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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Who are these Foreign Officers?


Kimberley John Lindsay
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Dear GWFs,

I received this photo from the swag of the late W. D. Stewart.

He was a former Planter and 2Lt., Surma Valley Light Horse, who left India after eighteen years of tea planting, for the Transvaal.

He took part in the closing months of the Boer War, as a Trooper in the Scottish Horse, and finally left South Africa to return to Scotland. At an advanced age, he offered his services in the First War, and was with an Ammunition Column, in command of Indian troops, in France, 1918.

Perhaps eagle-eyed Great War Forum members can identify the scene...Unidentified via W. D. Stewart.jpg

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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Looks to be unusual headgear and length of tunic for the soldier on the extreme right, perhaps Indian cavalry?

Presence of a civilian and French officer?

Looks very elaborate uniform for a 2nd Lieutenant, so presumably he's not in the photo, and may be Indian rather than British Army.

Could this be at the Delhi Durbar? Is it definitely WW1?

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Thoughts.

 

The two principal characters facing the camera seem to be French and Russian (or one of the other Slav nations).

The man on the extreme right wearing a frock coat seems to be German - he wears a pickelhaube.

 

The equipment being worn and carried - binoculars by the "Russian",  dispatch case (?) by the Frenchman - and the presence of Germans gives me a strong sense of the  photograph showing observers at pre-1914 manoeuvres.

 

The flag (horizontal tricolour with light/white central band and a superimposed crest) could be Austrian or Hungarian.

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Dear Kevin, dear David, dear Stoppage,

Many thanks for responding, and I am inclined to agree with (the very observant) Stoppage Drill.

Kindest regards,

Kim. 

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I did think "pickelhaube" but the frock coat threw me and made me assume the spike was from the marquee behind him.

For what it's worth, his belt looks very similar to the officer in the lighter uniform, so German as well?

Perhaps I watch too much Deep Space Nine, to see Jemadars!

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The chap on the extreme left is wearing a fez, I think (though there is some damage in that area of the image). You can see the tassle on the right side. Albanian ? Bosnian/Herzegovinian ?

 

On the face of it, there seem to be officers of four nations here, plus the bloke in plain clothes wearing a beaver hat.

 

What I described as a "dispatch case" could well be a sketch pad, which would make sense for observers at manoeuvres.

 

Maybe transferring this to the Uniforms, Cap Badges and Insignia Forum might attract the interest of the uniform experts.

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15 hours ago, KevinBattle said:

Could this be at the Delhi Durbar?

I don't think so.

The site of the durbar was Coronation Park, which is a flat park in Delhi, which is itself a pretty flat city.

I think the photo is suggestive of rolling hills in the near distance, with the suggestion of some mountains further away.

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Man on right is either Russian or Serb (check his striped belt). 

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I'm pretty sure the Russian is Col. (later Maj.Gen.) Viktor Alekseyevich Artamonov/Artamonoff, the Russian Military Attaché in Greece 1907-09 and in Serbia 1909-18.

 

I thought the Frenchman might be Pierre Victor Fournier, who was the French Military Attaché in Serbia from June 1912.
But the man in your photo is (I think?) only a captain, while Fournier was already a major (chef d'escadron of artillery) after 1907, lieutenant-colonel from Dec. 1912, and full colonel from Dec. 1914.

 

Together with a German and what looks very much like an Albanian officer, it looks like it might be a group of international observers during the Balkan Wars.
Or maybe something to do with the international commission, headed by Fournier, which established the northern border of Albania in late 1913 and spring 1914.

 

For comparison...

Artamonoff in Salonika, 1916 [culture.gouv.fr]

artamonoff in salonika.jpg

 

Fournier (left), Artamonoff (right) and a British officer in Serbia [can't remember where I found this photo!]

fournier and artamonoff.jpg

 

Fournier (centre) with Serbian officers and the war correspondent Alain de Penennrun at Prince Alexander's HQ at Gradište, July 1913 [L'Illustration, No.3674, 26/7/13]

fournier 1913.jpg

 

Adrian

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Dear Ken, Adrian, madgarry, KGB, Dai and Stoppage, 

Many thanks for your kind and creative collective gaze at this - I agree - probably 1913 "Officers Only" get-together (aka manoevres).

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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Man on far left Bulgarian (?!) 

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