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Smith-Dorrien inspecting BTC


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Anthony Pigott

There's a photo I've not seen before on eBay entitled "Old Photo 1916 Sir H Smith dorien Inspects Members Of The Btc" sic. It's clearly S.D. but does anyone know who/what the BTC was?
Thanks.


Anthony

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/RMQAAOSw5IZeXJre/s-l1000.jpg

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FROGSMILE
13 minutes ago, Anthony Pigott said:

There's a photo I've not seen before on eBay entitled "Old Photo 1916 Sir H Smith dorien Inspects Members Of The Btc" sic. It's clearly S.D. but does anyone know who/what the BTC was?
Thanks.


Anthony

 

 

I think that it's a typographic error for OTC, meaning the Officer Training Corps (in this case Junior Division).  The JD were the college boys and the Senior Division those at University (or equivalent).  If you knew the location you could probably work out the college concerned.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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The captioner may have been trying to describe the OTC of a particular area or school beginning with 'B', so B**** Training Corps'. There is a variety of potential. Schools: Bristol Grammar? Blundells? King's Bruton? The captain accompanying might give us a clue. No medals, but he looks quite young/deployable, so say 1914? Royal Artillery? RWF?

Wikipedia tells us that 'In 1914, the Public Schools Officers' Training Corps annual camp was held at Tidworth Pennings, near Salisbury Plain. Lord Kitchener was to review the cadets, but the imminence of the war kept him elsewhere, and Smith-Dorrien was sent instead ...'. A possibility?

Moonraker may be along soon to comment!

Acknown

Edited by Acknown
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FROGSMILE

He’s a captain which at that time implied some service in and yet he’s devoid of medal ribbons, which makes a regular officer less likely.  It does seem quite feasible that the scene is from the 1914 OTC Camp.

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The officer may have been a member of the school staff. Sutton Valence School did not form its OTC until 1915 (see: https://issuu.com/suttonvalenceschool/docs/ccf_book_october_2014) and when it did, it was 'officered by the headmaster [W W Holdgate], Messrs Bridges and Dodds.' It is not clear that any of these gentlemen had previous military experience. It appears that a 'professional Army instructor  .... Sergeant-Major Morey' arrived in 1917.

Acknown

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FROGSMILE
25 minutes ago, Acknown said:

The officer may have been a member of the school staff. Sutton Valence School did not form its OTC until 1915 (see: https://issuu.com/suttonvalenceschool/docs/ccf_book_october_2014) and when it did, it was 'officered by the headmaster [W W Holdgate], Messrs Bridges and Dodds.' It is not clear that any of these gentlemen had previous military experience. It appears that a 'professional Army instructor  .... Sergeant-Major Morey' arrived in 1917.

Acknown


Yes, I think that epitomises the situation of most college corps, although a few had teachers with militia, or volunteer force experience.  The schools/colleges also provided opportunities for retired regular army sergeants to be employed as drill and musketry instructors too.  It was a good time for retired soldiers in that sense.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I believe that General S-D inspected the OTC camp at Tidworth in Aug 14. He also inspected his old school Harrow's OTC on 15 Jun 14. Another possibility. But that doesn't help with the 'B'. I wonder who the gent in the topper is.

Acknown

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According to Getty Images who own the copyright it's 20th October 1916: Sir H Smith-Dorien inspects members of the BTC at Dulwich College, an English public school in south-east London. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images). For anyone interested I used Bing's reverse image search to find this https://www.bing.com/visualsearch?FORM=ILPVIS 

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FROGSMILE

If it was an International Press Agency image originally I wonder if they referred to it as a British Training Corps (BTC).  It certainly isn’t an immediately familiar acronym in the context that we see it.

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FROGSMILE
1 hour ago, ajsmith said:

Or maybe Boy's Training Corps.


Yes, I suppose that’s a possibility too.  It seems odd for a press news agency to use such an acronym without explaining it.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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13 hours ago, ajsmith said:

I used Bing's reverse image search

Thanks, that's a useful tool that I have saved for future use. As it's Dulwich College in 1916, I propose that the 'gent in topper' is the then Master, George Smith. His portrait on this site: https://dulwichcollege1914-18.co.uk/essay/life-at-dulwich-college-1914-1919/ is very much of a likness. The website states that 'He led the College through the war years and later described his first five years as ‘one long nightmare [of] anxiety, strain and sorrow.’

The captain is harder to pin down. With no medals, I suspect he was a member of the College staff. FMP subscribers may be able to find him on 'London, Dulwich College Register 1619-1926'.

Any Old Alleynians out there?

Acknown

The collar badge might be Royal London Fusiliers.

Edited by Acknown
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FROGSMILE
13 minutes ago, Acknown said:

Thanks, that's a useful tool that I have saved for future use. As it's Dulwich College in 1916, I propose that the 'gent in topper' is the then Master, George Smith. His portrait on this site: https://dulwichcollege1914-18.co.uk/essay/life-at-dulwich-college-1914-1919/ is very much of a likness. The website states that 'He led the College through the war years and later described his first five years as ‘one long nightmare [of] anxiety, strain and sorrow.’

The captain is harder to pin down. With no medals, I suspect he was a member of the College staff. FMP subscribers may be able to find him on 'London, Dulwich College Register 1619-1926'.

Any Old Alleynians out there?

Acknown

The collar badge might be Royal London Fusiliers.


Yes, I too think that the collar badge suggests the Royal Fusiliers.

591715C1-9923-4ACF-9BDE-7F96981E3F9A.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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The only person to be appointed as a captain in the Dulwich OTC during WW1 in the London Gazette is Herbert Adams (Publication date:1 June 1915. Supplement: 29181. Page:5376). The Gazette states:

UNATTACHED LIST FOR THE TERRITORIAL FORCE
Herbert Edward Adams (late Captain, Dulwich College Contingent, Junior Division, Officers Training Corps) to be Captain for service with that Contingent. Dated 18th May, 1915.

If that rather convoluted entry means that he remained at Dulwich, where he was a schoolmaster, this may well be the officer in the photo.

Acknown

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Bordercollie

I would interpret the Gazette entry as follows.  The 1909 Regulations for the OTC identifies 3 categories of officer

 

 

399320363_OTCOfficers.png.c3dcb017a52e40510d4ba50226d6c3c3.png

 

The gazette entry clearly appoints him into the first category but it looks as though, as a master at the school, he had previously been enrolled under paragraph 26 of the regulations and appointed as a cadet officer under paragraph 28.

 

1560662823_OTCCadetOfficers.png.95139467f8bceca99942f7eaafa20800.png

 

 

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FROGSMILE

It’s not clear from all that which cap badge he, “Adams”, was wearing.  Ordinarily I would have expected him as a specifically OTC Officer, appointed for that purpose, to be wearing the cap badge of Dulwich College OTC.  In this case the officer shown wears a collar badge of the Royal Fusiliers, so I would expect him to be either, a special reserve officer of that regiment, or a member of the London Regiment TF in a Royal Fusiliers badged battalion, and seconded, or attached to the college for duty.

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Bordercollie

Perhaps the original photograph is not in fact Adams.  This from the college archives appears to show six officers (and a lamp post) parading with the contingent in 1915.  The officer on the extreme left in the photograph looks to be the best match for the officer in the earlier photograph.

 

CCF_1915-on-parade.jpg.5f6afe0fcd0bb6d2e4f7e033bfaed661.jpg

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Bordercollie said:

Perhaps the original photograph is not in fact Adams

Interesting. I count three Capts and (probably) two 2Lts. The hats look dissimilar, indicating different regiments. All I can say about the man on the left is that he is the straightest on parade! To me, this suggests some possibilities:

  • Keen as mustard.
  • Not much experience outside of the OTC, or would have learned to relax!
  • Ex-ranker, used to drill.
  • Just done a course.

I may be wildly wrong.

Acknown

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