Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Help Please Identifying Uniform - Joseph O'Neill


Peter Secco
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hoping that some expert on uniform identification can identify what regiment the man in the photo is from and about what year/s this may have been taken. The photo was in a trove of postcards and photos that came to light last year and has my grandmother's identification of him on the back. There are no details of who the photo may have been taken by.

I have little information other than his name, Joseph O'Neill, who was a cousin of my grandmother, Mary McNeill (nee Donnelly b. 1885, Co. Derry). Mary's mother was Elizabeth (nee O'Neill, b. 1867, Co. Derry). I do not know any names of Elizabeth's siblings (yet?) so cannot identify who his parents may have been.

Any help gratefully appreciated.

Peter

 

Joe O'Neill - Nan's cousin2.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

I would say Connaught Rangers going by the collar badges. He has a good conduct stripe. I see that the 1st Btn were in Ferozepore in August 1914. Joseph is wearing tropical kit. Paging @FROGSMILE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am no expert, but looks like Connaught Rangers, which is what you would expect from where he lived (Derry)

You have a problem in tracking the family relationships. I assume you have seen this Ancestry Tree - click. Neither the 1865 birth , nor 1884 marriage are on Civil GRO. Nowever they do appear to come from Moneymore

There is a Fold 3 Pension Card for a Joseph O'Neill , Connaght Rangers, who came from Moneymore

connaught.jpg.f99592ca17add65f691b7a85cc74f935.jpg

Joseph is #9357 in Connaught Rangers, father Joseph, and 2 dead brothers Francis & Peter, both Inniskillings

It looks a reasonable clue to see if you can connect that family to yours

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

I would say Connaught Rangers going by the collar badges. He has a good conduct stripe. I see that the 1st Btn were in Ferozepore in August 1914. Joseph is wearing tropical kit. Paging @FROGSMILE

Hi Michelle. I hope you don't mind if I mention that I think Connaught Rangers OR's wore an elephant on their collar whereas the officers wore the harp. I'm no expert so maybe wrong but all pictures of OR's do appear to wear the elephant. 

0932C5B6-8F95-436F-B1B0-5B11631BA813_4_5005_c.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

I don’t mind at all, I’m no expert! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2nd Battalion Connaught Rangers, with locally procured collar badges of pattern only worn in India and “not at Home”. This was confirmed in a questionnaire immediately post WW1.

I wish that I could make out the design of the flash on the side of his Wolseley helmet, it seems to be something within an oval enclosure (maybe Connaught Rangers written in full in an upper and lower arc, with a harp, or elephant device in the centre). Perhaps @poona guardmight know?

483DC908-716F-4B64-AC34-4245CEED689B.jpeg

2A0DC1D0-593B-4EE3-AB50-3FDAE04F4BCA.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Joseph O'Neill in the Pension card was KIA Salonica with 5/6 Btn Connaught Rangers on 7 Dec 1915 (Soldiers Effects)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, corisande said:

The Joseph O'Neill in the Pension card was KIA Salonica with 5/6 Btn Connaught Rangers on 7 Dec 1915 (Soldiers Effects)

It seems 6th Connaught’s never left France, but 5th Connaught’s went to Salonika in October 1915.  If it’s him then the poor fellow only lasted 8-weeks.  Both 1st and 2nd Battalions served in the Middle East in khaki drill and the latter was so badly cut up it merged with the 1st in November 1914, never to be reconstituted until after the war.  I cannot think of another regular battalion to suffer a fate like that within the first year of the war.

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those you you who remember it, this is a bit like the Mornington Crescent game

This site - click - has those who served  in Coagh (as on pension card)

5th Battalion, Connaught Rangers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 16/03/1895
Died: 06/12/1915 (Killed in Action)
Age: 20
Summary
Joseph O’Neill was the son of Joseph and Lizzie O’Neill nee Hunter. Joseph was born about 1895 in Magherafelt. Joseph was living and working in Glasgow at the outbreak of war when he enlisted with the Connaught Rangers. Corporal Joseph O’Neill was killed in action in Salonika on 6th December 1915. He was 20 years old. Joseph had two other brothers who died in the war. Private Francis O’Neill was killed in action on the 29th March 1915 while serving with the 2nd Inniskillings in trenches at Festubert. Private Peter O’Neill was killed in action on 30th May 1915, while his battalion was in Brigade reserve at White House, Gallipoli.
Read more on Corporal Joseph O'Neill
Joseph O'Neill
Cemetery Details
Cemetery:
Doiran Memorial
Doiran, Thessaloniki
Grave Ref:
 
CWGC Casualty:
Summary
The Doiran Memorial stands near Doiran Military Cemetery, which is situated in the north of Greece close to the Yugoslav frontier and near the south-east shore of Lake Doiran. It is approximately 2 kilometres behind the village of Doiran and is reached via a farm track after turning left in the village by a large taverna. The Memorial stands on what was called Colonial Hill, and can be seen from a distance and is a landmark.
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And we get there in comparing the OPs photos and the Coagh photo - they are copies of the same photo

So that is your man :thumbsup:

I have done my bit, up to someone else to work out the relation to the OP

connaugt2.jpg.0fc8828c51d974372138fd9e6664ed36.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fantastic research corisande, yet another poor family to suffer such loss.

Interesting too that 5th Connaught’s followed the collar badge tradition mentioned by the 2nd Battalion in their questionnaire.

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks. To tell the truth, I was pleased to get this. I thought there was a remote chance of getting him, but there was nothing in the papers. Though an article must exist as the Coagh photo is a newspaper one . It is unusual to be able to nail a photo like that to 100% certainty, without the debate of whether it is the same man or not.

As I said, a bit like the Mornington Crescent game to get to him via a number of clues along the way

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, corisande said:

Thanks. To tell the truth, I was pleased to get this. I thought there was a remote chance of getting him, but there was nothing in the papers. Though an article must exist as the Coagh photo is a newspaper one . It is unusual to be able to nail a photo like that to 100% certainty, without the debate of whether it is the same man or not.

As I said, a bit like the Mornington Crescent game to get to him via a number of clues along the way

I’m fairly sure that the photo would have been taken in Egypt before he embarked for Salonika.  It was common whenever possible to allow the men some temporary day passes to leave camp before departure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, corisande said:

You have a problem in tracking the family relationships. I assume you have seen this Ancestry Tree - click. Neither the 1865 birth , nor 1884 marriage are on Civil GRO. Nowever they do appear to come from Moneymore

There is a Fold 3 Pension Card for a Joseph O'Neill , Connaght Rangers, who came from Moneymore

connaught.jpg.f99592ca17add65f691b7a85cc74f935.jpg

Joseph is #9357 in Connaught Rangers, father Joseph, and 2 dead brothers Francis & Peter, both Inniskillings

It looks a reasonable clue to see if you can connect that family to yours

The correspondingly referenced Pension Ledger Index Card gives Joseph [senior - his father] born 1851.

M

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

The correspondingly referenced Pension Ledger Index Card gives Joseph [senior - his father] born 1851.

 

Not sure what you are on about here. The father had 3 sons listed on the card

1, Francis

2. Peter

3 Joseph #9357 in Connaught Rangers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, corisande said:

Not sure what you are on about here. The father had 3 sons listed on the card

1, Francis

2. Peter

3 Joseph #9357 in Connaught Rangers

Agreed - the PLIC with the same claim reference, 12/D/884, mentions all three sons and records their father, Joseph's YoB as 1851 [not uncommon, in fact very common for such to be recorded, since a dependant parent could sometimes get an age related supplement/boost to their pension - based on circumstances, age, infirmity and source of income and the like

I can't access/see the Ancestry tree - Would make the 1865 birth [for Joseph jnr?] that you mentioned a bit unsual I think.

For the avoidance of doubt - here is the PLIC

image.png.88378344b13a2f5e94ca3e41f697ae3b.png

Image thanks to WFA/Fold3

We can see the pension paid climbs over the years - this may perhaps reflect Joseph [snr] circumstances.

@ss002d6252 may be able to further assist with the interpretation of this card's notes.

Without going into full details the other brothers also had different dependants [from other pension cards]-

Peter 12124 - a widow [Esther, baptised 21.4.78] and children [Joseph James b. 13.5.10 and Alice Philemon, b. 13.2.13]

Francis, 3035 - a widow [Elizabeth - also described was described as Separated wife] and a child [James Joseph b.28.5.09 - living with his guardian/grandmother, Annie O'NEILL, as his mother being in service]

This further detail is going a bit off piste with the OP but may help with genealogy I suppose.

M

Edited by Matlock1418
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

I can't access/see the Ancestry tree - Would make the 1865 birth [for Joseph jnr?] that you mentioned a bit unusual I think.

The tree is for his mother Elizabeth, and is one of the ancestors mentioned in OP

Their son , Joseph, the man in the photo, was the man killed in Salonica in 1915, and he was born in 1895

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, corisande said:

The tree is for his mother Elizabeth, and is one of the ancestors mentioned in OP

Ah, I'm afraid I had moved a bit past that and the other relative mentioned

15 minutes ago, corisande said:

Their son , Joseph, the man in the photo, was the man killed in Salonica in 1915, and he was born in 1895

Which would appear to fit a father born 1851 and mother born 1865

M

Edited by Matlock1418
add
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a good chronological history of the activity of 5th Connaught’s here that might interest the OP: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/146396-connaught-rangers-5th-battalion/#comment-1403861

Forum member @mhiflemight be interested in the OP’s photo. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is terrific work from you all - Maureen, Corisande, Ex Gunner 87, Frogsmile and Matlock 1418. Can't believe I've got so much to work on and such a quick response to my request. Thanks so much.

Here are some early thoughts on all your good research and input.

In the 1901 Irish Census, my Nan - Mary Donnelly, aged 16 (b.1885 which matches our record of her birth certificate) - is recorded as working as a farm servant with Joseph O'Neill, aged 20 (b.1881), at a Frank Trainor's farm in the Magherafelt/Moneymore area. When I found the photo above, I thought she must have kept it as a keepsake because they had probably become good mates there, other than just being cousins. I don't know how long they might have worked together there but my Nan went to America in 1909 for 4 years and came back to Ireland in 1913. That Joseph O'Neill doesn't match though with the Coagh memorial site information that Joseph was born in 1895. I am now thinking the 1901 Census Joseph may be just another Joseph O'Neill from the area and not Nan's cousin. The photo of him doesn't look like he is a 33/34 year old man. 

The Elizabeth O'Neill Tree on Ancestry is my Nan's mother, not Joseph's mother who was also Elizabeth or Lizzie.

Thanks very much Corisande for the Coagh site link. One of my Mum's cousins is still living in the area and I am going to send this information to him to see if he can confirm the information and shed any light to indicate that this is the man I'm trying to match. I'll also get in touch with that site to ascertain where they got all the information about Joseph's and his brother's enlistment and life details etc.

Frogsmile and Gunner87 - with your comment about the wearing of the elephant or the harp badge, the photo doesn't show any a/g Corporal stripes (perhaps he got them later in the field after the photo was taken) but do I take it that he is wearing the harp and that was normal in these circumstances? Re the helmet writing I tried to blow it up to see what it may have said but it was illegible to me. And thanks for the link on the Connaughts - looks like I have a bit of reading to do.

Matlock 1418 - I will pass on your good info. to my Mum's cousin also to see if he can join the dots and confirm all the info. provided.

Thanks all so much again for your hard work.

Peter 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, Peter Secco said:

This is terrific work from you all - Maureen, Corisande, Ex Gunner 87, Frogsmile and Matlock 1418. Can't believe I've got so much to work on and such a quick response to my request. Thanks so much.

Here are some early thoughts on all your good research and input.

In the 1901 Irish Census, my Nan - Mary Donnelly, aged 16 (b.1885 which matches our record of her birth certificate) - is recorded as working as a farm servant with Joseph O'Neill, aged 20 (b.1881), at a Frank Trainor's farm in the Magherafelt/Moneymore area. When I found the photo above, I thought she must have kept it as a keepsake because they had probably become good mates there, other than just being cousins. I don't know how long they might have worked together there but my Nan went to America in 1909 for 4 years and came back to Ireland in 1913. That Joseph O'Neill doesn't match though with the Coagh memorial site information that Joseph was born in 1895. I am now thinking the 1901 Census Joseph may be just another Joseph O'Neill from the area and not Nan's cousin. The photo of him doesn't look like he is a 33/34 year old man. 

The Elizabeth O'Neill Tree on Ancestry is my Nan's mother, not Joseph's mother who was also Elizabeth or Lizzie.

Thanks very much Corisande for the Coagh site link. One of my Mum's cousins is still living in the area and I am going to send this information to him to see if he can confirm the information and shed any light to indicate that this is the man I'm trying to match. I'll also get in touch with that site to ascertain where they got all the information about Joseph's and his brother's enlistment and life details etc.

Frogsmile and Gunner87 - with your comment about the wearing of the elephant or the harp badge, the photo doesn't show any a/g Corporal stripes (perhaps he got them later in the field after the photo was taken) but do I take it that he is wearing the harp and that was normal in these circumstances? Re the helmet writing I tried to blow it up to see what it may have said but it was illegible to me. And thanks for the link on the Connaughts - looks like I have a bit of reading to do.

Matlock 1418 - I will pass on your good info. to my Mum's cousin also to see if he can join the dots and confirm all the info. provided.

Thanks all so much again for your hard work.

Peter 

 

 

 

I’m glad to help Peter and hope that you find it interesting to read the link I posted covering the activities of 5th Battalion Connaught’s.  Forum member ‘mhifle’ studies the regiment and will be interested in your photo, although I’ve not seen him post here for a while now.

I’m fairly sure that the helmet flash is very likely to be Connaught Rangers in two arcs with something in between.  If not a harp, or elephant, then thinking about it it’s probably 5 or perhaps V.  Many infantry helmet flashes were based on lettered titles as I’ve described.

Joseph isn’t a corporal in the photo, but he has a ‘good conduct badge’ (inverted stripe) on his left cuff, indicating that he’d completed 2-years full time service without any disciplinary blemish.  That was a not inconsiderable feat, as discipline was strict (in the infantry especially) and it suggests that he was a good soldier.  

The harp badge he wears on his collar was only worn on the collar overseas according to a questionnaire sent to the regiment post war and even then only by some battalions and not all.  At ‘Home’ postings the elephant badge was always worn.  Incidentally the officers did wear the harp badge on their khaki service dress collars at all times, and regardless of battalion, but in brownish bronze instead of the brass worn by the men (see below). 

D0F32A5D-D25C-40BC-829C-E64E7D924F38.jpeg

A2EDDC69-E78B-4DC6-B001-2B3FE9E9EAAB.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The pagri flah was worn by the 1st Battallion and is green curved lettering Connaught (top) Rangers on khaki.

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, poona guard said:

The pagri flah was worn by the 1st Battallion and is green curved lettering Connaught (top) Rangers on khaki.

Dave

Thank you Dave, I wondered what the colouring was, but guessed that green would be in there somewhere, as it was the primary regimental colour.

The 1st Battalion aspect throws questions on the subject soldiers history of postings though, as well as Colin Churchill’s quotation of the 2nd Connaught’s post WW1 questionnaire. 

Edited by FROGSMILE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

The 1st Battalion aspect throws questions on the subject soldiers history of postings

His service number is given in some sources as 1/9357

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A further thought. The use of the harp was probably used by the battalion that served in India as the elephant was used by another regiment. He was a pre-war regular who returned to the country with the battalion but did not get the 1914 star because he may have been unfit at the tiem and there were a lot of reservists, consequently he may then have gone to the depot and been kept (if unfit at the time) and as a regular given a rank and been used to train the new recruits hence ending up in Salonika with the 5th. They did use the collar harp and had a completely different pagri flash.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...