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Remembered Today:

Mystery soldier


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Margaret Ross

Found this photo when emptying parents' house.  It is printed on a postcard and on the back it says "From Alfie to Ruth".  Ruth could be my mother, born in 1905 but I have no idea who Alfie was, where and when the photo was taken, and what the connection to my mother might have been.  Scottish Indexes Group suggests the cap badge shows the man is a Cameronian.

Any help would be great.  Why is the horse wearing a blanket and why the dog?  Chevrons for good conduct?

Unknown soldier.jpg

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FROGSMILE

He’s a Cameronian (Scottish Rifles) infantry soldier.  His presence on horse back suggests he’s either, a part of the battalion’s Mounted Infantry section pre-war, or a member of its Transport Section, both of which required soldiers who could ride.

 

The Transport Section was responsible for the battalion’s fleet of horse drawn wheeled transport that provided its immediate logistic support.  It included General Service Wagons, mobile Field Kitchens, Reserve Ammunition Limbers, Water Carts and a Maltese Cart for the Regimental Medical Officer (used as the officers’ mess cart in peacetime).

 

The chevrons are for good conduct.  Regular infantry battalions often had pet dogs.

 

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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Margaret Ross

Thank you very much.  Is the "Flash" what the chevrons on his sleeve were called?

I was interested in how unadorned his uniform is apart from that.

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Alisonmallen62

Wonderful photo hope you find out who he was

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FROGSMILE
11 minutes ago, Margaret Ross said:

Thank you very much.  Is the "Flash" what the chevrons on his sleeve were called?

I was interested in how unadorned his uniform is apart from that.

No they were called good conduct badges (GCB) even though they were actually inverted stripes.  Each stripe attracted extra pay although that was eventually abolished.  Once promoted to the first substantive (pension earning) rank of Corporal (2-stripes both upper arms point down) then the GCB were no longer permitted to be worn.  With the appointment of Lance Corporal (non-substantive, 1-stripe both arms point down) the GCB could be worn.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Margaret Ross

SO many old photos in parents' home, and very few of them named.  I cannot find an Alfie anywhere in our family and my dad was Robert!

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Margaret Ross

Thanks, Frogsmile.  Wonder if the lad survived the war, whoever he was.

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FROGSMILE
4 minutes ago, Margaret Ross said:

Thanks, Frogsmile.  Wonder if the lad survived the war, whoever he was.

If you only knew his full name and DOB it would be possible to find out.

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Margaret Ross

I know.  So frustrating.  Not even a clue as to where the photo was taken - just printed on to a postcard with that number 3029 in the left corner.

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corisande

If your mother was born in 1905 and the photo is before, say, 1920, then it is unlikely that the photo is from an "admirer"

 

If you have a developed Family Tree, then try looking for relatives that it could have been. The "from Alfie to Ruth" wording would suggest (to me) a cousin

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Margaret Ross

I have looked pretty hard but have only come up with an Alfred in the 1860s on my dad's side. Can't be him. So frustrating!! Certainly wasn't a family name I have come across. Thought of Fred too but none

of them either.....

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johnboy

Anything on the reverse of the card that might give clue for photographer?

Have you found your mother in 1911 census? 

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Margaret Ross

No. It has been printed on to a standard postcard. No clue about photographer or place.

In 1911 census my mother was 5 and still living with birth family in Paisley but soon to be moved to childless couple in Peebles.

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johnboy

was she adopted?

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corisande

I can see your problem with relatives on your mother's side.

 

If you rule out relatives you get into the area of family friends and/or neighbour, which makes it impossible to track

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Margaret Ross

No official adoption in those days but, yes, she went to live with a childless couple. However, I have researched her birth family and the one she moved to in 1911ever since she died in 1997 and Alfie is not a name that ever appears.

Her uncle Thomas fought in the Great War so I will look to see if I can find a record of him. Will also look in 1901 and 1911 census to see who the neighbours were.

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Alisonmallen62

Half my family are Scottish other half Welsh and we lived in Scotland and Wales so to me I think he had quite a Scottish look - possibly red/Sandy hair?  

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Alisonmallen62

Frogsmile what is the white looking medal? Up above button on right please? 

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FROGSMILE
51 minutes ago, Alisonmallen62 said:

Frogsmile what is the white looking medal? Up above button on right please? 

I can’t make out for sure what it is on my phone screen Alison, but it’s on the wrong side for a military medal.  It might be an Army Temperance Association (ATA) medal, as they were worn on that side (encouraged for soldiers at the turn of the century), or perhaps an overly large watch fob.  My bet would be on the former.  The Cameronian’s were an ultra religious regiment (fundamentalist Protestants) and probably made much of the demon drink.  The medals were produced in a ranking system (graded by years of abstinence) and in a wide variety of shapes sizes and ribbon colours and are nowadays very collectible.  See: https://www.alliancehousefoundation.org.uk/temperance-the-armed-forces

As well as medals there were tokens, coins commemoratives and fobs.  These were also separate branches for garrisons in India, South Africa and the Home Establishment (Britain and Ireland).  The ATA encouraged sober living, dry canteens and reading rooms, encouraging the soldiers to better themselves.

 

NB.  Life saving medals were also worn on that side but are statistically less common.

 

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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Margaret Ross

I am full of admiration at clues you have picked up from one old photo. 

My parents never threw anything away and if I had realised the treasure trove in 1997 I would have been less enthusiastic with the bin bags. It has taken me all those years to find out things that were probably under my nose when the house was emptied.

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FROGSMILE
4 minutes ago, Margaret Ross said:

I am full of admiration at clues you have picked up from one old photo. 

My parents never threw anything away and if I had realised the treasure trove in 1997 I would have been less enthusiastic with the bin bags. It has taken me all those years to find out things that were probably under my nose when the house was emptied.

It’s a journey that many of us have taken Margaret so don’t feel too bad.

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Margaret Ross

Have just looked in the drawers of my mother's Singer treadle sewing machine and came up with the attached. Goodness knows where THEY came from.

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Alisonmallen62

Many thanks Frogsmile I am sure you are correct about the temperance medal -  I had an uncle in the Cameronians a Catholic so interested that they were fundamentally Protestant!  Got my wondering now.  So Margaret’s soldier was a good living man and just confirm the good conduct stripes all could earn these in any regiment but in that regiment were they associated with the temperance medal too? 
 

Nee photo - they might be second war Margaret but I am no expert! 

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Margaret Ross
7 minutes ago, Alisonmallen62 said:

Many thanks Frogsmile I am sure you are correct about the temperance medal -  I had an uncle in the Cameronians a Catholic so interested that they were fundamentally Protestant!  Got my wondering now.  So Margaret’s soldier was a good living man and just confirm the good conduct stripes all could earn these in any regiment but in that regiment were they associated with the temperance medal too? 
 

Nee photo - they might be second war Margaret but I am no expert! 

Don't know of any member of my family who has been to Dieppe!  Seems to be made of horn. 

Off to play golf to stop me sneezing. Sewing machine drawers dusty!

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