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Remembered Today:

Trying to Identify a Soldier in a Family Picture


TetleyT

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This picture was given to my mother by her father (my grandfather).  Unfortunately, she does not recall who is in the picture.  Her father kept very few belongings and pictures - only a small number that were precious to him.  My mother vaguely recalls this picture was of a family member.  I thought that if I could identify more information about the soldier based on his uniform, I might be able to narrow my search. 

The bottom left corner of the picture says “Scott” in script, and then 53 Leytonstone Rd.  This seems to be a photography studio in Stratford, England. 

At the time of WWI, as far as I know, all my mother’s father’s relatives were living in Glasgow.  I know of two relatives who died in France, but do not think this is them.  It is also not my mother’s father as he was born in 1913.  His father was enlisted, but would have been in his 30s by then - older than the fellow in the picture. 

 

Close male relatives to my grandfather would likely have the surname Rae, Bell, or Quigley, but I am not ruling other surnames out for the man in this image.

I am hoping some information based on the picture might steer me in the right direction.

I am attaching the original image and a close up.  Someone tried to colorize the close-up for me as naturally as possible in case this gives some clues, too.

Soldier.jpg

Soldier 3.jpg

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The cap badge looks like Rifle Brigade to me. He’s got sergeants stripes. 

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Post Office Rifles is another possible match.

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Either way if they are, the buttons should be black not  brass and the badge white metal. I think in the original photo you can see the buttons are darker. 

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Good advice from Michelle as per usual.  The cap badge looks like the Rifle Brigade (RB) to me too, and is corroborated by the black ‘rifle regiment’ pattern of general service buttons (i.e. used by all such regiments).  This would also chime with the location of the photographers studio in Leytonstone, as the regiment had a strong association with London having before 1908 had its volunteer battalions recruited there.  

Another possibility is one of the several Territorial Force units who favoured insignia ‘in the style of’ the RB.  Foremost among these were some battalions of the London Regiment, but there were others such as the Robin Hood Rifles (Notts&Derby) and the Leeds Rifles (West Yorks).  However, some of these can be ruled out, because the distinctive scrolls that bear battle honours of the RB are discernible distributed evenly around the Laurel wreath that surrounds the central feature of a crowned Maltese cross (on the arms of which are further honours).  See photos.

The soldier’s rank appears to be Colour Sergeant (thus Company Quarter-Master-Sergeant and SNCO responsible for re supply), as I think there’s a crown above his 3-stripes and from his dress the image seems to date from after 1915.  He carries a SNCOs parade cane and is holding worsted wool gloves and so is correctly dressed for walking-out (of barracks or camp confines).
 

CD1855B4-C9AF-4BF0-9840-6DC0D2DC7C27.jpeg

AEF29881-81DB-466A-A5D1-9D5866CD8806.jpeg

94F43896-C935-4670-86CC-56C11681B4C4.jpeg

A6F8B728-6AAA-4E5F-A5E7-4B5B0575B9E2.jpeg

D99AE4DB-F6D7-4E99-81AB-FBEDD000F3F9.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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2 hours ago, TetleyT said:

Someone tried to colorize the close-up for me as naturally as possible in case this gives some clues, too.

TetleyT,

I think that encapsulates the  trouble with colourised images.
They can in many instances instil a sense of realism into a flat  black & white image.
But....

For historical research purposes, compared to the original image, they are of no value.
The colour added is what the owner,  the processor with their computer software, or the Artificial Intelligence programme used, thinks might be realistic.
As you can see from Michelle's post, the errors regarding the colour of the buttons and the cap badge could lead to misidentification.

So I'm sorry to say, that far from providing more clues, it destroys them.

 

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3 hours ago, Michelle Young said:

The cap badge looks like Rifle Brigade to me. He’s got sergeants stripes. 

That helps.  It rules out two men on that side of the family who died in France.  They both died with the rank of private.  Also, the man in the picture must be older than he looks to have attained the rank of sergeant.  I need to study my tree for men born perhaps a bit earlier than I was thinking. It probably still rules out my grandfather's father because by 1919 he was a Corporal.  

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Just now, TetleyT said:

That helps.  It rules out two men on that side of the family who died in France.  They both died with the rank of private.  Also, the man in the picture must be older than he looks to have attained the rank of sergeant.  I need to study my tree for men born perhaps a bit earlier than I was thinking. It probably still rules out my grandfather's father because by 1919 he was a Corporal.  

As explained above he was a Colour Sergeant (a special infantry equivalent of Staff Sergeant in other parts of the Army) and so one rank above Sergeant.  

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29 minutes ago, TetleyT said:

Also, the man in the picture must be older than he looks to have attained the rank of sergeant

Not necessarily.
This may have been the case in the Army pre war. However, I’ve researched a man who was, according to his Medal Index Card, an Acting Warrant Officer Class II aged 20!

He landed in France with his battalion on 23 June 1915 as a Corporal and was Commissioned on 3 December 1915.

58 DM.

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4 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

As explained above he was a Colour Sergeant (a special infantry equivalent of Staff Sergeant in other parts of the Army) and so one rank above Sergeant.  

I see that now.  I had not refreshed the page to see more replies.  The fellow barely looks 18 to me.  He looks younger than my 23-year-old son.  However, in light of the rank, that just does not seem possible. From what I am reading in relation to that rank, It takes quite a few years.  This rank would have taken longer than the war lasted, so I am probably looking for someone who enlisted before the war or continued in the military after that war. 

We have two other pieces of war-related items that my mother received from her father.  They may or may not be related to the young man in the photo. One is a post

card image of a boat.  On the back it says “This is the boat that took me to France 26/4/15.”  The boat pictured is the S.S. Mona’s Queen.  I have read that this ship was chartered in 1915 and used as a troop carrier. There is no name and no address.  So it does not seem like it was mailed.  Perhaps it was a postcard bought later and then a message was written on the back.  Now, I wonder if he was the man who wrote the postcard.

We also have some military medals, which I was going to post about on one of the forums.  They are:

1. Distinguished Conduct Medal

2. 1914 Star (with bar or clasp for serving under fire)

3. British War Service Medal

4. WWI Victory Medal

5. Kingdom of Italy Bronze Medal for Military

I had not thought they belonged to this young man, but given how long he must have served and the ranks attained, maybe they do.

(I am not sure why my posts are coming out in a thicker font.  I will work on that.)

 

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Even if it's only relevant to discount the man there is a-

Percy Bell. Details from medal records show him on Labour Corps rolls. 14-15 Star to #64, Rfn. 12/RB. This notes another rank of A/CQMS.

Pair Roll shows rank as A/C/Sgt. #400349. It does note his former unit and gives another rank for the #64 RB service of A/Sgt.

This doesn't really explain when he reached the rank of A/CQMS and if that might have been with RB or is a later LC promotion. But I think I'm right in saying his medals would be impressed RB with highest rank attained IE. A/CQMS.

There is a pension ledger for him which should give an address.

TEW

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8 minutes ago, 58 Div Mule said:

Not necessarily.
This may have been the case in the Army pre war. However, I’ve researched a man who was, according to his Medal Index Card, an Acting Warrant Officer Class II aged 20!

He landed in France with his battalion on 23 June 1915 as a Corporal and was Commissioned on 3 December 1915.

58 DM.

Then I really need broader search parameters in terms of age when searching my tree and other records.

 

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3 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

Good advice from Michelle as per usual.  The cap badge looks like the Rifle Brigade (RB) to me too, and is corroborated by the black ‘rifle regiment’ pattern of general service buttons (i.e. used by all such regiments).  This would also chime with the location of the photographers studio in Leytonstone, as the regiment had a strong association with London having before 1908 had its volunteer battalions recruited there.  

Another possibility is one of the several Territorial Force units who favoured insignia ‘in the style of’ the RB.  Foremost among these were some battalions of the London Regiment, but there were others such as the Robin Hood Rifles (Notts&Derby) and the Leeds Rifles (West Yorks).  However, some of these can be ruled out, because the distinctive scrolls that bear battle honours of the RB are discernible distributed evenly around the Laurel wreath that surrounds the central feature of a crowned Maltese cross (on the arms of which are further honours).  See photos.

The soldier’s rank appears to be Colour Sergeant (thus Company Quarter-Master-Sergeant and SNCO responsible for re supply), as I think there’s a crown above his 3-stripes and from his dress the image seems to date from after 1915.  He carries a SNCOs parade cane and is holding worsted wool gloves and so is correctly dressed for walking-out (of barracks or camp confines).
 

Thank you.  That gives me some terms to search.  The images are helpful.  I might try to see if I can scan the image at higher resolution when I visit my mother again in case I can get more clarity on the insignias.  

I did not realize he was holding gloves, I guess I skimmed over that just think that was a fold in the fabric of the pants, but now that you point that out, I see that clearly.  

 

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34 minutes ago, TetleyT said:

1. Distinguished Conduct Medal

2. 1914 Star (with bar or clasp for serving under fire)

3. British War Service Medal

4. WWI Victory Medal

5. Kingdom of Italy Bronze Medal for Military

Names and numbers from the medals would help here.

Craig

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Another post on NCO promotions.

TEW

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34 minutes ago, TetleyT said:

I see that now.  I had not refreshed the page to see more replies.  The fellow barely looks 18 to me.  He looks younger than my 23-year-old son.  However, in light of the rank, that just does not seem possible. From what I am reading in relation to that rank, It takes quite a few years.  This rank would have taken longer than the war lasted, so I am probably looking for someone who enlisted before the war or continued in the military after that war. 

We have two other pieces of war-related items that my mother received from her father.  They may or may not be related to the young man in the photo. One is a post

card image of a boat.  On the back it says “This is the boat that took me to France 26/4/15.”  The boat pictured is the S.S. Mona’s Queen.  I have read that this ship was chartered in 1915 and used as a troop carrier. There is no name and no address.  So it does not seem like it was mailed.  Perhaps it was a postcard bought later and then a message was written on the back.  Now, I wonder if he was the man who wrote the postcard.

We also have some military medals, which I was going to post about on one of the forums.  They are:

1. Distinguished Conduct Medal

2. 1914 Star (with bar or clasp for serving under fire)

3. British War Service Medal

4. WWI Victory Medal

5. Kingdom of Italy Bronze Medal for Military

I had not thought they belonged to this young man, but given how long he must have served and the ranks attained, maybe they do.

(I am not sure why my posts are coming out in a thicker font.  I will work on that.)

 

On the edge (rim) of the circular medals will be the recipients name and rank as mentioned by TEW.  On the star it’s on the back.  The name should be the same of course if all the medals belong to the same individual.

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2 hours ago, ss002d6252 said:

Names and numbers from the medals would help here.

Craig

I will have a look the nest time I visit my mother.  I took pictures of them to examine at home, but unfortunately, the resolution was not good enough.  I do intend to post about them one day when I have more information.  

 

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6 minutes ago, TetleyT said:

I will have a look the nest time I visit my mother.  I took pictures of them to examine at home, but unfortunately, the resolution was not good enough.  I do intend to post about them one day when I have more information.  

 

Not the best photography and not on a good device.  At the time, I did not know what I was looking for on them.

 

 

image.png

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2 hours ago, TetleyT said:

Not the best photography and not on a good device.  At the time, I did not know what I was looking for on them.

 

As mentioned, if you can examine the medals rim and note down the details there a lot of your questions can be answered.  It simply requires them to be taken out of the case and scrutinised with the Mark 1 eyeball.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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49 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

As mentioned, if you can examine the medals rim and note down the details there a lot of your questions can be answered.  It simply requires them to be taken out of the case and scrutinised with the Mark 1 eyeball.

Good point.  I would never be able to read what is inscribed on them unaided.  I will bring a high power magnifying glass with me.

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6 minutes ago, TetleyT said:

Good point.  I would never be able to read what is inscribed on them unaided.  I will bring a high power magnifying glass with me.

If you have glasses sufficient to correct your vision that should be enough unless you have acute limitations.   You could perhaps also seek the aid of a friend or family member.  The indented print isn’t microscopic, but a range of font styles were used.

BF29202D-E015-4C45-9639-6C4DD9DBC3A3.jpeg

DB8B29DA-6E0C-4969-8B15-CE07485CD6B4.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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On 07/11/2021 at 14:51, FROGSMILE said:

If you have glasses sufficient to correct your vision that should be enough unless you have acute limitations.   You could perhaps also seek the aid of a friend or family member.  The indented print isn’t microscopic, but a range of font styles were used.

 

 

Ah, I was thinking it was inscribed on the case of the medal.  I went through my old pictures, but did not capture the side edge of the medals.  However, I was able to make out that inside the case it says W.L. Thomson, Medallist, 25 Union Street, Glasgow.  I guess that was where the set was issued.  

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2 minutes ago, TetleyT said:

Ah, I was thinking it was inscribed on the case of the medal.  I went through my old pictures, but did not capture the side edge of the medals.  However, I was able to make out that inside the case it says W.L. Thomson, Medallist, 25 Union Street, Glasgow.  I guess that was where the set was issued.  

Yeah, I’d bet that’s where it was made.

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On 07/11/2021 at 16:34, TetleyT said:

Not the best photography and not on a good device.  At the time, I did not know what I was looking for on them.

I suspect this may be a group of ‘miniature medals’. If so they are unlikely to be named.

58 DM.

Edited by 58 Div Mule
Taking account of Tankengine888’s comments
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3 minutes ago, 58 Div Mule said:

I suspect this may be a group of ‘miniature medals’. If so they will not be named.

58 DM.

I agree with the miniature part. I'm pretty sure they still are named. My Grandfather served '71-'91 roughly and his miniature Australian Defence Medal isn't named.. but I'd bet the Mons Star is named.

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