). This also make no difference on the regiment, as it was used mixed.

4 He is wearing the pattern 1914; P14 tunic vest. An economical issue of the normal tunic. Again, used mixed no special thing about it, but probaly indicates territorial.

5 Indeed lance corp.

6 Nope!

My suggestion:

Maybe the one on the left is of the middlesex regiment. But at the studio of the photographer he putted on a kilt and a Balmoral (like he is wearing it, it looks like he is not used to wear it) just to wear the same as his Brothers. I know this happend with Belgian soldiers, serving infantry and cavalry... So why not with Brits???? What do you think of that Aurel?


have you noticed that the left one AND the central one have a round badge cloth on the top of their right arm, for them (and i think you can see shade of it on the right ones arm too).

So possibly the same regiment after all... very strange.


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Thanks for the reply.

It all makes sense, and confirms what I thought I saw.

Except, maybe the thought that one of the 3 brothers put on a kilt in order to resemble the other two brothers ... A bit farfetched ? OK, Belgian soldiers may have done that (I really have no idea), but somehow it's hard to imagine a British soldier doing that ? More regimental pride ?

And I had not noticed that round badge (cloth) on the upper arm...

I'll wait and see now if other Forum members come forward with useful ideas or suggestions.


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Except, maybe the thought that one of the 3 brothers put on a kilt in order to resemble the other two brothers ... A bit farfetched ? OK, Belgian soldiers may have done that (I really have no idea), but somehow it's hard to imagine a British soldier doing that ? More regimental pride ?

I agree,

but maybe this is an exception. But i don't think so. The uniforms, certainly with the badge + they all wear hose top flashes too, are to equal. They must be all 3 liverpool scottish.

Flashes were not so easy to find, as they disapeared on the battlefields.

I also discovered the kilts have some wear (the left one even a tiny hole in it).

Strange story, the picture is reallly not matching.

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Have you checked on SDGW to see if any of the brothers were transferred from the King's (Liverpool Scottish) after the photo was taken ?

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Yes, I have.

And none appeared to have transferred.

Maybe this gives me the opportunity to ask : if SDGW Supplementary Notes mention no transfer (Formerly etc ....), does that mean that indeed there was NO tranfer, i.e. that the man enlisted in that particular regiment and remained there until his death ?

Difficult question I know...


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The abscence of Transfers in SDGW is an indication,but I would rather confirm any possible transfers with the Medal Index Cards/Medal Rolls @ the National Archive; the SDGW are notoriously erronous.

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The badge on the arm is a divisional patch for the 55th West Lancashire Territorial division.

I would think it a little far fetched too that the chap on the left was not used to wearing the kilt. To begin with he is wearing a Forbes tartan kilt, which, if any of you have ever tried to find one, you will know is like hen's teeth. Secondly he has hose tops and gartars too. I can hardly imagine that a photographers would have the entire uniform in stock :)

The Tam's were made by all different manufacturers and so their design can be different. The touree on top is just a more tightly knitted and then trimmed version of the other two.

Hope that may help a litte,


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Thanks, Harry and Tim.

It certainly helps.

Meanwhile I am carrying on the research, and finding out more (the 3 men on the photo probably are not brothers, but relatives or friends ; and the man on the left fallen near St Julien (Ypres), 10/Liverpool Scottish, 31 July 1917.)

Thanks for teaching me a new expression too. ("As scarce as hen's teeth". Never seen that before. Not the expression, and not the teeth either... ;)


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