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Uniform Identification please.


Guest Larkspur58
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Guest Larkspur58

I believe my great uncle was in the Hussars or Lancers and later in the 2nd Batt. Suffolk Regiment. Could someone please identify these uniforms as being from one of those regiments please. He was killed on 2nd March 1916, "by the bursting of shells".post-117642-0-76859300-1415786481_thumb.

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I believe my great uncle was in the Hussars or Lancers and later in the 2nd Batt. Suffolk Regiment. Could someone please identify these uniforms as being from one of those regiments please. He was killed on 2nd March 1916, "by the bursting of shells".attachicon.gifALEXANDER ANTCLIFFE (2) (800x599).jpg

Both photos show a Hussar. I think the 20th Hussars. Photo right is full dress and photo left is field marching order. Both around 1913-14 time.

Formed in 1858, the 2nd Bengal European Light Cavalry was one of the regiments of the British Honourable East India Company (HEIC) that was taken over by the Crown in the same year, in the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny. It was renamed the 2nd Bengal European Cavalry in 1859; and in 1862, while based in Muttra, it was transferred to the British Army and renamed the 20th Hussars. Upon its arrival in the United Kingdom in 1872, the 20th were first stationed at Colchester and then at Aldershot where, in 1874, it received official recognition of its status as descendants of the old 20th Light Dragoons, which was disbanded in 1819, and therefore entitled to the battle honour "Peninsula" which had been awarded to that regiment.

When war broke out the 20th Hussars were in Colchester, where they had been since 1911. They were one of the three regiments making up the 5th Cavalry Brigade commanded by Brig-Gen Sir Philip Chetwode, who rose to the command of XX Corps, and after the war became C-in-C India and Field Marshal. The regiment arrived in France on 18th August (‘A' Squadron arrived the previous day). The Cavalry Division was formed on mobilization but the 5th Cavalry Brigade was an independent brigade until transferred to the newly formed 2nd Cavalry Division in September 1914. The regiment served on the Western Front for the rest of the war, remaining in 5th Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division. The regiment was in it right from the start - Mons and the Retreat, the Marne and the Aisne and all the way through to the armistice. Twenty-four Battle Honours were awarded and the dead numbered 11 officers and 205 other ranks (Soldiers Died).

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Larkspur

Welcome to the Forum!

I find Hussar Full Dress Uniforms very difficult to indentify from black and white photographs, although it dates from 1908 due to the fact he has a 1908 Pattern Cavalry Troopers Sword.

The photograph of him in Service Dress, is typical Cavalry/Mounted Soldier due to his puttees being tied at the bottom and spurs. His cap badge is not very clear and it would be good if you could post a close up scan of this. However, I believe that the badge is a Crown above lettering/numerals such as that worn by the 20th Hussars.

What is the Man's name?

Sepoy

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20th looks good to me, too, but if you could zoom in on the cap badge on the left-hand photo that would confirm it.

Presumably he was killed with the Suffolks?

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I have just noticed his name, in Frogsmile's post (curse he beat me to the line :) )

19252 Private Alexander Antcliffe, 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Born in 1897, the son of George Henry and Margaret Antcliffe, of Caunton, Newark, Notts.
Enlisted in the 20th Hussars (numbered 11070) during March,1914.
Killed in action on 2nd March, 1916 and buried in the OOSTTAVERNE WOOD CEMETERY, Flanders.

Sepoy

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Colouration of his full dress.


Collar and cuffs (facings).

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I believe my great uncle was in the Hussars or Lancers and later in the 2nd Batt. Suffolk Regiment. Could someone please identify these uniforms as being from one of those regiments please. He was killed on 2nd March 1916, "by the bursting of shells".attachicon.gifALEXANDER ANTCLIFFE (2) (800x599).jpg

I feel especially sad about Alexander's story, as I think that I know what probably happened to him.

The infantry of the BEF were very battered in 1914 and many battle casualty replacements were required urgently. Some came via drafts from regimental depots but others came by combing out the cavalry who had suffered less.

Alexander would not have wanted to leave his mates, but no doubt a call went out for "volunteers" to transfer to the infantry, probably on the basis of a sergeant saying 'you, you and you'...report to the Adjutant. Alexander had only joined the 20th Hussars in 1914 and so would still have been seen as a new boy. The older hussars would have known to steer well clear of the infantry, Alexander would not. When volunteers were called for it is very likely that the principle of 'last in, first out' would have applied and that in a sense Alexander was sacrificed by his cavalry regiment for 'the greater good'.

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Guest Larkspur58

Many thanks for all the very helpful replies.

From the CWGC I found that Alexanders name was removed from the Menin Gate Memorial 4 2 37 and he was buried in Oostaverne Wood. There is a map reference as to where his body was found along with two others and Alexander was identified by his "Dam:Disc and Coin" In Caunton Church is a memorial scroll written by the vicar and he says " He was in the Machine gun section of the 2nd Suffolk Regiment and was killed by the bursting of shells"

Charles, the elder brother also served but was with the Royal Engineers Railway division, he came home safely.

My grandfather, Alexander's brother joined the 15th 19th Hussars in 1921 at the age of 18. By 1927 he was in Cairo.

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