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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Photo - “Old Boys”, 3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade 1914


mrfrank

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Trying to work out the significance of this Gale & Polden produced photo and the caption “at it again”. Are these ‘old sweats’ who have returned to serve with the 3rd Bn on the outbreak of war? Was the 3rd Bn at Blackdown in 1914?
Not having too much luck tracing many of the names either. The youngest looking of the group is ‘Sgt E Lucas’ and there is a CSM Edward Lucas who fell whilst serving with the 10th Bn in 1916. 
The officer featured is Major RW Gillespie,  but can’t find him in any of the Army Lists I have. There was a  regular RB 2nd Lt in 1897 ‘RW Gillespie’. Is this Richard William Gillespie who CWGC has killed in June 1944 along with his wife when aged 70 and described as ‘Retd Major’? 
Any help much appreciated. 
I’ll post an actual image of the photo tomorrow when I have better light.

89E905AD-3D34-41A3-983B-62516330FA41.jpeg

Edited by mrfrank
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Some possibles for you although I suspect @stiletto_33853 may have a much better idea of who they might be.

Sergt. E. Lucas -  there are WO97 series records for an Edward Lucas who did 12 years in the Colours with The Rifle Brigade between the 30th January 1897 and the 29th January 1909. Service number was 4945. Born Hoxton, London, he was stated to be 18 years and 11 months when he enlisted. He saw service overseas in India and Aden. He finished his service as a Corporal although in August 1908, (poss 1903?), he passed his exam for Sergeant.

Sergt H. Handthere are WO97 series records for a Harpin Hand who did 12 years plus in the Colours with The Rifle Brigade between the 24th July 1894 and the 2nd August 1906. Service number was 3344. He was born in the parish of St Lukes, Manchester, and was stated to be 18 years and 4 months when he enlisted. He actually extended to 21 years while serving in Aden in October 1905, but with effect from the 2nd August 1906 he exercised his right have completed 12 years to be discharged. His rank at this time was Corporal. He had taken part in campaigning on the Punjab Frontier 1897-98.

C.S.M. R. Wignallpossible –on the 1911 Census of England & Wales there is a 41 year old Army Pensioner and Caddie Master Robert Wignall who was born Portsea. Portsmouth. Robert was the married head of the household at 129 Samuel Street, Woolwich. As well as wife Annie also recorded in the same household were the couples four living children – with some interesting birth places. William, (21), was born New Charlton, Kent, Nellie, (19) was born Winchester, Hampshire, Winifred, (17) was born Peshawar, Punjab, and Gladys, (15) was born Kuldana, Punjab.

Major R.W. Gillespie. The retired Major who was killed, aged 70, on the 30th June 1944, (so born c1874), had a wife called Alice Marie. May be a co-incidence but on the 1911 Census of England & Wales there is a 36 year old Richard Gillespie, a Laundry Company Director, born Belgaum, India, who under occupation also lists “Retired Army”. He was the married head of the household at ‘The Beeches’, Junction Road, Andover, Hampshire.

S.M. A.J. PayneThere are WO97 series records for Colour Sergeant & Acting Sergeant-Major 740 Albert James Payne, Rifle Brigade and Permanent Staff of the Inns of Court O.T.C. He was discharged on the 18th July 1911, having completed his second period of engagement. He was then aged 40 years and 1 month, and his intended place of residence was 15 Holden Street, Lavender Hill. S.W. London. He had been recorded at the same address on the 1911 Census of England & Wales a few months earlier, which was the residence of his widowed mother Anastatia.Albert, them 39 and single, gave his birthplace as Shorncliffe, Kent and his occupation as Army Sergeant Major Instructor, Territorial Force.

C.S.M. J. Winmillthe 1911 Census of England & Wales has a Colour-Sergeant John Winmill who was recorded in barracks at Frances Street, Woolwich, with the 6th Battalion, Rifle Brigade. A married man, he was aged 39 and born Ware, Hertfordshire.

Cheers,
Peter

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Thank you Peter….as always, your assistance is much appreciated. Here’s the image…unfortunately, some spotting and silvering:

 

43DA3ED7-7335-4544-8B5A-31A1AD5875D5.jpeg

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The term Old Boys is synonymous with men who left an institution where they had cut their teeth, but then return to it, rather like to an alma mater (albeit for any period and for a specific purpose). In this case it’s plain to me that they are likely to all be time expired men returned to the colours. 

Edited by FROGSMILE
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19 hours ago, mrfrank said:

Was the 3rd Bn at Blackdown in 1914?

If these were time expired senior\experienced NCO's then they may have been tempted back by the one year enlistments on offer to serve as instructors for Kitcheners New Army. So while on the establishment of the 3rd, its likely they would have been posted elsewhere rather than going out with the B.E.F. The Long Long Trail shows that after they were raised in September 1914, the 10th, 11th and 12th Battalions went to Blackdown. https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/the-rifle-brigade-1914-1918/

That possibly ties in with

19 hours ago, mrfrank said:

The youngest looking of the group is ‘Sgt E Lucas’ and there is a CSM Edward Lucas who fell whilst serving with the 10th Bn in 1916. 

There is no additional information as to family or age for S/1082 CSM Edward Lucas on his CWGC webpage. https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/801634/edward-lucas/

But Soldiers Died in the Great War records him as born Hoxton, Middlesex, resident Phomplett, Devon and enlisted Liverpool.

May be a co-incidence but the birth place ties in with that of Corporal 4945 Edward Lucas who I referenced in my previous post.
Corporal Lucas would have been born c1878. On the 1911 Census of England & Wales there is a 33 year old married Hotel Porter Edward Lucas, born Hoxton, Middlesex, who was recorded as the head of the household at 86 Royston Street, Liverpool. He lives there with his wife of three years, Erica, and their 1 year old son, born Southwark. Erica, 27, was born Plymouth. So possibly she returned to live with family at Phomplett after her husband rejoined the army - if it's not just a co-incidence.

Cheers,
Peter

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Peter & Frogsmile are on the right track

Spillane, J. J., old number 1640, time expired after 12 yrs service, new number S/4560 10th RB aged 41 years 180 days

Vass, R. G., old number 5934, disc 30/7/1904 time expired end of 2nd term of engagement. New number S/3932, 10th RB, disc KR392 xxv 18/3/15

Wignall, R., old number 8125 served in RB for 22 years 109 days, new number S/3930 10th RB, Disc KR392 xvi no longer fit

etc etc.

Common denominator, they all served previously in the 3rd RB, looks like they all served in the Tochi Expedition together.

the 20th Division were at Blackdown, 10th Rifle Brigade

If you need more message me and I will send what I have OFF forum.

 

Andy

Edited by stiletto_33853
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16 hours ago, mrfrank said:

Thanks Andy…..PM sent.

Just as an aside, Sergeant Steel is wearing Kitchener Blue, including his headdress.  It’s a strong clue to what underpins their rejoining the colours and the special 1914 engagement mentioned by Peter.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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  • 11 months later...

Hello,

New to this forum so apologies for being late to this!  I found your interesting photo when trying to research one of my G-Grandfathers, Major Richard William Gillespie RB.  As far as I know you have all the facts correct (he and his wife were living in retirement in Woolwich in 1944 and were killed by an early V1 bomb), but this is the first time I have seen his likeness in a photo, so thank you very much.  The Gillespies were a very military family; Richard was the fourth generation in a row to serve, but as far as I know he was the only one who was neither cavalry or Indian Army.  His son, my grandfather, was Lt Col in the Royal Engineers.

Edward Montgomery

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18 minutes ago, Edward Montgomery said:

Hello,

New to this forum so apologies for being late to this!  I found your interesting photo when trying to research one of my G-Grandfathers, Major Richard William Gillespie RB.  As far as I know you have all the facts correct (he and his wife were living in retirement in Woolwich in 1944 and were killed by an early V1 bomb), but this is the first time I have seen his likeness in a photo, so thank you very much.  The Gillespies were a very military family; Richard was the fourth generation in a row to serve, but as far as I know he was the only one who was neither cavalry or Indian Army.  His son, my grandfather, was Lt Col in the Royal Engineers.

Edward Montgomery

Welcome to the forum Edward, it’s pleasing to know that you’ve had the opportunity to see your great grandfather’s photo in such an unexpected way.  His presence in the photograph indicates that he was considered an old soldier at the time.  I cannot make out what his medal ribbons are but some forum members are very good at interpreting the orthochromatic film process that distorts certain primary colours in a misleading way. What is unclear to me from your explanation is whether he was an Officer commissioned from the ranks, which might be implied by his presence in that style of photograph.  Do you know if he was a career officer who started at the Royal Military College or as a Militia officer, or did he enlist as a soldier and rise through the ranks?

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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Edward,

If you contact the original poster I sent all R. W. Gillespie's details over, off forum. Little bit of a spat with a vicar that ended up in court.

 

Andy

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2 hours ago, Edward Montgomery said:

Hello,

New to this forum so apologies for being late to this!  I found your interesting photo when trying to research one of my G-Grandfathers, Major Richard William Gillespie RB.  As far as I know you have all the facts correct (he and his wife were living in retirement in Woolwich in 1944 and were killed by an early V1 bomb), but this is the first time I have seen his likeness in a photo, so thank you very much.  The Gillespies were a very military family; Richard was the fourth generation in a row to serve, but as far as I know he was the only one who was neither cavalry or Indian Army.  His son, my grandfather, was Lt Col in the Royal Engineers.

Edward Montgomery

PM sent Edward 

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