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Remembered Today:

Pre-War Cloth Shoulder Titles, Rank and Insignia photos.


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Toby Brayley
Posted (edited)

With regards Sjts only being appointed "assistant instructor of signals", as we have seen in this very thread, there's a plethora of available evidence that this wasn't the case. We have seen L/Cpls and Cpls with crossed flags above chevrons, to me that would indicate NCO assistant instructors of various rank/appointments. 

 

637240595_GlouSigs5.jpg.4724ef406ddabb4aa475df559a3da64a.jpg

 

Back to crimson sashes. Here is a wonderful original watercolour, from a series depicting life in a Militia Btn of the KOYLI, that I have now framed.  I know it is an artwork but CM Fall (the artist) eye for detail is just superb and pretty much flawless in these works. There is no doubt here, that the sash is depicted as crimson.  If we take a look at the contemporary works of Harry Payne, Ibbetson, Holloway etc similar is depicted. All artwork I know, but our only colour references aside from the original sashes. 

 

It would appear the scarlet Sjts sash is a post  Great War introduction. I have lots of pre 1914 evidence of it listed as crimson, but post c1920 it all seems to be scarlet. 

 

 

1101785821_OEOrig2.jpg.5b8fa5e5b72cb3f35c8daa074ae0ac14.jpg

 

*edited*  for awful SPAG! 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Toby Brayley
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Muerrisch

Toby, this thread refers, with lots of flags over chevrons: 

There were usually several assistant instructor-qualified men in a unit and, given the 1914 Establishment, very likely a sergeant [or lance-sergeant], a corporal and a lance-corporal. Clothing Regs 1914 quote AO 275/1912 :

"a signaller, if a colour-sergeant, will wear the Signaller's badge on the left arm above the elbow. Non-commissioned officers and men employed as signallers, but who have not the assistant instructors certificate will, while so employed, wear the badge below the elbow".

 

With regard to sash colour in [I stress] our period there seems little doubt that, whereas the material for staff and WO sashes was superior to that of sergeants, the colour was [reflectivity aside] very similar, and nearer to crimson than in modern times.

The thread below refers. NB see the OP sergeant portrait below and see how much paler the sash is than the scarlet tunic. Crimson has some blue content, so paleness, a property of blue in ortho film, confirms crimson.

 

Edited by Muerrisch
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FROGSMILE

I concur entirely with the comments of Muerrisch, albeit my own examination of old sashes has always shown a degree of variance in the shade between a sergeants worsted sash and the silken, herringbone weave type worn by staff sergeants and warrant officers (the latter after 1881).  To be an Assistant Instructor of Signals one had to be certificated.  See: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/287737-british-and-australian-sergeants-at-st-valery-sur-somme-june-1917/?tab=comments#comment-2970390

 

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Muerrisch

A few snippets to add to the Forum knowledge of signals and signallers in our period.

The first is a group of 2nd RWF India or Burmah c. 1910, with two officers and 43 other ranks.

 

In the context of the album, it is "The Signallers", a very large group considering that the Establishment was 16 men ["The Band" and "The Drums" are similarly very well manned indeed].

The CO is Lt Col Delme-Ratcliffe, who took the battalion to the Great War. With him is the Signalling Officer, and two sergeants [or lance-sergeants] and a corporal, all three with the assistant-instructor qualification. There are three lance-corporals, qualified as signallers but not to instruct. Glimpses of signaller qualification and many GCBs can be seen on others, together with the tools of the trade: flags, heliograph, lamp, telescope etc.

These men were an elite, numerate, literate and capable of learning a difficult skill.

I have similar group photos taken in India, all showing a big interest by units to train up a big pool of signallers.

43 signallers.png

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Muerrisch

Secondly I have looked at 1894 Clothing Regs to confirm that colour sergeants, if qualified as signallers, were to wear crossed signals flags on the left arm, as per the 1914 regulations. We may reasonably assume that the ruling applied throughout 1894 to 1914.

The senior signaller [other than the officer] was titled "Sergeant-Assistant Instructor of Signalling". The Victorians did like their capital letters.

 

By kind permission of Toby Brayley I can show a VF /TF Rifles colour sergeant marksman [the crown may be "George"], with a pragmatic positioning of his instructor appointment badge, and he is also senior NCO of best shooting company, with at least three of five/ four-year stars. There is no "Proficient" SNCO four-point star, which is suggestive of TF rather than VF ..... or he ran out of room on his sleeve.

I leave it to others to identify the unit and to attempt to date it more precisely.

Picture2.png

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FROGSMILE

He’s a CSgt of the 1st Nottinghamshire Rifle Volunteer Corps, wearing black patent leather belt with blackened mounts, including crowned Maltese cross belt plate badge, circular boss with applied design of Arms of Nottingham, to which is attached the whistle and chains.  The officers’ version had silver mounts.  They became a Volunteer Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters and were known as the Robin Hood Rifles.  Post 1908, 7th Bn Notts & Derby Regt (TF).

 

2C0342DF-F259-4B93-A90A-1452F9DFDF03.jpeg

DB5D519C-7871-4F58-BF8B-CF375824BE45.jpeg

 

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Andrew Upton
3 hours ago, Muerrisch said:

A few snippets to add to the Forum knowledge of signals and signallers in our period.

The first is a group of 2nd RWF India or Burmah c. 1910, with two officers and 43 other ranks...

 

Grumpy - a little easier on the eye with a few tweaks I hope:

 

953087462_43signallers.png.0c677d98bb909190c91ce06fdb44d0b8.png

 

Edited by Andrew Upton
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Chris Mantell

I have been trying to date this photo and was interested in your post relating to pillbox cap in the group photo. The photo is of William Bryce from Glasgow but it’s a common name in the family! Would you have a view? Could this be post WW1? Any help with identifying the regiment and possible era would be much appreciated. 

AF94677A-1A40-420B-89FF-572B1A8B8F6D.jpeg

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FROGSMILE

Pill box forage caps were phased out around the time of the 2nd Anglo/Boer War 1899-1902.  In the years immediately after the war a programme began to replace them with the kind of peaked forage caps still worn today.  I would date your photo to the period mentioned.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Chris Mantell

Thank you so much for your rapid answer!  It does confirm my initial thought. Is the chain-link on the shoulder pads indicative of the unit/ regiment?  Thanks again. 

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FROGSMILE
2 hours ago, Chris Mantell said:

Thank you so much for your rapid answer!  It does confirm my initial thought. Is the chain-link on the shoulder pads indicative of the unit/ regiment?  Thanks again. 

The link formed ‘shoulder chains’ were a feature of both, regular and auxiliary (yeomanry) cavalry at that time, and also horse artillery.  They were intended to protect the shoulders from a downward cut from native swords, and were a tradition started by the cavalry regiment raised by Sam Browne, the 2nd Punjab Irregular Cavalry. 

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Toby Brayley

 

On 11/03/2021 at 18:12, FROGSMILE said:

He’s a CSgt of the 1st Nottinghamshire Rifle Volunteer Corps, .......

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for that! Here's another of the same chap, but in a frock  and sans accoutrements! 

 

963193157_CSjtAssSignal2.jpg.e08cc640e7488257d7239a2f2d6fede1.jpg

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FROGSMILE
1 hour ago, Toby Brayley said:

 

 

Thank you for that! Here's another of the same chap, but in a frock  and sans accoutrements! 

 

That’s an especially nice photo of a later pattern frock Toby, slightly unusual with its twisted shoulder cords, although there was a period when they were popular as you know.  Being a TF unit the procurement of uniform by County Associations often stepped away from regular army patterns.  Thank you for posting.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Muerrisch

Toby, thank you, an excellent follow-up. 

 

Is he VF in the first version and TF in the second ?................. the absence of the 4 point proficiency star in both portraits may mean little or nothing, but, in itself, suggests TF

The badges and accoutrements in the first portrait may be heritage [and expensive] items carried over in 1908. The medal ribbon may help in dating, but I cannot identify it, and it may be there but obscured in the first portrait.

 

As ever,  matters of minutiae to ponder.

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Toby Brayley
25 minutes ago, Muerrisch said:

Toby, thank you, an excellent follow-up. 

 

Is he VF in the first version and TF in the second ?................. the 

 

I couldn't call it either way, but as you said previously the KC places it firmly into the 1900s. The medal, in both images, appears to be the Volunteer Long Service Medal, instituted in 1894.  :-) 

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FROGSMILE
14 hours ago, Toby Brayley said:

 

I couldn't call it either way, but as you said previously the KC places it firmly into the 1900s. The medal, in both images, appears to be the Volunteer Long Service Medal, instituted in 1894.  :-) 

Muerrisch makes a good point.  On balance I think it probably just about predates 1908 and the TF, as the cap badge on his field service cap still appears to be the RHR stylised monogram (the regiment’s central device) surmounted by a crown.  So perhaps a couple of years after the 2nd Boer War.

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