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Remembered Today:

The “Journey's End” Battalion: the 9th East Surrey in the Great Wa


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19 hours ago, J Lewis said:

The battalion did have some characters! I was interested to read in your book of the CO’s colourful past. I wonder whether a desire for some sort of redemption for his financial transgressions might have led him to be overly keen in getting his battalion into action?

I know he was doing his job as a professional soldier and for the greater good but I can’t help feeling that if he hadn’t found somewhere to cross the river my great uncle might have lived to Armistice Day. 

Funny how we still feel the ripples from stones thrown in the water a century ago.

 

 

You may be right, but I think a number of officers thought the Germans were weaker than they turned out to be, and seizing Haussy was a worthwhile operation.  As I recall, the River Selle at Haussy is surprisingly narrow, although relatively fast flowing. The attack by 9/E. Surrey and 8/R.W.K. went very well, and German resistance was weak, but the support from the 1/N. Staffords and the Coldstreamers proved ineffective. Moreover, the Germans were later able to call upon strong artillery support  and to bring up reinforcements for a counterattack from their Radfahrer Brigade.

Michael

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Forgive me for interjecting myself into this thread.  I have read the book which is one of the best unit histories I have come across, not least for the time spent examining the Battalions origins and for the research on its German opponents (so often left faceless in other histories).  My own specific interest centres on the village of Thames Ditton, about whose war dead I am preparing a memorial book.  Only one Thames Ditton man appears to have fallen in the 9th/East Surreys - Private WALTER EDWIN GRAY 2365 who fell in the units terrible introduction to action at Loos on 26 September 1915.  The village actually lost four other men in the same assault, but all were serving in another battalion, 8th/East Kent (the Buffs), which were of course part of the same Brigade.  Anything you might be able to add to supplement my knowledge would be gratefully received - I know little about Gray save that he was born at Weston Green, Thames Ditton and might have been living in Hersham at the time he attested.

 

Malcolm

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Thank you, Malcolm. The German  research was all down to my son, Andrew, who has since published a book on the Saxons in Flanders. 

Much as I'd like to help with Pte Gray, I can't offer much, and you may well  have this already. My copy of  'Soldiers Died' says he was born at Weston Green, Surrey, enlisted at Kingston, whilst living at Hersham. His serial number appears to indicate early enlistment- in 1914. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, so has no known grave. Unfortunately, I don't have an Ancestry subscription, so can't check if he has surviving 'Burnt' records, or any Effects record . However, Ancestry did indicate to me it had a family tree which could be his, showing him born 1897 and having married a Dorcas Isabel Amy Day. If he was known to be killed outright  there might be something  about him in the local paper following his death.  If he was posted 'missing'  then a mention, if any,  could be much later. Unfortunately, the battalion war diary, whilst it , unusually, lists O.R. casualties by name and category, only began doing so in 1916. For Loos it simply gives a total casualty list of 14 officers, naming them (the Regimental History adds two more), and 438 O.Rs. Many of these men would have been posted as 'missing', and it could take many months before the Army would recognise them as dead.

Michael

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Michael

 

Thank you for your helpful response.  I will let you know if I discover more about him.  Weston Green is part of Thames Ditton parish, but if he had moved to Hersham, it is not clear how he ended up on the church and village green memorials.  His parents may well have still been residents or his move away only short term.

 

Malcolm

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  • 4 weeks later...
On ‎04‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 18:29, J Lewis said:

The battalion did have some characters! I was interested to read in your book of the CO’s colourful past. I wonder whether a desire for some sort of redemption for his financial transgressions might have led him to be overly keen in getting his battalion into action?

I know he was doing his job as a professional soldier and for the greater good but I can’t help feeling that if he hadn’t found somewhere to cross the river my great uncle might have lived to Armistice Day. 

Funny how we still feel the ripples from stones thrown in the water a century ago.

 

 

My son, Andrew, has now found pictures from our 2009 visit to Haussy and Romeries. Here are a couple- a view down the street leading to the church at Haussy from the river, looking east, & the River Selle near the present bridge on that road.

Michael

20090517_Haussy4.jpg

20090517_Haussy6.jpg

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As I remember the village has a lot of original buildings and some visible bullet holes which can only be from autumn 1918. I was sure I'd photographed the latter but couldn't find any trace of them in the holiday pictures when I dug them up.

 

Note that there are now multiple bridges over the river, so the village doesn't quite match the period maps.

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  • 3 months later...

Can anyone help with the war record of my grandfather who received the M.M. whilst in the East Surrey 9th Battalion.

He had previously signed up in the Loyal North Lancashire regt.  

He  was a Sgt  J DINWOODIE 126457  whilst in the L.N.L then at some time (LNL disbanded 4/2/18) was transferred to the East Surrey 9th battalion, 72nd brigade, 24th division. Joining the E.S. as a corporal and rising to a SGT .

The M.M. shows his new number as 28796 and rank of Cpl. but no date as to when this was awarded.

The Gazette is very vague (listed 18/11/18 p13398 supplement also issue 31007)

James also won a boxing medal whilst in France 1918 at GHQ sch of P&RT.

The photograph attached shows  him standing on the right with 4 other SGT's. You can make out his ribbon for the M.M. above his left tunic pocket.

If anyone knows of his actions as to why he was awarded the M.M. or how I can find out, I have trawled the war diaries of E.S.to no avail .  

 

ANNEQ

 

james dinwoodie.jpg

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30 minutes ago, ANNEQ said:

Can anyone help with the war record of my grandfather who received the M.M. whilst in the East Surrey 9th Battalion.

He had previously signed up in the Loyal North Lancashire regt.  

He  was a Sgt  J DINWOODIE 126457  whilst in the L.N.L then at some time (LNL disbanded 4/2/18) was transferred to the East Surrey 9th battalion, 72nd brigade, 24th division. Joining the E.S. as a corporal and rising to a SGT .

The M.M. shows his new number as 28796 and rank of Cpl. but no date as to when this was awarded.

The Gazette is very vague (listed 18/11/18 p13398 supplement also issue 31007)

James also won a boxing medal whilst in France 1918 at GHQ sch of P&RT.

The photograph attached shows  him standing on the right with 4 other SGT's. You can make out his ribbon for the M.M. above his left tunic pocket.

If anyone knows of his actions as to why he was awarded the M.M. or how I can find out, I have trawled the war diaries of E.S.to no avail .  

 

ANNEQ

 

james dinwoodie.jpg

Anne

 

You might want to move this to the 'Soldiers' sub-forum, you would be more likely to get some help from there.

Paul

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I'm very sorry I can't help. There seems to be no comprehensive contemporary list of awards to the battalion. When I came to write my history of it, I was obliged to pick odd references out, principally from the regimental history by Pearse & Sloman. They omitted Sgt. Dinwoodie, so I did, too. Pearse & Sloman mention news of awards of MCs for Haussy being received on 15 November. I can only guess that this MM award may have been for the action at Haussy, too.

When did your grandfather leave the battalion, by the way? Do you have any more photos, etc, from his time with this unit?

I  have some photos from their service on the Rhine, from the collection of an officer/senior NCO whom I have not yet been able to identify.

Michael

 

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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I picked up this book yesterday in The Works at Dalton Park for £3. Off on two weeks hols next week to Cornwall, it and couple of other books I have been 'saving' are already in the bag.

 

Regards

Peter

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I purchased a copy in The Works, Neath, a few weeks back. Looks interesting. 

 

I'd not worry about the 'cut-down' price. My book on Great War Swansea was sold in the Swansea Works' shop at a discount. Pen and Sword call it 'special situations' I think. I wasn't too happy (I was still selling the 250 copies I had bought - now all gone) but its just the way of the book-selling world, I think.

 

Bernard

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So sad never to know what he was awarded this for. Looks like I may have to go with family stories of him capturing a machine gun. Like a lot of men, my grandfather never spoke of the war after his return home. Unfortunately I don't have any other photographs either. Thanks for responding, I'll carry on reading.

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  • 5 weeks later...
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  • 1 year later...

Sorry, Simon, I can't help much. The battalion war diary (available on line through the Surrey Infantry Regiments website) indicates the battalion was holding ground in the Mount Sorrel sector from 15-19 August, under some shellfire. A number of casualties were sustained, including your great uncle, who is listed as killed on 19 August. The regimental history has nothing, really, to add. In spite of the shelling being less than previously, the battalion still  lost 10 dead and 14 wounded on this tour.

As for photos, whilst a cousin has now produced two of my great uncle, I have only seen one of groups of O.Rs. in France, and that is of the Transport section.

Michael

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  • 2 years later...

I hope it's ok to resurrect this thread.  My great-grandfather, Lt QM CRE Birch, was in  the 9th E Surreys.  I have the book, which is wonderful.  There's a photo of the officers in it, taken in early 1917 I think, and I was wondering if he was in it.  There are a couple of possibles, I think.  He was caricatured by Pte Cole, and it's lovely to see the illustration.  Going by the features in the picture, I think he may be the 3rd from left, front row, stroking the dog.  Would that make sense?  I know many of those inn the photo have been identified, but I can't find any reference to the person I've mentioned.  CREB died of pneumonia in August 1917, and his grave is in Etaples.  He's also mentioned (briefly) in the "Frontline Medic" diaries. 

Interestingly, he was previously in the 1st Btn Connaught Rangers, and was colour sergeant at the Delhi Durbar in 1911.  He left the army in 1912 and joined the civil service (his name's on the Caxton St Roll of Honour).  He rejoined via the 13th E Surreys in 1915, I think.  They seem to have been the unit recruiting in Wandsworth, where he lived at the time.  The IWC citation doesn't mention his previous service - do you think they'd like that information?

 

Thanks for any help you can give me.

 

David 

CREB caricature.jpeg

2013-05-10 18.58.22.jpg

CREB Delhi Durbar.jpeg

Pirie26_9th-East-Surrey-Officers.jpg

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Hi, David,

Sorry, I think it more likely the officer stroking the dog is Swanton-previously the locum CO, and now the 2 in C. The man concerned rather resembles a picture I've seen of Swanton, and I'd expect as 2 in C he'd be sitting at the CO's right hand.

I don't know if the CWGC still accepts extra information on individuals. The only time I dealt with them was regarding a correction about a 9/E. Surrey  officer killed at Loos in 1915, but wrongly commemorated as killed in 1918.

Michael

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Hi @Birchy and welcome to the forum.

I could be mistaken but I think the officer sat front row third from left is a Captain - he has a later style uniform so rank is shown on the shoulder rather than the forearm.

As far as Charles Richard Eli Birch is concerned, the highest rank he served at in a Theatre of War according to his Medal Index Card was Lieutenant. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D1333018
Same rank on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission webpage: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/499090/charles-richard-eli-birch/
And the entry in the National Archive catalogue for his officers long papers. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1108580And the entry for him in the 1918 And the 1918 Probate calendar.

878075053_CharlesBirch1918ProbateCalendarentry.png.e8af5c0f83ca7c2f570d9e9c04d3a2c2.png

Image courtesy probatesearch service gov uk.

I've tried cropping the picture and tweaking it slightly to see if the rank becomes clearer - 3 pips for a Captain rather than 2 for a Lieutenant.

1677448921_Pirie26_9th-East-Surrey-OfficerssourcedGWFthreadBirchpossible.png.e1ab8373232286d221a72a7aafc0bf10.png

All image rights remain with the original source.

I see while I've been playing with the image:) an alternative identification has been suggested for a man that according to the war diary extract you have provided was a Lieutenant Colonel.

So is there any indication in the source of when this picture was taken?

Cheers,
Peter

 

Edited by PRC
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Thank-you so much for your replies.  The photo was in Michael Lucas's book, The Journey's End Battalion.  Sincere apologies for not attributing it. 

Your answers show how important it is to get expert opinions before jumping to conclusions!  Now I look at the cropped picture, the 3 pips are obvious.  And, according to Cole, my GGF had his insignia on his cuffs.  I did think he was sitting in a rather important position for a lieutenant, but that perhaps a quartermaster would have more time to look after a dog! 

My copy is currently in a box somewhere (along with Frontline Medic, which is possibly one of the most moving books I've read), after a move, so I can't remember whether this annotated version is from the book, or one I found on-line (there's also a sepia, un-annotated one). The annotated version was by Lieut Clark, who has indicated himself second from right on the front row.  There were only three other lieutenants at the time the photo was taken (April/March 1917, I think), Birch, Whiteman and Warre-Dymond (first left, front row), who was acting captain at the time.  

The only others in the photo who I think bear a resemblance to to Cole's caricatures are the chap named as Douglas in the almost back row, or the 2nd lieut, 3rd from the right in the 2nd row.  I'd love him to be in this photo, but it looks as though it'll have to be a process of elimination, and he may not have made the photoshoot!  I think Captain Pirie is in the photo - according to Cole he had dark hair and a moustache, so he may be far right front row.

Incidentally, aren't Pte Cole's caricatures brilliant?  2nd Lieut Lindsay and his little black and white dog (1st right, second row in the photo) is just lovely (link below)

2nd-Lt-William-Henry-Lindsay-MC.jpg (721https://i1.wp.com/www.rolandwales.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2nd-Lt-William-Henry-Lindsay-MC.jpg?resize=721%2C1024&ssl=1×1024) (wp.com)

Several other of my relatives were active in the Great War in other theatres so I look forward to contributing to the forums.  Thanks for all the responses so far!

 

David

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1 hour ago, Birchy said:

And, according to Cole, my GGF had his insignia on his cuffs. 

Something to bear in mind is that as an officer he had to pay for his own uniform and side arm, although he then received an allowance. If it was lost or damaged he would then have to source a replacement - so most went to war with at least one spare uniform. If a replacement uniform had to be sourced there is no guarantee an officer would have gone for the same style. The move to rank on the shoulders was driven in part by a need to drive down sniper losses - the cuff ranks making them too visible a target - so might be a desirable feature if a new uniform was being sought.

1 hour ago, Birchy said:

Incidentally, aren't Pte Cole's caricatures brilliant? 

Absolutely:)

1 hour ago, Birchy said:

2nd Lieut Lindsay and his little black and white dog (1st right, second row in the photo)

I could be mistaken but this man and the Captain sat in front of him appear to be wearing the medal ribbon of the Military Cross. The caricature even appears to be captioned Second Lieutenant William Henry Lindsay, MC. His Medal Index Card shows him as commissioned 5th August 1916, having previously served in the ranks with the Rifle Brigade. The citation for his Military Cross appeared in the Supplement to the London Gazette dated 12th March 1917. There is no reference to the award of the medal being gazetted in an earlier edition with the citation to follow. That would have been the earliest date that he could officially have worn the ribbon - and unofficial is very, very unlikely. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29981/supplement/2478/data.pdf

Just finishing off that transcribed officers roll from the end of the Battalion War Diary for March 1917 that you have partially posted, when Lt. Colonel De La Fontaine signed it off on the 3rd April 1917, the list includes under 2nd Lieutenants, W.H. Lindsay M.C.

407927436_Lastpage9thBattalionWarDiaryforMarch1917sourcedqrrachivecom.png.6556d0ead4c0290112fb497458356376.png

But going back to the equivalent at the end of the February 1917 War Diary, there is no reference to an M.C.

86656736_Lastpage9thBattalionWarDiaryforFebruary1917sourcedqrrachivecom.png.a8b063154cc770471b38d43a26cb4169.png

Both images courtesy the Queens Royal Regiment Archive. http://qrrarchive.websds.net/menu1.aspx?li=1

He was temporarily promoted to Captain while serving as the Battalion Adjutant from the 1st September 1917, with an underlying promotion to Lieutenant dated 5th February 1918. https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/103600082

So that one individual dates the picture to between the 12th March 1917 and the 31st August 1917. You know Lieutenant Birch died on the 12th August 1917 so that narrows it down a bit more.

Going from the War Diary entry you have posted the candidate for the Captain with an Military Cross would appear to be G.S. Tetley. And looking at the extract I posted from the February 1917 Nominal Roll of Officers, he is not shown there with an M.C.
From his MiC that would appear to be Gerald Spence Tetley. I couldn't readily track down his London Gazette entry for his MC award, but while searching the internet I came across an summary of entries of military awards for men like Gerald who had a connection to Ilkley. The local newspaper in its edition of the 29th June 1917 noted that "Wounded 17/6/1917 & right leg amputated below knee - going on well. Wounded twice before."http://digital.library.leeds.ac.uk/34017/4/504836_004.pdf

The June 1917 Battalion War Diary records him as wounded on the 16th. So if it can be confirmed as Gerald Tetley then the period when the photograph could have been taken narrows down yet again.

2 hours ago, Birchy said:

There were only three other lieutenants at the time the photo was taken (April/March 1917, I think), Birch, Whiteman and Warre-Dymond (first left, front row), who was acting captain at the time. 

There is also a C.A. Clark according to the list at the end of the February and March 1917 War Diary entries, but the problem is then that he too has the M.C. and has gained it since the list at the end of the February 1917 entry. But looks like only two M.C.'s in the group photograph.

Which brings up another issue. If Birch was awarded the Delhi Durbar medal, then I'd expect to see the ribbon on his jacket if present. As with the MC ribbon it is possible that some of the positions of the heads may obscure the relevant part of the jacket on the man standing behind, and the Delhi Durbar medal ribbon may not have been the easiest to procure, particularly if a replacement jacket was being worn. But as a Quartermaster he would have been in an ideal position to secure access to a supply. On that basis alone I'm leaning towards him not being present.

However beyond the very basics, the whole uniform \ medal ribbon area is something I have not great knowledge of, but have tried to absorb the input of forum members like @FROGSMILE and others over the years. I'm not aware of any insignia unique to an Officer Quartermaster, or alternative candidates for the medal ribbons on display - but there may be :)

Cheers,
Peter

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My take on the photo is that the officer stroking the dog is indeed a captain (I too can just about make out 3-rank stars), and I would happily wager that he is the Adjutant sat at the right hand of the officer commanding the battalion (‘commanding officer’ not commonly used at that time).  On the left side of the latter is I believe the Quarter-master, as per usual a much older man yet of just subaltern rank (one cuff ring) with medal ribbons and a comfortable midriff representing his hard won experience in acreage.  Looking at his facial features it seems possible that this is Birch, but looking more portly and a little older than in his caricature.
Battalion second-in-commands were invariably Majors (other than when temporarily replaced if becoming casualties) and indeed, in very ‘traditional’ regiments known by the original title of ‘the senior major’ (i.e. of two on historical infantry battalion establishments).  There is a distinct pecking order when such photos of a battalion’s officers are organised and if the 2i/c is missing then his place on the left side of the battalion’s colonel would commonly be taken by the QM.  The Adjutants place at the right hand of his colonel (as personal staff officer) was sacrosanct if he was present.  This was so ingrained that no one needed to say anything and these central officers would take their positions without needing any direction**.  I hope that helps.

**these protocols were not so rigid as to be set in concrete, but they were the regular army way of doing things since the early days of commercial photography became entwined with regimental routines.  They were thus extremely common and well established throughout the Army, with auxiliary units having been influenced by their regular permanent staff.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:

There is a distinct pecking order when such photos of a battalion’s officers are organised and if the 2i/c is missing then his place on the left side of the battalion’s colonel would commonly be taken by the QM.  The Adjutants place at the right hand of his colonel (as personal staff officer) was sacrosanct if he was present.  This was so ingrained that no one needed to say anything and these central officers would take their positions without needing any direction**.  I hope that helps.

Sorry to labour the point, but I assume we are talking left and right from the officer commandings perspective, not the viewers?

It's just that according to the OP, the picture was annotated by Lieutenant Clark, (the Battalion Adjutant as least as far as the March and April 1917 War Diary entries are concerned), and he has shown himself on the Lieutenant-Colonels' left hand, (to the right as we view the picture).

629045950_Pirie26_9th-East-Surrey-OfficersLtClark.png.cbbf15dff527ddeea5d1e82cad258d42.png

All image rights remain with the original source.

Looking at the medal ribbons, is it possible that the one on the left hand end as we look at it is a Military Cross ribbon? I'm starting to wonder if the presentation of three Military Cross awards might have been the prompt for the picture to be taken, with all three officers effectively forming a small group in the picture and so breaking with the traditional placement of the Adjutant that you have set out.

Cheers,
Peter

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4 hours ago, PRC said:

Sorry to labour the point, but I assume we are talking left and right from the officer commandings perspective, not the viewers?

It's just that according to the OP, the picture was annotated by Lieutenant Clark, (the Battalion Adjutant as least as far as the March and April 1917 War Diary entries are concerned), and he has shown himself on the Lieutenant-Colonels' left hand, (to the right as we view the picture).

629045950_Pirie26_9th-East-Surrey-OfficersLtClark.png.cbbf15dff527ddeea5d1e82cad258d42.png

All image rights remain with the original source.

Looking at the medal ribbons, is it possible that the one on the left hand end as we look at it is a Military Cross ribbon? I'm starting to wonder if the presentation of three Military Cross awards might have been the prompt for the picture to be taken, with all three officers effectively forming a small group in the picture and so breaking with the traditional placement of the Adjutant that you have set out.

Cheers,
Peter

Yes, as in at his, the officer commanding’s right hand, as that was the common reference.  The Adjutant was the colonel’s/ officer commanding’s right hand man….etc, etc.

I’m strongly of the view that there’s been a misinterpretation, or transposition, and that the portly, much older and profusely decorated (with medal ribbons), but still junior (subaltern) officer is almost certainly the QM.  

An Adjutant had to carry his commanding officer’s authority and was commonly a senior captain who could hold his own and convey authority with the officers commanding companies, most of whom were also captains.  This would be even more important where a company is commanded by a major, as one or more sometimes were.  Nevertheless, there were occasions when senior subalterns took on the role of Adjutant when the individual concerned was considered well suited.

I do not think that the placement has been altered.  The officer stroking the dog (captain or lieutenant not 100% clear due to blurred shoulder rank) has no ribbons at all, unlike Birch (who we know was a former regular colour sergeant), nor does he have any of the visual characteristics I’ve mentioned as being common markers of a ranker officer risen to QM.  Incidentally, for those interested in ranker officers I recommend this unpublished, but well researched university thesis: https://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7822/1/Deeks17PhD.pdf

Edited by FROGSMILE
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In correspondence with Roland Wales (who wrote an excellent biography of Sherriff), we came to the conclusion that the following identifications could be made, additional to those in JEB:

front row, extreme right Captain Tetley; 

second row,  4th left D.L. Hatten; 6th left  T.E.S. Reynolds (both identified by Roland from a Sherriff letter referring to the photo) ; extreme right (with small dog)W.H. Lindsay;

third row, third from left H. W. Kiver (killed 17 April 1917).

There are caricatures of a number of these officers at Surrey History Centre, including Clark, Tetley and Lindsay. (see 'Stand To! Nos. 101-102.)

I think Clark is the officer sitting on the CO's left. He looks like his caricature and won the MC on the Somme. He was still a lieutenant in early 1917. An ex-ranker, he would have been around 40 at this time. 

Until de la Fontaine's return as CO, Swanton had been the unpopular acting CO. He was only  in his late 20's, had been serving with another battalion, which could account for the shoulder rank, and I don't think he had any decorations. He may have been a substantive captain, although later was listed as a major.

The photo seems to have been taken soon after de la Fontaine's return in March

Michael

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In theory if it was taken before he was killed in action on the 16th August 1917, that commanding officer should be Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Victor Mottet De La Fontaine.

While there doesn't appear to be a surviving caricature of him by Private Cole, there are couple of pictures of him in the Surrey in the Great War website, which I've borrowed for comparison purposes. https://www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk/category/military/army/esr/?post_type=story

1961069923_HenryDeLaFontainePanelv1.png.f6c1534bed6c08a3d3bf241d862f07ec.png

All image rights remain with the original sources.

Juries out for me on whether they are all the same man  - perhaps there's a drooping left eyelid that seems to become more pronounced with age, but with the picture resolutions available it could just be wishful thinking on my part.

There is a page on Private Cole's caricatures here - https://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/people/writers/sherriff/original-cast/

It also includes a group picture taken just before the Battalion annual reunion dinner in 1930, when Sherriff treated 130 officers and men to a showing of Journeys End, and then took them backstage afterwards to inspect the "dugout" used as a setting. Captain Clark, M.C., is centre of the group. https://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/people/writers/sherriff/original-cast/

Cheers,
Peter
 

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13 minutes ago, EastSurrey said:

In correspondence with Roland Wales (who wrote an excellent biography of Sherriff), we came to the conclusion that the following identifications could be made, additional to those in JEB:

front row, extreme right Captain Tetley; 

second row,  4th left D.L. Hatten; 6th left  T.E.S. Reynolds (both identified by Roland from a Sherriff letter referring to the photo) ; extreme right (with small dog)W.H. Lindsay;

third row, third from left H. W. Kiver (killed 17 April 1917).

There are caricatures of a number of these officers at Surrey History Centre, including Clark, Tetley and Lindsay. (see 'Stand To! Nos. 101-102.)

I think Clark is the officer sitting on the CO's left. He looks like his caricature and won the MC on the Somme. He was still a lieutenant in early 1917. An ex-ranker, he would have been around 40 at this time. 

Until de la Fontaine's return as CO, Swanton had been the unpopular acting CO. He was only  in his late 20's, had been serving with another battalion, which could account for the shoulder rank, and I don't think he had any decorations. He may have been a substantive captain, although later was listed as a major.

The photo seems to have been taken soon after de la Fontaine's return in March

Michael

Thank you Michael, with the in depth information that you’ve compiled, and in particular Clark’s background and age as a former ranker, I concede that your identification must be correct and that he’s sat to the left hand of the colonel as Peter suggested.  I suppose that leaves still open the question of which officer in the photo is Birch, the QM.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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