Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Help with Regiment Identification


Vcpryde
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have a picture of my grandfather (left) Thomas Pryde and great uncle (right) James Pryde.  I have all my grandfather's Canadian war records so I know his regiment.  My grandfather on the right lived in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.  I can't find any records of him having served though it appears he is in uniform in this picture.  The picture is very small, so I can't really make out the badge on the hat.  I'm hoping it's more recognizable to those in the know.

ThomasandJamesPrydeWWI042.jpg

Edited by Vcpryde
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could be Royal Scots although, as you mention, the photo is too small to be positive.  Is this him perhaps James Pryde.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It definitely looks like Royal Scots to me.  You can just discern the badges shape and proportionate size seated in the centre of a rosette/cockade on the glengarry.

 

 

2BDB0E0C-C353-4978-AA23-FE80BD8179DB.jpeg

7710D1D9-ED1E-494F-8B5D-D12B6EC7034C.jpeg

35F55D09-0887-4BCF-A50C-0A94021FC510.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did follow up on the Ancestry record but there's not enough information to say whether it is him or not.  However, I did find a passenger list from 09 June 1918, where he travelled from Liverpool to New York. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/7488/images/NYT715_2581-0505?pId=4015313134.  On that form, it says he was a British Warrant Office.  While I looked up the definition of a WO, I still don't understand the designation.  Could he be in the Scots Guards and a WO? If he was a WO, would that not be listed on his medal card? Unfortunately, his son died a couple of years ago, so I don't have anyone to ask.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Royal Scots too.

 

A warrant officer is the next NCO rank up from the one he is (Sergeant Major) in the photo above and is independent of the Regiment that he was in.

 

NCO means non-commissioned officer - the ranks for enlisted personnel within the system of command.

 

Your Grandfather is a Corporal (which is the lowest NCO rank), your great uncle is a Sergeant Major. Warrant Officer (2) is the next substantive rank up from there.

 

Tom K.

Edited by Tom K
Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, Vcpryde said:

I did follow up on the Ancestry record but there's not enough information to say whether it is him or not.  However, I did find a passenger list from 09 June 1918, where he travelled from Liverpool to New York. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/7488/images/NYT715_2581-0505?pId=4015313134.  On that form, it says he was a British Warrant Office.  While I looked up the definition of a WO, I still don't understand the designation.  Could he be in the Scots Guards and a WO? If he was a WO, would that not be listed on his medal card? Unfortunately, his son died a couple of years ago, so I don't have anyone to ask.


Yes, he could have been a warrant officer (WO), but in the Royal Scots, not the ‘Scots Guards’, which were entirely different regiments.  In the photo he appears to be a ‘colour sergeant’, given the brass crown above three stripes.  The next step up was as company sergeant major and in the summer of 1915 that appointment was given the status of a new class 2 of the already existing warrant officer grade with all the preexisting warrant officers elevated to a new class 1.  It seems very likely then that by the end of the war your man was either, a WO class 2, or possibly even a WO class 1. 

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you.  Sorry - I meant Royal Scots. I can't seem to match a record to his name, but it may have been destroyed. The Royal Scots records are unavailable at the moment because of a digitization project.

 

Any idea why a group of 17 Warrant Officers would be going to the New York in June 1918? On the passenger list, it says that they are to report for orders to a Colonel Dalton, U.S.A. (I think), then a word I can't identify, Transportation Services, 165 Broadway Avenue, New York.  I noticed that none of the men are really young (my uncle is the youngest at 24, the next oldest being 27), and most seem to be late 20's up to 52 years old.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Vcpryde said:

Thank you.  Sorry - I meant Royal Scots. I can't seem to match a record to his name, but it may have been destroyed. The Royal Scots records are unavailable at the moment because of a digitization project.

 

Any idea why a group of 17 Warrant Officers would be going to the New York in June 1918? On the passenger list, it says that they are to report for orders to a Colonel Dalton, U.S.A. (I think), then a word I can't identify, Transportation Services, 165 Broadway Avenue, New York.  I noticed that none of the men are really young (my uncle is the youngest at 24, the next oldest being 27), and most seem to be late 20's up to 52 years old.

 

My guess is that they were going to New York to train the now greatly expanding U.S. Army in trench warfare techniques.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Vcpryde said:

I have a picture of my grandfather (left) Thomas Pryde and great uncle (right) James Pryde.  I have all my grandfather's Canadian war records so I know his regiment.  My grandfather on the right lived in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.  I can't find any records of him having served though it appears he is in uniform in this picture. 

Hi and a belated welcome to the forum from me.

 

In terms of dating the picture it would would appear that that your grandfather was a Canadian Army Corporal at the time, while your Great Uncle was a Colour Sergeant. Can you tell us from the Canadian Army records when Thomas was promoted to Corporal. Additionally picture looks potentially like it was taken in the UK, (or Canada) so does your grandfathers papers show periods post promotion to Corporal when he would have been in the UK.

 

1 hour ago, Vcpryde said:

However, I did find a passenger list from 09 June 1918, where he travelled from Liverpool to New York.

 

I see from the arrival list at New York that he was single and gives his next of kin as his parents, of 61 Victoria Road, Kirkcaldy. I was looking to see if he was married in case a marriage certificate gave any details as to his unit.

 

43 minutes ago, Vcpryde said:

Any idea why a group of 17 Warrant Officers would be going to the New York in June 1918?

 

One of the individuals I've had cause to research in the past was a warrant officer who went over in the summer of 1918 to assist with training both in camp and then on the journey over for American troops. At that point the allies believed the war on the western front would carry on into 1919, and with the large losses suffered by the British Army in the German Spring Offensive, the speed of the transfer of the American Army to Europe was ramped up.

 

@FROGSMILE and @gordon92 - Displaying my ignorance here. I take it there is no way he can be Royal Scots Fusiliers. There is a MiC for a Warrant Officer II and Regiment Quarter Master Sergeant 51822 James Pryde of the 4th Battalion. He "only"  qualifies for the Victory Medal & British War Medal, so possibly not a pre-war Territorial.

 

Cheers,

Peter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, PRC said:

@FROGSMILE and @gordon92 - Displaying my ignorance here. I take it there is no way he can be Royal Scots Fusiliers. There is a MiC for a Warrant Officer II and Regiment Quarter Master Sergeant 51822 James Pryde of the 4th Battalion. He "only"  qualifies for the Victory Medal & British War Medal, so possibly not a pre-war Territorial.

 

Cheers,

Peter

I am afraid, Peter, that Royal Scots Fusiliers is not a plausible option.  The flaming grenade badge of the RSF is quite recognizable and is not seen in the original photograph.

 

kc-royal-scots-fusiliers-brass-cap-badge.jpg.b1e8eccc681c8806a5db2aaec8e0fd5e.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Vcpryde said:

Thank you.  Sorry - I meant Royal Scots. I can't seem to match a record to his name, but it may have been destroyed. The Royal Scots records are unavailable at the moment because of a digitization project.

 

Any idea why a group of 17 Warrant Officers would be going to the New York in June 1918? On the passenger list, it says that they are to report for orders to a Colonel Dalton, U.S.A. (I think), then a word I can't identify, Transportation Services, 165 Broadway Avenue, New York.  I noticed that none of the men are really young (my uncle is the youngest at 24, the next oldest being 27), and most seem to be late 20's up to 52 years old.


They were part of a training team.  Peter has summarised the situation very well.  They toured the infantry depots and training schools in the US and ran demonstrations and some training classes for US instructors (train the trainers).  If you place an internet search for British instructors in US you should find some film clips and photos taken at the time.  It was part of a coordinated approach and additional training schemes were run in France and Flanders once US troops arrived. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry he is not a Colour Sergeant - that rank was abolished before WW1.  It was replaced with the ranks Company Sergeant Major (who was often referred to as "colour sergeant") and Company Quarter Master Sergeant. These were in turn abolished as "ranks" in 1915 and replaced by "appointments" held by the new rank of Warrant Officer (WO2) (who from that point forward wore a new rank badge - a Crown on the Lower Sleeve). and Sergeant Major respectively.

 

Given the presence of his brother who appears to be wearing the badges of the 87th Bn (Canadian Grenadier Guards) the photo could not date any earlier than the last half of 1916 (which is when the 87th appeared in England) at which time the crown over the sergeant stripes denoted the rank Sergeant Major. 

 

The appointees to Company Sergeant Major  and Company Quarter Master Sergeant (who would both have held the substantive rank WO2) would have a crown surrounded by a wreath, and a plain crown (respectively) on the lower sleeves of the tunic (and the rank badges would not be visible in the photo). 

 

Tom K.

 

 

Edited by Tom K
Correction to erroneous information
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is such a surprise that my Uncle would have been involved in this. My mother said she didn't even think he had been in the war, since he never talked about it. I don't think my late father ever knew what my great-uncle did during WWI.  My great-uncle was such a quiet man. After the war, up until he retired, he worked as a bookkeeper/accountant at the Bell woollen mill in Langholm.

 

Checking my grandfather's military records, he was promoted to Corporal on 20 October 1917. He was in France at that time. He was granted 14 days leave on  10 November 1917. I'm guessing he may have gone to visit his parents and brothers in Kirkcaldy. It's likely he and his brother had their picture taken at that time because shortly after he returned from leave, he was promoted to Lance Sargeant. Therefore, I can date the picture between 10 November and 24 November 1917, thanks to PRC's help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Tom K said:

Sorry he is not a Colour Sergeant - that rank was abolished before WW1.  It was replaced with the ranks Company Sergeant Major (who was often referred to as "colour sergeant") and Company Quarter Master Sergeant. These were in turn abolished as "ranks" in 1915 and replaced by "appointments" held by Warrant Officers (WO2) (who from that point forward wore a new rank badge - a Crown on the Lower Sleeve).  

 

Given the presence of his brother who appears to be wearing the badges of the 87th Bn (Canadian Grenadier Guards) the photo could not date any earlier than the last half of 1916 (which is when the 87th appeared in England) at which time the crown over the sergeant stripes denoted the rank Sergeant Major. 

 

The appointees to Company Sergeant Major  and Company Quarter Master Sergeant (who would both have held the substantive rank WO2) would have a crown surrounded by a wreath, and a plain crown (respectively) on the lower sleeves of the tunic (and the rank badges would not be visible in the photo). 

 

Tom K.

 

 


So a company quarter master sergeant was actually a substantive warrant officer class 2 was he Tom?  Where did you get that one from?  
 

The alterations in rank and appointment related to the change from 8-company to 4-company organisation of infantry battalions.  For British regulars that occurred before 1914 and the BEF deployed with the infantry battalions in a standard 4-company configuration.  Territorial Force battalions did not change until 1915 and Canadian units disembarking in England were also generally still in the 8-company organisation when they first arrived.  Both adopted the 4-company organisation and associated rank structure before deploying to France and Flanders.

 

When BEF companies first arrived in France in 1914, both CSM and CQMS were still substantive colour sergeants, with the most senior ‘appointed’ as CSM, and the other appointed as CQMS, but both still wearing 3-stripes with crown over.  
 

It was not until the summer of 1915 that the CSMs were elevated to the new class 2 level of warrant officer.  The pre-existing warrant officers were all raised to a class 1 level.  At the same time new badges of rank were issued, a brass coat of arms for the WO1 RSM, the WO2 CSM adopted the plain brass crown that was previously the badge of those now WO1, and company quartermaster sergeants adopted a brass crown over 3-stripes (pre war these badges had commonly been in worsted cloth on service dress, and brass insignia was more usually seen overseas where it was easier to remove to facilitate laundering).  
 

At no stage was a company quartermaster sergeant routinely holding the substantive rank of warrant officer class 2, nor were the two commensurate.

 

There are numerous threads in this forum giving chapter and verse on this rather tired matter and I recall that forum member @Muerrischproduced some first class sketches that illustrate the changes very well.

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

3 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

At no stage was a company quartermaster sergeant routinely holding the substantive rank of warrant officer class 2, nor were the two commensurate.

 

 

Yes you are correct, I mis-remembered the situation and erred in my post. My apologies for the mis-information and I thank you sincerely for the correction.  

 

However, my error doesn't alter the fact that Mr. Pryde was not a colour sergeant at the time the photo was taken (1917) as it was no longer a rank in the Army.  At the time of the photo he held the rank of Sergeant Major.

 

T.K.

 

Edited by Tom K
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Tom K said:

 

 

Yes you are correct, I mis-remembered the situation and erred in my post. My apologies for the mis-information and I thank you sincerely for the correction.  

 

However, my error doesn't alter the fact that Mr. Pryde was not a colour sergeant at the time the photo was taken (1917) as it was no longer a rank in the Army.  At the time of the photo he held the rank of Sergeant Major.

 

T.K.

 


No, I’m sorry but you seem to have misremembered on that point too, he didn’t hold the rank of company sergeant major.  Had he done so, in 1917 he would have been wearing the badge of a plain crown on the lower sleeve, as I just explained.  
 

You would do well to read the following blog entry within this forum, where I recommend you pay particular attention to the term “appointed”: https://www.greatwarforum.org/blogs/entry/2642-rank-and-appointment-badges/

 

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't pretend to fully understand the army ranking system, but from the link you attached, it appears that a Warrant Officer could be appointed "by warrant for specialised tasks". My uncle's appointment which appears to have been for the purposes of training American troops (or their trainers) would have been some time between November 1917 and his voyage to New York in June 1918.  I checked the Gazette to see if it might be included there but could not see anything.  Is there anywhere else this might have been published?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, Vcpryde said:

I can't pretend to fully understand the army ranking system, but from the link you attached, it appears that a Warrant Officer could be appointed "by warrant for specialised tasks". My uncle's appointment which appears to have been for the purposes of training American troops (or their trainers) would have been some time between November 1917 and his voyage to New York in June 1918.  I checked the Gazette to see if it might be included there but could not see anything.  Is there anywhere else this might have been published?

 


Unfortunately there is no easy place of reference.  Officers commissions were announced in public via an entry in one of the government sponsored “gazettes”.  Warrant officers, however, were categorised as “other ranks”, albeit at the higher levels, with promotions only recorded internally in routine orders, but also, most importantly in the individual’s service record.  Unfortunately routine orders were generally destroyed after a period and the vast majority of British Army service records were destroyed in a catastrophic incendiary bombing raid on the London docks warehouse where they were being stored in 1941.   Unless his file of documents happens to be one of those surviving in the so-called “burnt records” (water logged, smoke damaged, and singed in the bombing) that have been scanned and archived, it’s extremely unlikely that you will find anything.

 

The blog I linked to is excellent, but If I can help you further with understanding the rank and appointment system please just ask, or if you prefer PM me.

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...