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South Irish Horse photograph (Pte. Michael J Connell)


reluctantuncle
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Hello All,

 

First time posting in this forum. Thought Id share a photo from the family album of some soldiers of the South Irish Horse and another regiment (unknown) taken in France (year and location unknown). The man in the middle row third from the left (slightly jaunty cap) was my great-grandfather Pte. Michael J Connell. He was in the SIH initially and, as shown on his medal card, was then in one of the Corps of Hussars. He was said to have been gassed and shot but he survived the conflict.

 

I can't find any other war records for him other than a medical admittance (May 1918 at 51 casualty clearing station) and can't find what other Corps he would have been in. Any help or insights would be greatly appreciated.

All the best,
Andrew

 

1706110336_MedalRecord.jpg.68192e772274e616477438d9253aae79.jpgFINAL.jpg.9fe8770f7f4371df4c2236c4dadc4a5e.jpg

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I can see overseas service chevrons and wound stripes so likely late '17 or1918. 

Simon

 

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He appears to have gone AWOL from the SIH at Cahir on or about 17/4/16. He appears in a Police Gazette list dated 25/4/16. Trade is clerk and enlisted Limerick. Records says enlisted 24/1/16. Birth town Dublin.

Age given as 23 1/2. 5ft 7 1/4in. Pale complexion and fair hair. Marks: sc 1 eybrw mole rt scapula

Edited by Mark1959
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The two men front row 3rd and 4th from left may well be be pre war regulars given they appear to be wearing medal ribbons (South Africa?) and a 'sleeve-full' of overseas chevrons.

I've had another look at the cap badges and can't decide whether they are 2 different ones or simply a single regiment where on some caps the chin strap obscures the bottom section giving the appearance of a shorter badge. Reflections and caps at odd angles can also distort the appearance. 

Simon

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Thanks Mark I hadn't seen that AWOL notice before now. Looking through the Gazette in April and see he returned to duty (or the notice was rescinded for whatever reason) about a week or so later. Great to have that enlistment info.

 

Thanks Simon. I always thought it was an amalgamated/merged unit due to losses maybe?

 

Andrew

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I'm no expert in this field though enjoy trying to learn from similar threads. The only other detail that stands out to me is that 2 men are wearing a different pattern of bandolier to the rest.

Simon

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Hi Andrew,

Welcome to the Forum.

I think that one of the main problems that you face is in establishing which squadron/s Michael served with. If you could establish that, then the LLT has this broad overview - link, and the National Archives has some war diaries (link) which are available as free downloads after a straightforward registration.

His Medal Index Card doesn't record an entitlement to a 'Star' medal, so it would appear that he didn't serve in an active theatre of war until at least after 1915.

5 hours ago, reluctantuncle said:

I can't find any other war records for him other than a medical admittance (May 1918 at 51 casualty clearing station)

Findmypast have another admission/discharge record  He would appear to have been evacuated to 51 CCS from 14 Field Ambulance. Their war diary, and that of the ADMS 5 Division (link) may enable you to establish where the FA were evacuating from, and might help to tie back to a particular Squadron. 

1 hour ago, Mark1959 said:

He appears to have gone AWOL from the SIH at Cahir on or about 17/4/16.

In a similar way, I wonder if the Squadron diaries may show where they were on that date.

Taking the 14 FA record on face value it says that at the time of admission Michael had completed 2 years 6 months total service, of which 2 years had been completed with the 'field force'. Working the dates backwards might make one Squadron more likely than another.

Good luck with your research.

Regards
Chris

 

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The man on the left of the officer (a warrant officer) has an unusual badge of rank over the chevrons?

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12 hours ago, PhilB said:

The man on the left of the officer (a warrant officer) has an unusual badge of rank over the chevrons?

Yes that’s a good spot Phil and I’ve been trying to ID it’s precise design, as it’s a typical cavalry arm/sleeve badge that will identify the regiment concerned.  There are definitely two regiments in the photo, SIH plus another (note difference in collar badge shapes).  The arm badge was usually worn below any crown, but could be seen above, or sometimes on, rank chevrons.  It’s more difficult to discern detail on my phone screen, but I think I can see a castle above a scroll, which would suggest the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, but they used the castle insignia also for their collars and caps and that shape doesn’t seem there.  If he’s around @CorporalPunishment might be able to obtain a better view.

NB.  There were three Yeomanry regiments with whom the SIH had close association during the war by virtue of forming composite units (e.g. a Corps Cavalry Regiment) at various times.  They were: Hertfordshire Yeomanry.  Hampshire Yeomanry, and Wiltshire Yeomanry.   Unfortunately none of those units badges bear the slightest resemblance to the insignia we can see in the photo.

CD6B7714-248E-4B5A-A959-2020F636CBC0.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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The sergeant sitting on the right of the officer appears to have an adornment to the top of his LS chevrons and a badge on his rank stripes?

FINAL.jpg.9fe8770f7f4371df4c2236c4dadc4a5e.jpg

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On 11/08/2021 at 16:26, PhilB said:

The sergeant sitting on the right of the officer appears to have an adornment to the top of his LS chevrons and a badge on his rank stripes?

FINAL.jpg.9fe8770f7f4371df4c2236c4dadc4a5e.jpg

He is South Irish Horse and I assume that he’s wearing that regiment’s arm badge superimposed on his rank stripes as I mentioned above Phil.  The badge is exceedingly rare and in either silver, or silver and enamels.

The practice of cavalry regimental arm badges had been started by the regular army regiments, but increasingly from around the 2nd Boer War onwards more and more Yeomanry Regiments of the auxiliary cavalry copied that tradition with versions of their own. However, it’s worth reiterating here that the North and South Irish Horse were not Yeomanry (for political reasons) but raised instead as Special Reserve Cavalry Regiments, thus giving them a unique status.

NB.  If we can identify the arm badge of the warrant officer we will be able to confirm the second regiment depicted in the photo.  It’s large size and shape should assist.

 

2EF955F6-24B0-4220-A4F5-4AEC7B95F7F2.jpeg

 

 

SIH arm badge.jpg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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4 minutes ago, PhilB said:

Thanks, Frog - and the LS chevrons?

The chevrons on his right lower sleeve are overseas service stripes.  I can’t see anything unusual about them, they were a standardised configuration.

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So thanks to the helpful suggestions above I have found that the 14th Ambulance Corps were stationed at Steenbecque on the day Michael was admitted (4th May 1918). The 51st casualty clearing station was stationed 3.5km to the south of that at Thiennes. 

I have also found that the 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion Royal Irish Regiment were stationed at Pecqueur that day, which is 2.2km south west of Thiennes. (see extract here http://www.southirishhorse.com/documents/7sih_riregt_war_diaries_1.htm)

So I reckon its likely he was in the 7th Battalion.

I was also looking at the other cap badges and thinking they could be Royal Irish Rifles? 

Andrew

99753dhghgjdkv-25.jpg

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6 minutes ago, reluctantuncle said:

So thanks to the helpful suggestions above I have found that the 14th Ambulance Corps were stationed at Steenbecque on the day Michael was admitted (4th May 1918). The 51st casualty clearing station was stationed 3.5km to the south of that at Thiennes. 

I have also found that the 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion Royal Irish Regiment were stationed at Pecqueur that day, which is 2.2km south west of Thiennes. (see extract here http://www.southirishhorse.com/documents/7sih_riregt_war_diaries_1.htm)

So I reckon its likely he was in the 7th Battalion.

I was also looking at the other cap badges and thinking they could be Royal Irish Rifles? 

Andrew

99753dhghgjdkv-25.jpg

I don’t think they are Royal Irish Rifles in this case Andrew.  That regiment was quite a stickler for its black buttons and even allowing for problems with the supply chain I would ordinarily expect to see at least some.  The Royal Irish Regiment had a more slender Harp of Erin rather than a Maid’s Harp.  
I would draw your attention again to the significance of the warrant officer’s cavalry arm badge.  It is the key to an ID.  His cap and collar insignia is also the same as all the other non SIH fellows visible.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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10 minutes ago, reluctantuncle said:

Ah understood. Thanks.

I think I might have found it.  The cap, collar and silver arm badge seem to be commensurate with the Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry.

NB.  Although badges can sometimes be found in bullion wire, the original arm badges and thus most traditional configuration was in so-called ‘German Silver’.  This colour of metal remained, but in later years sterling silver was sometimes used.

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79D430C2-D9C8-4B5D-959A-34ACE849215E.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I think the other regiment is the Northumberland Hussars.     Pete.

2 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

I think I might have found it.  The cap, collar and arm badge seem to be commensurate with the Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry.

DE3A9D70-9E29-4027-9E9F-7BC0433D64B8.jpeg

FF42553F-C47D-4B9D-8B49-0F8716337E93.jpeg

79D430C2-D9C8-4B5D-959A-34ACE849215E.jpeg

Snap!!.

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2 minutes ago, CorporalPunishment said:

I think the other regiment is the Northumberland Hussars.     Pete.

Snap!!.

I’m reassured to have your corroboration Pete.  I hoped that you would be able to respond.

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Incredible detective skills, thanks both. That would line up with the medal card 'Corps of Hussars' too.

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49 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

The chevrons on his right lower sleeve are overseas service stripes.  I can’t see anything unusual about them, they were a standardised configuration.

There looks (to my eyes, anyway!) to be a semicircle over the top chevron.

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7 minutes ago, reluctantuncle said:

Incredible detective skills, thanks both. That would line up with the medal card 'Corps of Hussars' too.

Yes, here is the deployment record from LLT (and Brig James):

1/1st Northumberland Yeomanry

August 1914: mobilised.
September 1914: moved to Lyndhurst (Hampshire) and placed under orders of 7th Division.
6 October 1914 : landed at Zeebrugge (Belgium).
April 1915: split up:
– Regimental HQ and A Squadron: remained with division.
– B Squadron: 13 April 1915 placed under orders of 1st Division.
– C Squadron: 12 April 1915 placed under orders of 8th Division.
April May 1916 : reformed and became XIII Corps Cavalry Regiment. Regimental HQ and A Squadron rejoined 13 May, B Sqn 18 April, C Sqn 13 May.
August 1917 : left corps, attached to VIII Corps.
November 1917: transferred to III Corps.
8 October 1918 : transferred to XII Corps.

2/1st

Formed as a Second-Line regiment in October 1914 and moved to Gosforth Park.
May 1915: moved to Scarborough.
April 1916 : began to be split up, although A Sqn remained at Scarborough.
– Regimental HQ and B Squadron placed under orders of 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division, initially at Salisbury Plain and later East Anglia. Left division January 1917.
– C Squadron joined 59th (2nd North Midland) Division on 28 March 1916 and went with division to Ireland. Left division January 1917.
February 1917 : reformed in Hertfordshire.
19 March 1917 : landed at Le Havre.
26 March 1917 : became XIX Corps Cavalry Regiment.
28 August 1917 : moved to Etaples for training as infantry.
25 September 1917 : absorbed into 9th Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers which then changed title to 9th (Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry) Battalion.

Comparing the Corps Cavalry Regimental numbering (as in unit designation) might provide the definitive link and date that we seek.

4 minutes ago, PhilB said:

There looks (to my eyes, anyway!) to be a semicircle over the top chevron.

Yes I see that.  As mentioned there was no variation to overseas stripes configuration Phil.  I think it’s probably a patch of cloth with the stripes already fitted that’s then been hand stitched on to his sleeve.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I can’t find any Corps Cavalry Regiment linkage.  It seems to me that the most likely venue for the photo was infantry training at Etaples in late August 1917, where elements of both units seem to have been undergoing infantry training.  They both then formed the basis of infantry battalions from the following month, whilst retaining reference to their origins as a secondary title in parentheses.

NB.  Incidentally the Northumberland Hussars arm badge was the central motif from the cap badge - a representation of the ancient Norman Keep in the city of Newcastle.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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