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KernelPanic

ASC Northumbrian Divisional Train Shoulder Title?

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KernelPanic

My GGF was in the ASC Horse Transport of the Northumbrian (50th) Divisional Train, which arrived in France in April 1915.

 

We have a couple of photos of him on horseback, which I've attached. From the address on the back of the postcards, they were most likely taken near Clacton on Sea.

 

His cap badge clearly looks ASC. But does anybody recognize the insignia on his left shoulder? Is it related to the  Northumbrian Division or a generic TF insignia?

The clarity is not good, but it's the best I could do in Photoshop.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

ASC insignia 5.jpg

ASC insignia 6.jpg

Edited by KernelPanic

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jay dubaya

I suspect it will be T/ASC/NORTHUMMBRIAN, I’ll post an image later 

 

J

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Dave1418

Hi

jay is correct with T/ASC/ NORTHUMBRIAN

however I can’t make out the T on the title 

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KernelPanic

I agree with Dave. I know the image is difficult to discern, but I would have thought a "T" of the same size and above the "ASC" should be apparent. The button even closer to his neck does seem clear.

 

Edit. However, looking more closely, I suppose the button could be a rivet or stud on the bandolier. 

Edited by KernelPanic
additional text

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KernelPanic

After taking a look at the tables in Ray Westlake's book (on Google Books), Northumbrian seems most likely, as jay says. 

I can't find an image of the T/ASC/Northumbrian title on the web, but this thread has a nice picture of what I assume is a similar ASC shoulder title. (From that thread, it seems like TF ASC shoulder titles are quite rare these days.)

 

It's a bit strange that the "T" on my GGF's title seems to be missing, but I assume it's just lost in the murk of the image. 

 

One other question. Is he wearing 'official' ASC riding boots and breeches? I presume there were such things.

 

Thanks.

Edited by KernelPanic

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Dave1418

Hi

its not that uncommon for the T to be removed. A lot of them were removed so as to look more like their regular counterparts 

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FROGSMILE

The enclosed ST at least shows how the base piece was configured.

 

It’s an especially good view of what later became known as a stable belt on the soldier holding the horse.  There were a variety of buckles, but the basic cotton canvas make-up is clear to see.

3743E5A5-EDA9-4E42-8295-34894F17A8F5.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE

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KernelPanic
On 26/03/2019 at 01:37, FROGSMILE said:

The enclosed ST at least shows how the base piece was configured.

 

It’s an especially good view of what later became known as a stable belt on the soldier holding the horse.  There were a variety of buckles, but the basic cotton canvas make-up is clear to see.

 

The density of the letters in my image does appear to match with your pic. And in mine there seems to be 3 letters in the part above the curved part.

 

Now you've pointed it out, the belt pattern is distinctive. I didn't realize that there were such things a regimental stable belts.  Given that this picture was most likely taken before he went to France in late April 1915, were regimental belts around at that time? Was this also the Northumbrian Division ASC?

 

On 25/03/2019 at 14:39, Dave1418 said:

its not that uncommon for the T to be removed. A lot of them were removed so as to look more like their regular counterparts 

 

Did TF soldiers do this because there was a second-class feeling for them? Was this openly expressed by regulars? I would have thought there would have been some sort of disciplinary penalty for defacing these things.

 

Some interesting stuff in these two pics.

Edited by KernelPanic

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FROGSMILE

The belts at that time were more commonly known as money or ditty belts, as they often had a pocket fastened by a stud within which folded money, loose change, a knife or even a pocket watch could be retained.  The term stable belt came later, because they were often used for holding trousers up during stable duty, when the unelasticated braces/suspenders, on very high waisted trousers were let drop, so as to unencumber the vigorous movement of the body associated with mucking out and other tasks involving physical labour.  Such belts were not made in Regimental colours at the time, but another type of belt known as a ‘girdle’ was and used by all parts of the RA and the ASC.  Later on these two items somehow morphed into one.  It was not until the 1950s that the vast panoply of belts became de rigeur.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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KernelPanic
Posted (edited)

Since I posted this question last year I've done some digging into my GGF's service during 1916. Locations have been tough to piece together because his service record doesn't exist. To cut a long story short, I now have strong grounds for thinking these pictures were taken in 1916 some months after he had been evacuated from Flanders. 

 

After leaving hospital in March 1916, I believe he was posted to the 2nd Provisional Brigade, possibly with the 222nd Infantry Brigade Train (ASC). This later became the 834 ASC Horse Transport Company. 

 

Many of the 2nd PB units were stationed in the Clacton area in 1916. The photos of my GGF were taken by Clacton photographer. Previously I had thought they were taken before his embarkation to France in 1915, but I could never figure out how or why the 50th Divsn was in the Clacton area in early 1915. Being with the 2nd PB in 1916 solves that puzzle.

 

With this in mind, any ideas about what his shoulder insignia might be? I'm now presuming they're not T/ASC/Northumbrian.

 

Thanks.

Edited by KernelPanic

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FROGSMILE

The secondary designation on the shoulder title, e.g. Northumbrian, London, East Anglian, W.Riding, etc. related directly to the TF ASC unit with which he was serving.  You would need to have some hint of that to be able to interpret what he is wearing.  Personally I thought that the original identification of his shoulder title was correct.

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KernelPanic
Posted (edited)

Yes, I agree with you that the original identification would be correct if he had been with the 50th, and the lo-res image certainly looks consistent with 'Northumbrian'. But the Clacton links with the 2nd Provisional Brigade and the photographer made me wonder what his shoulder title would have been IF he was with the 2nd Provisional Brigade at the time they were taken. Although he served in the 50th Divisional Train in 1915, he returned to England in Jan/Feb 1916, and as far as I know didn't return to the 50th. The new ASC service number given to him in September 1916 is consistent with him being in the 2nd PB at that time.

 

If I've correctly interpreted what I've read (certainly not a given), this brigade was one of those that was somewhat cobbled together in 1915/1916, and doesn't appear to have been associated with a particular first or second line Division. 

Edited by KernelPanic

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FROGSMILE
6 minutes ago, KernelPanic said:

Yes, I agree with you that the original identification would be correct if he had been with the 50th, and the lo-res image certainly looks consistent with 'Northumbrian'. But the Clacton links with the 2nd Provisional Brigade and the photographer made me wonder what his shoulder title would have been IF he was with the 2nd Provisional Brigade at the time they were taken. The new ASC service number given to him in September 1916 is consistent with him being in this brigade at that time.

 

If I've correctly interpreted what I've read (certainly not a given), this brigade was one of those that was somewhat cobbled together in 1915/1916, and doesn't appear to have been associated with a particular first or second line Division. 


There was no title reading ‘Provisional’, they were all regional.? If the ASC unit had no regional designation then I can only imagine a T over ASC with nothing else, and that’s clearly not what’s seen here.  Perhaps he was still wearing his old title, it depends how strict his unit was with regards to dress.

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KernelPanic
11 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:


There was no title reading ‘Provisional’, they were all regional.? If the ASC unit had no regional designation then I can only imagine a T over ASC with nothing else, and that’s clearly not what’s seen here.  Perhaps he was still wearing his old title, it depends how strict his unit was with regards to dress.

 

For what it's worth I recently had these photos colourised, and there's no doubt the title is consistent with ASC/Northumbrian (no T). So your last idea definitely has merit if the photos were take in 1916. 

Thanks again.

 

Untitled-1.jpg

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Grovetown
On 25/03/2019 at 21:39, Dave1418 said:

Hi

its not that uncommon for the T to be removed. A lot of them were removed so as to look more like their regular counterparts 

 

Then surely you'd have to remove the county designation too, as the regulars would have sported just plain ASC?

 

My take is, and this applies across the TF as a whole, is that Ts were either removed to avoid snagging on equipment; or bent/ snapped off as a result of snagging on equipment.

 

Cheers,

 

GT.

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FROGSMILE
On 23/05/2020 at 21:52, KernelPanic said:

 

For what it's worth I recently had these photos colourised, and there's no doubt the title is consistent with ASC/Northumbrian (no T). So your last idea definitely has merit if the photos were take in 1916. 

Thanks again.

 

Untitled-1.jpg


It’s quite feasible that the shoulder strap has folded in the view shown into the shape of a bridge and the T is just over the crest on the reverse slope out of sight.  If you examine the strap carefully you can just see the kink or distortion caused by the fold on the left side of the strap as you look.

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KernelPanic
Posted (edited)

This sounds reasonable. 

For reference, here's a photo of a complete TF ASC Northumbrian title. It does look a little complicated and maybe prone to breaking.

I know that the picture of my GGF was taken in the Clacton area. So most likely after he returned from Flanders and when he was part of the 2nd Provisional Brigade. So still having his Northumbrian title at that point looks likely.

 

Northum ASC shoulder.jpg

Edited by KernelPanic

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FROGSMILE
Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, KernelPanic said:

This sounds reasonable. 

For reference, here's a photo of a complete TF ASC Northumbrian title. It does look a little complicated and maybe prone to breaking.

I know that the picture of my GGF was taken in the Clacton area. So most likely after he returned from Flanders and when he was part of the 2nd Provisional Brigade. So still having his Northumbrian title at that point looks likely.

 

 

 

Bear in mind that when first issued, after 1908, these titles were not joined together as they later were.  They were joined (brased) together as a modification precisely because they were prone to individual parts being lost.  Even when separate they were kept together via a back plate and several cotter pins on the reverse side of the shoulder strap.  Within the unit, inevitably some men had the old type and some the new.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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