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Remembered Today:

Help required - trying to solve family mystery and identify this soldier (Yorkshire connection)


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Alisonmallen62

Found out about ribbons now and issue dates! cheers

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9 hours ago, TEW said:

Cracking job on the photo, now seamless!

 

Shoulder title mean anything?

 

Not sure what other date was put up. I suggested 1915-1919 for the photo. Don't think he'd have a ribbon bar for the WWI pair before late 1919?

TEW


Just the standard regimental shoulder title I think TEW.  I agree that war medal ribbons were unlikely before end 1918, unless he was an original BEF man.

Brilliant job of repairing that photo Keith.  Kudos to you.

574234FF-322D-4310-9060-B8B8F42718D1.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Keith Brannen
26 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Just the standard regimental shoulder title I think TEW.  I agree that war medal ribbons unlikely before end 1918 unless he was an original BEF man.

Brilliant job of repairing that photo Keith.  Kudos to you.

 

Thanks, if was fun to do.

 

Does his good conduct stripe mean he was regular army, and, therefore, most likely to have been in the 1st or 2nd battalion?

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6 hours ago, Keith Brannen said:

 

Thanks, if was fun to do.

 

Does his good conduct stripe mean he was regular army, and, therefore, most likely to have been in the 1st or 2nd battalion?

At the beginning of the war and first two years it would have meant he was a regular, yes. However, after conscription was introduced in 1916 it was realised that the scheme would have to be extended across the Army, which was done, from memory I think in 1917, but I’d need to check back through past posts to be sure.  Anyway, by the end of the war there were non regulars with as many as two good conduct badges, possibly three, I cannot recall offhand, but the war ended in 1919.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Keith's repair of the original photo was quite brilliant. I had a go earlier  in Photoshop but my efforts were so bad that I never published them here

 

What is the secret Keith. I guess that you must have cut it into a lot of smaller pieces, cleaned each, then fitted them back together, juggling the overlays

 

Taking out folds or imperfections in photos is easy, but Keith's job is in a class apart

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10 hours ago, TEW said:

Cracking job on the photo

Agreed, Keith has done a fantastic job there.

 

10 hours ago, TEW said:

 I suggested 1915-1919 for the photo. 

Wasn't  the MM aurthoried in March 1916?

This would possibly mean by the time the ribbons were awarded the photo couldn't be any earlier than late 1916.

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1 hour ago, Alan24 said:

Agreed, Keith has done a fantastic job there.

 

Wasn't  the MM aurthoried in March 1916?

This would possibly mean by the time the ribbons were awarded the photo couldn't be any earlier than late 1916.

Yes, MC and MM instituted in 1916, good point Alan.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Seriously good repair job from Keith!  pshelley - has the photograph been cropped for the forum to just show the soldier?  It would be extremely useful if there was more to see..  The background, fashion, season etc. are things that would help narrow down time and place of the event which in turn can help identify who he might be.

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I did some analysis on astreetnearyou.org and found no soldiers from Otley Yorkshire who served with the Leicestershire Regiment who lived there and died in the Great War but increase the distance to circa 15 miles and there are 15 men.  Might also be worth considering that there's another Otley in Suffolk...  Similar story there, none *in* Otley but about 18 men with the Liecesters at a 15 mile radius.  I'll run a quick check to see if any were MM winners amongst them...

 

Nearest name match is a C Smith with next of kin addresses in Leeds - 2nd Lieutenant Charles Arthur Smith dod 19/09/1918.  I can see he has a DCM but not sure about the MM.  There are a lot of Charles Arthur Smiths...

Edited by SHJ
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Keith Brannen
7 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

At the beginning of the war and first two years it would have meant he was a regular, yes. However, after conscription was introduced in 1916 it was realised that the scheme would have to be extended across the Army, which was done, from memory I think in 1917, but I’d need to check back through past posts to be sure.  Anyway, by the end of the war there were non regulars with as many as two good conduct badges, possibly three, I cannot recall offhand, but the war ended in 1919.

Thanks for the information, most informative.

 

So in this case, the good conduct stripe only means the man was in the army at least two years before the photo, which coupled with the Military Medal beginning in 1916, only means the photo could have been taken 1917 and after.

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2 minutes ago, Keith Brannen said:

Thanks for the information, most informative.

 

So in this case, the good conduct stripe only means the man was in the army at least two years before the photo, which coupled with the Military Medal beginning in 1916, only means the photo could have been taken 1917 and after.


Yes, I think that’s about the measure of it Keith.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I was hunting for information on the Good conduct stripe and found this post.

TEW

 

 

 

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Op. Now you have a repaired copy I would be tempted to steam the backing card off of the original and see if there is anything written on the back.

 

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Keith Brannen
6 hours ago, corisande said:

Keith's repair of the original photo was quite brilliant. I had a go earlier  in Photoshop but my efforts were so bad that I never published them here

 

What is the secret Keith. I guess that you must have cut it into a lot of smaller pieces, cleaned each, then fitted them back together, juggling the overlays

 

Taking out folds or imperfections in photos is easy, but Keith's job is in a class apart

 

Thanks to all who have commented on my restoration job, as I said, it was fun to do.

 

I used Photoshop Elements. Basically, it was a jigsaw puzzle. I used the Magnetic Lasso tool to copy one piece at a time, and then transferred them to a new canvas, did the rotations to fit as close as possible, then did manual repairs and copying using the Clone tool to join at the edges, and then went and grabbed a new piece and repeated (of course, saving a new copy after each piece was added, in case I screwed up and had to re-do a piece better). The only really tough part to form was the thumb and top part of his right hand which was missing/damaged. 

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First of all, I'd just like to say a big thank you :) to Keith for the restoration work - really great job you did there sir! I have sent the picture to my mother who will be thrilled. 

 

Voltaire60 - no problem being intrusive - I welcome your help and everyone else's. I will have a look through the list and see if we can trace any of these back to Otley and Yorkshire. The Smith one stands out so I will have a look to see if there is a connection there.

 

likelyremembers - funny you should mention the Otley museum, I reached out to them just before they closed for the latest lockdown and they said they may be able to help once the situation changes and the library is open again. Me and my mother will be planning a trip to Otley for the day.

 

corisande / ilkleyremembers- my mother has birth certificate copies of my grandad and is going to scan in and email over to me to see if there is anything of use on them

 

sadbrewer - great minds think alike! I'm awaiting the results of a DNA test that I sent off before Christmas and apparently is being processed. I think they said 6 weeks or so, which would take us up to end of January.

 

TEW - yes, he didn't use the hyphenated version of his surname and I only found out about that when I attended his funeral, which was a bit of a surprise at the time.

 

Alisonmallen62 -  I think there is a resemblance but its not my area of expertise so have asked my mother for her thoughts on it.

 

SHJ - this is the problem with Smith's and why I gave up trying to research this myself! I'll ask my mother if she is OK with me doing that.

 

Milner - I am sorely tempted to do so. Steam sounds like a good idea, but I do have a heatgun which might be a bit less destructive. Will report back possibly later!

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Thanks for the insight. I guess I never thought of using the magnetic lasso tool to get each separate piece. You clearly need a lot of patience as well, which I may not have. Si I can see the theory now!

 

Anyway I will give it a go with the magnetic tool and see,  with a couple of pieces just, I can make a better job than I did first time

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
4 minutes ago, pshelley said:

Steam sounds like a good idea, but I do have a heatgun which might be a bit less destructive. Will report back possibly later!

Noooooooo!

There's enough CO2 in the atmosphere without you setting fire to this photo.

Steam, water or nothing...

 

Keith Brannen... brilliant restoration.

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34 minutes ago, TEW said:

I was hunting for information on the Good conduct stripe and found this post.

TEW

 

 

 

That’s interesting TEW, I’ve not heard of GCB being awarded for a specific act.  Usually units and formations developed their own discrete badges and certificates for that kind of thing.

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Keith Brannen
31 minutes ago, pshelley said:

First of all, I'd just like to say a big thank you :) to Keith for the restoration work - really great job you did there sir! I have sent the picture to my mother who will be thrilled. 

 

You're welcome, glad you liked it. As I have said, it was fun to do.

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We seem to be making the assumption that the parents were married, could the child not be a result of a fling while the soldier was on leave or recovering from injury/illness, which may then explain the adoption... 

Edited by madgarry
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5 minutes ago, madgarry said:

We seem to be making the assumption that the parents were married, could the child not be a result of a fling while the soldier was on leave or recovering from injury/illness, which may then explain the adoption... 

 

     Yes-  that is the likeliest  scenario for many/most of the Great War cases of this sort.  BUT the child was born pre-war- and the pic. is clearly 1916 as a minimum due to the MM ribbon. We have assumed that the missing part of the pic. is of the mother but this is not neccessarily so. 

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I think the 'fling' is the most likely scenario and never assumed the photo shows both parents or even that it's soldier X getting married.

 

Conception around Sept 1912, pregnancy discovered Oct 1912, Soldier X disappears is possible.

 

However, given that the photo is at least 3 years after the birth somehow there is some sort of contact for the photo to end up with the adopting family. 

 

I'd want the birth certificate for Ronald Smith born 2nd Qtr. 1913, Wharfedale, Mother's maiden name Smith.

 

If the DOB matches up,  you then have the Mother's details & address. The Father could be named on the certificate.

 

Perhaps the photo connection of Soldier X with the adopting family might mean soldier X didn't do a disappearing act in Oct 1912 and maybe 'did the most he could short of marrying the Mother'.

TEW

 

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So its been an eventful week since I got hold of the birth certificates and my DNA results also came back. There's a story beginning to emerge here and its looking quite an interesting one (IMHO). I'm still crunching through the DNA data and I think it will be of some use.

 

I have not one but 4 copies of my grandfathers birth certificate. I'm not sure if there were so many as he was trying to get hold of a decent copy of the original, or he needed them for identity purposes. Whatever, the original birth certificate from 1913 has delivered some very interesting information and I'll summarise the key points here as I think you will find it illuminating.

  • Certificate year: 1913
  • When & where Born 20th May 1913, New Hall, New-all, Otley (a workhouse I think)
  • Name: Ronald
  • NO FATHER
  • Name and Maiden Surname of Mother: <SCRATCHED OUT> Hannah Smith a Housekeeper of Rose Cottage, West Chevin, Otley
  • Signature and Residence of Informant: B. H. Jones, Occupier, New Hall, Newall, Otley
  • When registered: 10th June 1913
  • Baptismal Name if added after Registration of Birth: <DIFFERENT HANDWRITING & PEN> Ronald Smith Hopton
  • Registrant Witness signature date: 25th May 1916

It's clear that the birth certificate has been updated (?) since it was created in 1913 and my grandfathers Baptismal name was added and changed to Ronald Smith Hopton at that time (assuming he may have been baptised sometime after birth). Whats really interesting is the scratched out first (?) name of the Mother and the recording of her profession and location where she worked. There is no record of any one of that name living there at that time. Furthermore, there are no records of a Hannah Smith in Otley either. 

 

I think this is the token or clues that Voltaire60 was referring to. There IS a Mary Hannah Smith (nee Bambridge) who married a Richard Smith in 1897 in Otley that I found through Ancestry. Interestingly, I have not been able to find if they had any children. The residents of Rose Cottage in 1911 were the Currie family, so bearing in mind that my grandfather must have been conceived in 1912 it is a fair bet that whoever lived there has some connection. Sure enough, there are two males living there, James Currie (45) and Joseph Currie (18).  The chap in the photograph looks older than 20 (which is Joseph's age at the start of the war) but too old for James (47 at the start of the war). It could be Richard Smith of course, but I think he would have been in his late 30's by 1913 and I can't find any reference to military service in a quick search of the usual places. However, Joseph is a different matter...

 

He died in June 1917 at Plouvain near Arras (MIA/KIA apparently) and this is recorded on the Otley Roll of Honour.  I've had a look at the National Archives and fragments of his service record exist. In 1916, it looks like something happens and he is reported as missing not long after the birth certificate is dated. There are records of a period in hospital and there is some possibility of a demotion? So, something clearly kicks off in 1916. Did Joseph know that he was probably not going to return when he is posted back to France? I would think that this was a common assumption, especially those who had seen action on the front.

 

Oh, and the last thing. He is listed as being 2nd Battalion Duke of Welling's Regiment. Not the Leicestershire Regiment!

 

The search continues!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the update

 

In this sort of case there may well be two birth certs, the first issued at birth, and the second issued any number of years later with the childs new name (I have come across an example where the second birth cert was issued in a different name 20 years later) which is registered in the quarter for which the change took place (and not the birth quarter). Trust me this is a fact and not surmise

 

With the certs you have found , I am struggling to see which are "genuine" and which if any might be "forgeries". Do they seem to be someone trying to alter originals, or is the 1916 document itself an original

 

I think you will need to buy to find out

1, the original Birth Cert for Ronald Smith born Wharfdale in 1913

2. The second Birth Cert, if you can find it in the GRO. If I take your date of 1916 in Wharfdale there are 4 "Ronald" registered. One is Roland Smith, but with a mother "Drake", but I cannot find a Hannah Smith marrying a Drake


Births Jun 1916   (>99%)
Balshaw  Ronald  Norfolk  Wharfedale  9a 253  btnInfo.gif Scan available - click to view
Dyson  Ronald  Noble  Wharfedale  9a 229  btnInfo.gif Scan available - click to view
Ellum  Ronald J  Blackburn  Wharfedale  9a 242  btnInfo.gif Scan available - click to view
Smith  Ronald  Drake  Wharfedale  9a 252  btnInfo.gif Scan available - click to view
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Looking at Joseph Currie, who looks a likely suspect . I found this on him, which I think you have seen. I have failed to find him being awarded the MM

 

Currie Joseph.  Joseph was the son of James and Ada Currie of Rose Cottage,West Chevin, Otley.He was born in Menston. Before enlisting in Leeds he worked as an attendant at the Menston Asylum. He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and served as a private.He was declared missing on 3rd May1917 at Plouvain near Arras, He was officially rated as killed in action on 28th March1918. He was 23 years old. He is recorded on the Arras Memorial, France

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  • DavidOwen changed the title to Help required - trying to solve family mystery and identify this soldier (Yorkshire connection)

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