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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Trying to Identify a Soldier in a Family Picture


TetleyT

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2 hours ago, tankengine888 said:

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.

Miniatures are not named as a general rule.  They never have been, although there’s nothing to stop a recipient paying to have details added, albeit very few letters could be fitted on.  Providing the recipient has the full size medals there is very little to be gained carrying out something both, difficult, and quite expensive to do.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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18 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Miniatures are not named as a general rule.  They never have been, although there’s nothing to stop a recipient paying to have details added, albeit very few letters could be fitted on.  Providing the recipient has the full size medals there is very little to be gained carrying out something both, difficult, and quite expensive to do.

So you're saying, this has hit another dead end (unless the topic starter person has the real sized ones)

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There could easily be two or three different men involved in this topic.  RB Sgt. in photo may or not be the man who went to France 26/4/1915. 1914 Star would not be given to someone arriving in theatre on that date.

The 26/4/1915 date could be a later draft for infantry or any other branch but any potential candidate should have that date on their MIC.

No 1 Fortress Works Company RE from Aberdeen did land in France as a unit on that date but a later draft seems more likely.

There are possible surnames of Rae, Bell & Quigley that may connect to the 2 or 3 men.

I've tried but ancestry shows 346 for Rae, 160 for Quigley and 2,954 for Bell, needles and haystacks spring to mind and the names may not be relevant anyway. I can't filter to 1914 Star as ancestry still produce results for both stars but the total for Rae jumps to 414.

Then there's two relatives who died, perhaps another two men involved?

TEW

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1 hour ago, TEW said:

There could easily be two or three different men involved in this topic.  RB Sgt. in photo may or not be the man who went to France 26/4/1915. 1914 Star would not be given to someone arriving in theatre on that date.

The 26/4/1915 date could be a later draft for infantry or any other branch but any potential candidate should have that date on their MIC.

No 1 Fortress Works Company RE from Aberdeen did land in France as a unit on that date but a later draft seems more likely.

There are possible surnames of Rae, Bell & Quigley that may connect to the 2 or 3 men.

I've tried but ancestry shows 346 for Rae, 160 for Quigley and 2,954 for Bell, needles and haystacks spring to mind and the names may not be relevant anyway. I can't filter to 1914 Star as ancestry still produce results for both stars but the total for Rae jumps to 414.

Then there's two relatives who died, perhaps another two men involved?

TEW

Yes it does seem that a lot more fine tuning is required TEW.

4 hours ago, tankengine888 said:

So you're saying, this has hit another dead end (unless the topic starter person has the real sized ones)

Yes.

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Having made the suggestion on a Facebook group that the OP post the photo here for help identifying the soldier in the photo, I wonder if the award of the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valor would help identify potential candidates, assuming that the soldier in the photograph is the same individual who was awarded the medals. A quick search of the Gazette produces 58 notices between 1914 and 1921 announcing awards of the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valor, so possibly a little easier to identify potential candidates than looking for a Distinguished Conduct Medal award, although having identified a suitable candidate, their name could then be cross-referenced with an award of the latter. Is it safe to assume that if an individual was awarded the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valor, they had to have fought on the Italian front?

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There seems to have been 954 WWI awards of this medal in bronze. Foreign awards are not always Gazetted. The criteria seems to include 'in the face of the enemy' so no doubt served in Italy.

There can't be many men with the Italian award, DCM & 14 Star with clasp. You'd have to check each of the 58 Gazette entries against campaign medal records and ditto for DCM bearing in mind the recipient could have changed units and/or been re-numbered between the 14 Star & the DCM.

Then track down the other ~900 recipients not showing in the Gazette so far.

Quicker to wait for a number from the medals I think.

TEW 

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Just out of interest , this is a set of miniatures , MC and Bar, BWM and Victory medal which have the recipients name Lt J B M Young, Royal Berkshire Regt on the MC miniature and even more impressively the edges of the BWM and Victory medal are inscribed exactly as the originals. I need quite a powerful magnifying lass to make out the inscriptions. 

DF375468-B621-4169-BC99-DB29BBB34C26.jpeg

B5ABE9A9-9A2B-4FEF-B8CA-5310B0640A9C.jpeg

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1 hour ago, TEW said:

You'd have to check each of the 58 Gazette entries against campaign medal records and ditto for DCM bearing in mind the recipient could have changed units and/or been re-numbered between the 14 Star & the DCM.

There will be more than 58 individuals listed in the Gazette, as there are 58 notices, each of which list multiple recipients, so you may be a lot closer to that figure of 954 awards than at first apparent. But certainly not a trivial task going through them all.

 

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42 minutes ago, NevB said:

Just out of interest , this is a set of miniatures , MC and Bar, BWM and Victory medal which have the recipients name Lt J B M Young, Royal Berkshire Regt on the MC miniature and even more impressively the edges of the BWM and Victory medal are inscribed exactly as the originals. I need quite a powerful magnifying lass to make out the inscriptions. 

DF375468-B621-4169-BC99-DB29BBB34C26.jpeg

B5ABE9A9-9A2B-4FEF-B8CA-5310B0640A9C.jpeg

It’s very interesting to see such a rare set, thank you for posting them.  It would have cost the recipients quite a substantial amount to have such fine work added to their miniature medals, although it does not surprise me that some merchants provided such a service as a premium option.

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Mate,

Sorry but the award of an Italian Medal does not mean he served in Italy, I have a number of AIF LH soldiers awarded this medal while serving in Egypt/Palestine

So he may have gained this award at any time and place.

S.B

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Stand corrected.

I should also have linked to another post for some other points.

TEW

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14 hours ago, 58 Div Mule said:

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

58 DM.

I had wondered about that.  What size or diameter were the non-miniatures?   This expands my thinking as to whose medals my grandfather might have had.  The most immediate family of the soldier might have had the non-miniatures.  I am trying to research the medallist company to see if they made one or the other or both sizes. 

Also, the medallist was in Glasgow, which is where my grandfather's family lived, If there were several medallists in Scotland and England then the location is meaningful in that Glasgow was the place of distribution.  If they were a sole provider across the UK or among a very limited few, then the location is possibly of less relevance as they would have distributed them further afield.

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44 minutes ago, TEW said:

Stand corrected.

I should also have linked to another post for some other points.

TEW

I read through that particular thread.  Only 966 British were awarded the Italian Bronze medal.  I did wonder how many there were.  If there is a listing somewhere, that is not that many names to go through relatively speaking.  I have certainly made my way through longer lists in general genealogy.  It would certainly be worth the effort to recognize one more who served in my family tree.

 

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9 hours ago, TEW said:

There could easily be two or three different men involved in this topic.  RB Sgt. in photo may or not be the man who went to France 26/4/1915. 1914 Star would not be given to someone arriving in theatre on that date.

The 26/4/1915 date could be a later draft for infantry or any other branch but any potential candidate should have that date on their MIC.

No 1 Fortress Works Company RE from Aberdeen did land in France as a unit on that date but a later draft seems more likely.

There are possible surnames of Rae, Bell & Quigley that may connect to the 2 or 3 men.

I've tried but ancestry shows 346 for Rae, 160 for Quigley and 2,954 for Bell, needles and haystacks spring to mind and the names may not be relevant anyway. I can't filter to 1914 Star as ancestry still produce results for both stars but the total for Rae jumps to 414.

Then there's two relatives who died, perhaps another two men involved?

TEW

Yes, input here and your observation have really clarified for me that there are several men who served on this particular line.  The two who are known to have died do not match the other details.  Neither does the known soldier who survived.  So there is clearly at least one more and possibly three on this line in addition to the known ones. 

The commonality of the surnames and possible first names in the family are a challenge.  I do tend to focus more broadly on the surname as it is possible the first name is someone who is missing from my tree.  Nonetheless, learning more here and sorting out details has helped.  I could click through several records per day quite quickly with better clarity on what I am looking for.  

The two who are know to have been killed in action had the rank of Private so are not the man in the picture.  As far as I can tell neither earned these five medals.  

Joseph Rae and his uncle, Alexander Quigley, were the two known to have died on this family line.  Due to alphabetical proximity of last names, their names are only one line apart on the wall at Arras.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/1620054/joseph-rae/
https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/1619988/alexander-quigley/

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5 hours ago, NevB said:

Just out of interest , this is a set of miniatures , MC and Bar, BWM and Victory medal which have the recipients name Lt J B M Young, Royal Berkshire Regt on the MC miniature and even more impressively the edges of the BWM and Victory medal are inscribed exactly as the originals. I need quite a powerful magnifying lass to make out the inscriptions. 

DF375468-B621-4169-BC99-DB29BBB34C26.jpeg

B5ABE9A9-9A2B-4FEF-B8CA-5310B0640A9C.jpeg

Thank you for those images.  I can even see the general size of the miniatures relative to the hand behind them.  The medals are with my mother at the moment, but I will have a look when I can visit.  

 

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8 minutes ago, TetleyT said:

Thank you for those images.  I can even see the general size of the miniatures relative to the hand behind them.  The medals are with my mother at the moment, but I will have a look when I can visit.  

 

Well atleast we know the deal.

A DCM old contemptible winner! With the Italian Bronze medal for Valour.. and a few surnames, correct?

Just now, tankengine888 said:

Well atleast we know the deal.

A DCM old contemptible winner! With the Italian Bronze medal for Valour.. and a few surnames, correct?

Just a slight thought, wouldn’t the winner of the DCM have a sort of military engraving on his headstone (postnominals for D.C.M)? Since it might help.. since in Australia, you can get a plaque on your grave if went O/S saying your name, rank, posting and your post nominal.

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6 minutes ago, tankengine888 said:

Well atleast we know the deal.

A DCM old contemptible winner! With the Italian Bronze medal for Valour.. and a few surnames, correct?

Just a slight thought, wouldn’t the winner of the DCM have a sort of military engraving on his headstone (postnominals for D.C.M)? Since it might help.. since in Australia, you can get a plaque on your grave if went O/S saying your name, rank, posting and your post nominal.

Good idea.  I do not have headstone images from some, as I have no indication where they were buried.  I am even uncertain of the basic death record from my great grandfather.  I have not found one in Scotland.  There is a possible one in England.  He may have moved.  I know that when his daughter was born in 1919, William Rae was listed as being a corporal with the 3rd battalion of the Highland Light Infantry.  I have not found his service record.  I have no indication that he served overseas. Perhaps I will pursue an online search for the headstone of the man who died in England.  There may be information on it to further assess if this is the right grave.  He is probably not the man in the picture as he was born in 1884 and would have been in his 30s by then, plus by 1919 he was a corporal whereas the young man in the photo was already a staff sergeant. But it is possible he could have earned that medal set.   

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9 hours ago, Tawhiri said:

Having made the suggestion on a Facebook group that the OP post the photo here for help identifying the soldier in the photo, I wonder if the award of the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valor would help identify potential candidates, assuming that the soldier in the photograph is the same individual who was awarded the medals. A quick search of the Gazette produces 58 notices between 1914 and 1921 announcing awards of the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valor, so possibly a little easier to identify potential candidates than looking for a Distinguished Conduct Medal award, although having identified a suitable candidate, their name could then be cross-referenced with an award of the latter. Is it safe to assume that if an individual was awarded the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valor, they had to have fought on the Italian front?

I will search the Gazette.  It may take a while, but if I search a few notices per day and keep track of the ones I search, I should be able to cover them in a month.

 

 

Edited by TetleyT
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8 hours ago, Tawhiri said:

There will be more than 58 individuals listed in the Gazette, as there are 58 notices, each of which list multiple recipients, so you may be a lot closer to that figure of 954 awards than at first apparent. But certainly not a trivial task going through them all.

 

Out of curiosity, how can I find the gazette? I’m an Australia, so yeah.. British isn’t my strong suit.

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9 hours ago, TetleyT said:

What size or diameter were the non-miniatures? 

Wikipedia tells me that  the British War Medal  was 36mm in diameter and thw ribbon 32mm wide.

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