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Help identifying officers in group photo of 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers in Bedford, 1/5/1915, "B" Coy, Hill & Abbotts


A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

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Apologies, this is going to be a really long post looking for help identifying the four officers name in the title to the thread in a group photo.

My GF, Norman Hall, who went to France with the 2/5th LF on 3 May 1915, included in his memoir a group photograph of the officers of the 2/5th LF taken in Bedford on 1 May 1915. When I published an edited version of the memoir under the title A Lancashire Fusilier’s First World War in November 2020, I considered the task of identifying the 30 men shown in the photograph to be an impossible one, but, with help, I have now identified 15 of the men with a fair degree of certainty, and am in a position to have tentative guesses at a number of the others.

It occurred to me that, as many of you are extremely skilled at comparing facial features and/or ferreting out photographs from obscure places for comparison purposes, some members of this forum might be willing to assist in my attempts at identification, both to check my guesses, and to see whether the remaining men can be identified.

I attach a pdf version of the group photograph. On this I have superimposed numbered labels in which I have inserted the names of the 15 men whom I am fairly sure that I have identified. I have also inserted a rank on the remaining labels where the insignia of rank are clearly visible.

Grandpa's diary - Officers of 2nd 5th LF, group photo in Bedford 1.5.15.pdf

The only man whom my GF specifically identified in the photograph was himself, second from the left on the back row.

Incidentally, you will see that the photograph contains an early twentieth century version of photo-shopping as the men at either end of the back row have been inserted after the event, no doubt because they were not available at the time of the photoshoot.

In his memoir my GF gives us a list of 31 officers who proceeded to France with the 2/5th LF on 3 May 1915. Included in the 31 names are the MO and the Chaplain, but all the men in the group photograph wear the insignia of the LF so the MO and Chaplain were not present when the photo was taken. Because of the photo-shopping it is very likely that all the LF officers who went to France on 3 May 1915 can be seen in the finished version of the photograph. Assuming that to be the case, only one officer was present who did not in the end do so.

The method that I have adopted so far is to compare the faces in the group photograph with other photographs in my GF’s memoir in which he has specifically named the men, and in most cases where I have done this I can be fairly confident about the identifications. However, if anyone thinks that one of the men who has already been labelled is actually someone else, please do let me know.

I thought that it would be best either to take one man or a small group of men at a time.

So starting with a small group of four, here is another photograph supplied by my GF, four officers of “B” Company, taken in September 1915 about four months after the group photograph. In the later photograph my GF has named the four men.

IMG_1621.JPG.045a66c5d3590648b7425b6ed350fadc.JPG

Lieutenant Arthur Vincent Barwood’s nickname was “Little Barwood” for obvious reasons. He had been a bandmaster in the 9th KLR up to 17 April 1915, but with effect from that date was appointed temporary lieutenant in the 5th LF (gazetted 18 April 1915). I have no other photographs of him.

Like my GF, Lieutenant William Duckworth was gazetted as 2nd lieutenant on 14 October 1914 with effect from 7 October 1914, and was then promoted to temporary lieutenant with effect from 25 April 1914, so possibly still wearing the insignia of a 2nd lieutenant in the group photograph. He was wounded on the Somme in August 1916, and the attached article, complete with photograph, was published in the Heywood Advertiser on 18 August 1916.

Heywood_Advertiser_18_August_1916.jpg.684042c88ea0111d9bc08e9ba41f4436.jpg

2nd Lieutenant John Ernest Hartington sadly did not survive the war. As, like my grandfather, he had been a pupil of Bury Grammar School, Mark Hone of this forum compiled a biography of him for the school archive including two photographs Filename.ashx (bgsarchive.co.uk) . I attach another photograph from the Heywood Advertiser for 15 June 1917 below:

Heywood_advertiser_15_June_1917_JohnHartington.jpg.3686dc9bdfe219355028800b0b529ac8.jpg

Finally, googling John Davison Barnsdale reveals that he was born on 24 May 1978, so 36 when the photograph was taken on 1 May 1915. He had married Helen Bowden, daughter of Sir Frank Bowden, founder and chairman of the Raleigh Cycle Company, in 1910, and was himself a director of Raleigh,. He was also a sportsman of some standing, both a cricketer and a footballer. The LG of 18 October 1915 carries the notice of the promotion of Captain Barnsdale to Major with effect from 25 April 1915, so I understand that he would have possibly still been wearing the insignia of a captain; in fact he must have been, as a major would certainly have been in the front row in the photograph, and there is only one man wearing the insignia of a major, who I am confident is Major H.N. Milnes. There is a photograph of J.D. Barnsdale as an older man on this website:

  https://www.trentbridge.co.uk/trentbridge/history/players/john-barnsdale.html

I know of one more photograph that can be used for comparison purposes for two of the four men, 2nd Lieutenant Duckworth and Major/Captain Barnsdale, namely a photograph that appeared in the Bury Times on 5 December 1914, a copy of which I attach.BT5Dec1914.jpg.b19cfe14d27e7fcbd3e29669eaa3dfb8.jpg

The quality of this photograph is not good, but Barnsdale and Duckworth are in the middle row, second and fourth respectively from the left.

Thank you in advance for any help that anyone can offer with this.

Tricia

 

 

Edited by A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
To add Abbotts
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Is Lt-Col Bertram Best Dunkley on the list?

Edited by johnmelling1979
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1 hour ago, johnmelling1979 said:

Is Lt-Col Bertram Best Dunkley on the list?

No, the first time my GF mentions Best-Dunkley is just over a year later in his entry for 19 June 1916, when he says that Best-Dunkley (then a Lieutenant) had taken over as Adjutant. He does not mention the exact date on which this had happened, nor (so far as I can see) does the 2/5th LF WD, but some time during June 1916 documents begin to be signed by Best-Dunkley as Adjutant in place of Captain Hutchinson, who had been acting as Adjutant for a short time previously.

I resisted the urge to post the complete list of all 30 at the start of this thread, as I thought that it might be better to concentrate on a few men at a time, and in separate threads, rather than try to include what I knew about the appearance of all of them in a single thread, which I foresaw might become impossibly complex. 

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One will be C W B Hill but presumably not Lts G M Humble and S Cooper or 2/Lts T H G Kenderdine and E H Fryer, who joined the Bn in France on 23/08/1915 according to the War Diary.

Brian 

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No new pictures of John Ernest Hartington I'm afraid, but for what little it's worth, facially this is my best guess as to which officer he might be in the 1915 picture taken at Bedford.

JohnErnestHartingtoncomparisonv1.png.452106e68ae8a2b68af61635180dcb0e.png

No new IP is claimed for the above, and all image rights, if any remain with the current owners.

Picture sources

[a] Bury Grammar School Roll of Honour. http://bgsarchive.co.uk/Filename.ashx?tableName=ta_boys_rollofhonour&columnName=filename&recordId=58

[b] This Great War Forum Thread, owner @A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

[c] Lives of the First World War. https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/1579527

Cheers,
Peter

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12 minutes ago, PRC said:

No new pictures of John Ernest Hartington I'm afraid, but for what little it's worth, facially this is my best guess as to which officer he might be in the 1915 picture taken at Bedford.

JohnErnestHartingtoncomparisonv1.png.452106e68ae8a2b68af61635180dcb0e.png

No new IP is claimed for the above, and all image rights, if any remain with the current owners.

Picture sources

[a] Bury Grammar School Roll of Honour. http://bgsarchive.co.uk/Filename.ashx?tableName=ta_boys_rollofhonour&columnName=filename&recordId=58

[b] This Great War Forum Thread, owner @A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy

[c] Lives of the First World War. https://livesofthefirstworldwar.iwm.org.uk/lifestory/1579527

Cheers,
Peter

They all look an excellent to me Peter.  Good job!

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On 13/02/2024 at 18:14, brianmorris547 said:

One will be C W B Hill but presumably not Lts G M Humble and S Cooper or 2/Lts T H G Kenderdine and E H Fryer, who joined the Bn in France on 23/08/1915 according to the War Diary.

Brian, you are quite right that I believe that Lieutenant Claude Worsley Boyce Hill, Machine Gun Officer, would have been amongst those in the May 1915 group photograph, but not the other men you mention, who, as you say, joined later in the year. C.W.B. Hill may have been wearing the insignia of a lieutenant or 2nd lieutenant in the photograph as, although he was not gazetted as a temporary lieutenant wef 25 April 1915 until 18 May 1915, I understand that, as Machine Gun Officer, he may have been wearing the insignia of a lieutenant from an earlier date. He was the first of the 2/5th LF officers to be wounded, on his first visit to the front line. I have no other photographs of him, but he may possibly have been a tall man as the manner in which he was wounded suggests a sniper attack before he learnt to keep below the level of the parapet. This is mere speculation on my part as, although his service record survives at Kew, and I have had a look at it, I cannot find any reference to his height. He was aged 27 at the date of the photograph.

20 hours ago, PRC said:

No new pictures of John Ernest Hartington I'm afraid, but for what little it's worth, facially this is my best guess as to which officer he might be in the 1915 picture taken at Bedford.

PRC, it is really helpful to see all five photographs set side by side. I had formed a tentative view that the man whom you have picked out was the most likely to be J.E. Hartington, and I am pleased to have that tentative view confirmed by someone whom I know to have a real talent for doing these comparisons. I am more than happy to accept that identification as being pretty well certain.

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On 12/02/2024 at 13:48, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

Finally, googling John Davison Barnsdale reveals that he was born on 24 May 1978, so 36 when the photograph was taken on 1 May 1915. He had married Helen Bowden, daughter of Sir Frank Bowden, founder and chairman of the Raleigh Cycle Company, in 1910, and was himself a director of Raleigh,.

I don't have subscription access to the British Newspaper Archive, but from the thumbnail search returns there are potentially some pictures relating to the wedding that appeared in the edition of The Gentlewoman dated 9th July 1910.

JohnDavisonBarnsdaleBNAscreenshot140224.png.056d16cb30c49e414773ad5b8f1e6d5b.png
Image courtesy The British Newspaper Archive.

I did check the The Tatler for the same period but drew a blank.

Unfortunately the 5th Reserve Battalion photograph is too dark and low quality to be able to make use of any cropped headshots with the ancient software I'm using.

A search for a John Barnsdale in connection with the Raleigh Bicycle Company did bring up an image from later in life. https://www.trentbridge.co.uk/trentbridge/history/players/john-barnsdale.html

Given the cleft chin on the later image I've focused a search of the 1915 picture at Bedford for that feature. Given the rank of Captain then Army pecking order being what it is I'd expect him to be seated in the front row. Confining the search there and looking for a cleft chin leads me to tentatively suggest Officer 24 as a potential match.

JohnDavisonBarnsdalecomparisonv1.png.b9a0fcaa78fa3d902125131edf01901b.png

No new IP is claimed for the above, and all image rights, if any, remain with the current owners.

Cheers,
Peter

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Tricia

You may have noticed that yesterday I posted on a thread 6 Bn Seaforth Highlanders. I am going through the Bedford papers at the moment to see if there is any mention of 2/5 LFs. So far the Bedfordshire Times 23/04/1915 mentions the Bn and Col Hall and the edition 07/05/1915 mentions Cpl J Higgens (sic) whose billet was at 50 Harpur St. He wrote to the paper to thank the ladies of Harpur St for looking after them. 

The Highland and Lancashire soldiers were so well received by the people of Bedford that it caused some residents to complain that their own men of the Bedfordshire Regt were not as well looked after. 

I thought I had struck gold when I found a very clear picture of named Officers headed 2/5 but it turned out to be 2/5 Bedfordshire Regt.

I'll let you know if I find anything else.

Brian

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Tricia

I have identified the Officers (EDIT of the Reserve Bn photo) and their full names from the London Gazette. I will check the 1911 Census for their addresses and then the local papers for that location to see if I can find any photographs. Starting with Claude Worsley Boyce Hill since he is a bit of an enigma and not on the photo.

LG 29064 09/02/1915 full name as 2/Lt 5 LFs, and as you say LG 29168 18/05/1915 as Claude W B Hill to Temp Lt.

1911 Census (only one with this name) Age 24 Married to Mary Alfreda Hill age 22. He was a farmer living at Daws Cottage, The Village, Witchampton, Wimbourne, Dorset.

No local papers for Dorset on the BNL.

Brian

Edited by brianmorris547
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Thank you, Peter, for your work on John Barnsdale. I too concluded that he had to be in the front row, and that he was therefore either No. 24 or No. 30. Initially I favoured No. 30, but seeing the three photos lined up alongside each other as you have done your conclusion that No. 30 is the most likely is certainly very persuasive, especially with the marked dimple in the chin. I thought that No. 30 might possibly also have a dimpled chin, but, if so, it is virtually lost in shadow. I presume that you also lined up No.. 30, and ruled him out?

it has also been pointed out to me that No 24 has a long back, which would fit with the height of Major Barnsdale in the photograph of "B" Company.

It would be interesting to know whether there is indeed a photograph of Major Barnsdale in the Gentlewoman on the occasion of his marriage in 1910. I think it possible that the top right hand thumbnail might be labelled "Mr John Barnsdale", but I may be kidding myself. Unfortunately I don't subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive either.

Nor do I have the software needed to enhance the photograph of officers of the 5th Reserve Battalion from the Bury Times.

Brian, turning to Claude Worsley Boyce Hill, this is what I have found out about him so far from his service record at the National Archives, his Canadian service record, and googling him:

Claude Hill was born at Farnham in Surrey in October 1886, the son of Charles Boyce Hill and Zillah Mary (Boss) Hill. He had one full sister, Dorothy Marjorie Boyce Hill. and was educated at Trent College, Derbyshire. He served with the Berkshire Imperial Yeomanry for three years to 1908, then married Mary Alfreda Emberson (whose parents then lived at Mayfield, Sussex) at St Mary Abbot’s Church in Kensington on 1 June 1910 (reported in the Times), at which time his parents were living at Crichel, Wimborne. Crichel seems to have been a stately home and has an entry on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crichel_House but I don't think that Claude's father owned it. Maybe he worked there or was a tenant farmer. 

Claude and his wife must have gone to Canada as he joined up with the Seaforth Highlanders (Canada) on 10 September 1914 as a private, and was with them in the 72nd Regiment until 21 November 1914, when he was discharged so that he could return to Britain to apply for a commission, which he did in January 1915, becoming an officer in the 5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. At that stage he gave his address as Crichel, his parents’ home, and gave his occupation as a farmer. His height was 6 feet 2 ½ inches, which may explain why he was a vulnerable target for a sniper on his very first trip to the trenches.

He never fully recovered from his injuries, as he couldn’t see things below the horizontal and had difficulties with coordination etc.. Following treatment in military hospitals he relinquished his commission on 7 September 1916 on the grounds of ill health, and must then have gone back to Canada, as a letter of 11 January 1917 gives his address as Bushey Park, Hilliers, Vancouver Island. He didn’t stay long in Canada, as a letter dated 27 October 1924 gives his address as The Willows, Pinedown Road, Ferndown, Dorset. In that letter he asks for the government to pay for a special device to assist him with emptying his bowels, but I think that he was turned down, on the grounds that the device didn't count as a "surgical appliance".

He died on 12 August 1934 aged 47 of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (Pneumococal) at the Cottage Hospital in Whitby. His address at that time is given as 14 Westfield Road, Leicester, and his occupation is given as a manager with the Singer Sewing Machine Company. His widow Mary Alfreda Hill is said to have been “in attendance” at his death. Presumably they were in Whitby either on holiday, or in the hope that it would be good for Claude’s health.

As you will see, I had the name of Claude's wife as Mary Alfreda Hill, but their address in 1911 was news to me.

I wonder whether there would have been a photo of him in the Times on the occasion of his marriage.

Incidentally, I have reminded myself that I do know Claude Hill's height, and have found where it is stated in his service record. As stated above he was 6 feet 2 1/2 inches, so he was indeed a tall man, susceptible to being a target for a sniper.

16 hours ago, brianmorris547 said:

The Highland and Lancashire soldiers were so well received by the people of Bedford that it caused some residents to complain that their own men of the Bedfordshire Regt were not as well looked after. 

By way of confirmation as to how well received the 2/5th LF were in Bedford, my GF was billetted at the house of a Mrs Eaton Turner, 58 Adelaide Square (which is still there) with Norman Kemp and Malcolm Young. He says:

The Turners were very kind to Kemp, Young and myself. We were very happy at "58"

The underlining is my GF's, by the way.

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15 minutes ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

Thank you, Peter, for your work on John Barnsdale. I too concluded that he had to be in the front row, and that he was therefore either No. 24 or No. 30. Initially I favoured No. 30, but seeing the three photos lined up alongside each other as you have done your conclusion that No. 30 is the most likely is certainly very persuasive, especially with the marked dimple in the chin. I thought that No. 30 might possibly also have a dimpled chin, but, if so, it is virtually lost in shadow. I presume that you also lined up No.. 30, and ruled him out?

it has also been pointed out to me that No 24 has a long back, which would fit with the height of Major Barnsdale in the photograph of "B" Company.

I did look at all the individuals in the front row including the ones you had named, but other than a vague similarity to the two comparison images, Officer 30 appears to be a Lieutenant, whereas Officer 29 was an unnamed Captain.

And when you add up all the named and unnamed Captains in the picture that gives you 8 in total, which sounds about right for a Battalion - if Officer 30 is a Captain as well then that takes you to 9.

Because of the way he scrunched up in his seat it is difficult to tell if Officer 30 is comparable in height to Officer 24, (and Captain Cummins and Lt. Colonel Hall), all three of whom have the look of someone on a seat that is too small for them height wise.

Officer 29, a Captain, looks to be relatively shorter, so if he is the Major in the Senlis 1915 picture then the other three officer must be very short even by the norm of the time.

Unfortunately doesn't take much of a blemish on a picture to make a chin look cleft \ dimpled, while low resolution such as the Senlis picture can leave too little detail in the relevant area to be sure. Even in higher resolution pictures it doesn't take too much movement to produce a blur in that area which then obscures the feature. My identification of him as Officer 24 is thus just tentative at this stage as I can't even be sure the officer concerned did have a chin like that.

35 minutes ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

Unfortunately I don't subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive either.

Assuming you live in the UK your local public library service is likely to subscribe and so you can access it via a PC at a library if you are a member. The only restriction is then the length of the session allowed by Health & Safety.:) My local Library service is experimenting with letting you bring in your own device and logging on via the onsite wireless network and website, but I'm happy popping in with a memory stick when I can. Unfortunately I don't know when that will next be.

Cheers,
Peter

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  • A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy changed the title to Help identifying officers in group photograph of 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers in Bedford, 1/5/1915, "B" Coy and Hill

Thank you, PRC, As I said (or meant to say - I have just corrected by an edit) your conclusion that Officer 24 is the man most likely to be Major is persuasive, and I am more than happy to adopt it. The cleft chin in the Trentbridge photo of him as an older man is unlikely to be merely a blemish, nor do I think that the mark on the chin of Officer 24 looks like a mere blemish, so that alone makes Officer 24 the most likely candidate.

If Officer 30 is not Barnsdale then in my view that clinches it. Having zoomed in on Officer 30 in the group photo again, I tend to think that the ear of that man doesn't match what we can see of the ears of the older (Trentbridge) Barnsdale, and, if Officer 30 is a lieutenant, then that completely rules out Officer 30 as a possibility.

Having said that, although I see that I haven't inserted any rank in Officer 30's label in my opening post, I did think that Officer 30 was also a Captain, as I thought that the position of the two pips that we can clearly see on his right arm (i.e. to the viewer's left) indicate that there were three pips in total. If he is a lieutenant, on the other hand, he may be a candidate for Lieutenant Hill, which might fit with the riding crop Officer 30 is holding if Hill was a farmer. Do you still think Officer 30 is a lieutenant despite what I have said about the position of the pips?

If Officer 30 is a captain, I may indeed have too many captains in the photograph, in which case one of them must be the man who stayed behind in Bedford when the unit went to France on 3 May 1915. When we have got as far as we can with the four men in "B" Company I will start a new thread including a complete list of the 29 officers who went to France on 3 May1915 together with details of what I know about two or three other men. For now I have amended the title to this topic to mention "B" Coy and Hill as the 5 men referred to in it.

Do you, PRC, (or anyone) have any views about the identity of Duckworth (for whom we have one other photo plus the poor image in the Photo of the 5th Reserve Battalion taken in December 1914) or Barwood (about whom we know nothing other than that he was a small man)?

Finally, thank you so much for the hint about the British Newspaper Archive. I will visit my local library to see if they can help with wedding photos of either Barnsdale or Hill.

I am also seeking the assistance of a friend to see if we can add more pixels to the 5th Reserve photograph taken in December 1914, to see if that will help with zooming in on that photo, though I am not overly hopeful. 

 

 

 

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If it’s any help I think that officer 30 is indeed probably a captain as Peter has suggested.  Although the cuff rank isn’t clearly seen to its full extent, and the number of cuff rings cannot be discerned, the pips that can be observed are closer together than they would have been had he been a lieutenant.  A good comparison can be made with Lieutenant Dowd at number 23, whose two pips are more spaced.

IMG_2580.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Apologies @A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy and @FROGSMILE - I may be being a bit slow in the comprehension department.

I am not suggesting Officer 30 is a Captain at the time the picture of the Battalion Officers was taken at Bedford in May 1915. Before I go to much further, here is a crop of the front row, with the cuff ranks I believe are on display.

FrontRowBattalionOfficersBedfordMay1915withrankcomparisonsv1.png.9b78ec2c7b39ffc58142fb08ac04fed2.png

No new IP is claimed for the above, and all image rights, if any, remain with the current owner.

I was going from the cuff rings on either side of the cuff rank as much as pips when I said Officer 30 was a Lieutenant.

For me, on that basis, Officers 23 and 30 appear to have the same rank.
Officers 24, 25, 28 and 29 are all Captains.
John Barnsdale was a Captain in May 1915. While I did consider all the faces in the front row, it really does come down, for me, to the two unidentified Captains, 24 and 29.
We have a picture of John Barnsdale from later in life which shows him with a cleft chin \ chin dimple - something that can definately be seen on Officer 24 unless it is a blemish on the picture, but if it is present on Officer 29 it has been lost in the shadow.
We can see from a picture of John Barnsdale taken on the Somme in September 1915, (and by which time he was a Major), that he is likely to be a tall man - at least by comparison to three of his fellow officers. While these things are subjective, Officer 24 looks like a man who is sat on a chair that is too low for him, while Officer 29 doesn't look anywhere near as discomfited.
As a side note, for the officers where cuff rank is clearly visible, for me the biggest doubt is the identification of Officer 27 as a Major. While the crown seems right, I can't see the right number of cuff rings.

Hope that makes sense.

Cheers,
Peter

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Peter I think number 30 probably is a captain.  Even though the cuff rings are not fully visible, the spacing of the stars that we can see appear close together and yet the cuff does not seem to have any obvious folds to account for that.  Usually three stars are spaced so that the central one is opposite the central point of the flap and that’s what I believe can be seen here. 

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Hello Peter and Frogsmile, just to be clear, I definitely agree that, looking at the facial features and physique alone, Officer 29 is not Barnsdale, and Officer 30 (assuming that he is a captain) is less likely than Officer 24. So I now have Barnsdale as Officer 24 and will amend my pdf accordingly. Thank you.

Also, for what it is worth, with regard to Officer 30, I agree with Frogsmile that it is more likely that the third star of a captain (the one that would have been at the top of the cuff if he had been standing with his arms by his sides) is invisible because of the way the cuff is positioned, rather than that the man is a lieutenant with both his stars positioned in an offset position at what would have been the bottom of the cuff if he had been standing with his arms by his sides.

Regarding Officer 27, although the number of his cuff rings is obscured

  • There is definitely a full major present in the photograph, Major H.N. Milnes
  • Major H.N. Milnes, who was second in command, is most likely to have been seated next to the OC, Lt Col Hall, about whose rank and identity there is no doubt
  • From other photographs I can be confident about identifying Major Milnes from his facial features, including from the Bury Times photograph of the officers in the 5th Reserve Battalion, despite its poor quality

Regarding the Bury Times photograph, my friend has produced a copy with more pixels, but sadly it doesn't really help with either Barnsdale or Duckworth.

I am very grateful for the assistance of you both thus far.

Edited by A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
To correct numbers referred to!
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With many apologies for the confusion in my last post (which I have now edited) it is Officer 24 who I have a Barnsdale, not 30 - sorry!

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5 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

Peter I think number 30 probably is a captain.  Even though the cuff rings are not fully visible, the spacing of the stars that we can see appear close together and yet the cuff does not seem to have any obvious folds to account for that.  Usually three stars are spaced so that the central one is opposite the central point of the flap and that’s what I believe can be seen here. 

For me the cuff ring on 30 looks thicker than the cuff ring on Officer 23, Lieutenant Bowd.

One explanation could be that a fold in the lower sleeve have merged two cuff rings together - supporting the Captain identification.

But for me from what can be seen the visible cuff ring starts from the right point for it to be singular, supporting the Lieutenant identification - at the resolution available and with my dodgy eyesight:)

However to throw into the mix, is that a shadow below the cuff ring on his right arm or a mark \ damage on the original? A shadow might obscure a second ring and hint at a fold. A blemish makes anything possible.

I'm also conscious that relying on the cuff rings as a means of identification can only be of value if there is other supporting evidence. Hence my reference to the identification of Officer 27. I was pretty certain he is a Major even before @A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy latest update, but if I was working solely from visible cuff rings I would have been a lot less certain. If only what appears to be the top cuff ring of the three is visible on an otherwise straight lower sleeve then I had to wonder at the veracity of the identification. For me little things like that sow the seed of doubt about using cuff rings as part of the identification process for that particular photograph. Good news is that I'm the only one doing that!

On a separate note, 9 Captains in one Battalion seems a bit top heavy. As a second line Battalion it may well have included pre-war officers who opted to remain home service only, others not deemed fit enough or young enough for field service originally, and recovered wounded \ sick officers of the 1/5th Battalion.

I'm sure this has been researched to exhaustion but just to satisfy my own curiousity I took a quick look at the May 1915 British Army Monthly List which shows 6 Captains with the 2/5th - Barnsdale, Cummins, (Adjutant) Bloy, Goldsmith, Hutchinson and Waterhouse. https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/119784518

However the June 1915 British Army List shows Barnsdale to have been a Major since the 25th April 1915 - and that is the rank he should be reflected as on the photograph unless it has been incorrectly dated. Captains are now Cummins, (Adjutant), Bloy, Goldsmith, Hutchinson, Waterhouse and Hedley, Simon and Ramsden – the last three with seniority from the 25th April 1915. That gives you eight Captains in total at the 1st May 1915. https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/119532757

Hedley, Simon and Ramsden were all 2nd Lieutenants with the 2/5th in the May 1915 List, so looks like they were physically with the Battalion and at either rank should be present on a photograph taken on the 1st May 1915. Hedley has been identified as Officer 11 - a  Captain. That would appear to rule out the identification of Barnsdale as Officer 24 - but then where is the second Major in this picture?

I had a look in both months at the Captains serving with 1st and 2nd Battalions, (Regular Army) and the 3rd and 4th Battalions, (Special Reserve \ Extra Reserve) but couldn't spot any attached to the 5th Battalion. That doesn't rule out officers attached from elsewhere, but they are the most common source.

However, I would always recommend using the Monthly Army List as a guide rather than a definitive. Apologies if that has opened up a can of worms.

Cheers,
Peter

Edited by PRC
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As always I respect your scientific methodology in doing your analysis.  For what it’s worth I believe that, just as you have mused, the cuff rings of number 30 have merged visually due to the position of folds in the cloth.  I’m personally confident that there are three pips for two reasons, first the spacing and location of the stars/pips in relation to the three points of the slashed flap on which they sit, and secondly because I believe I can just about see the very edge of the third (uppermost) pip on his right sleeve.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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7 hours ago, PRC said:

On a separate note, 9 Captains in one Battalion seems a bit top heavy. As a second line Battalion it may well have included pre-war officers who opted to remain home service only, others not deemed fit enough or young enough for field service originally, and recovered wounded \ sick officers of the 1/5th Battalion.

I'm sure this has been researched to exhaustion but just to satisfy my own curiousity I took a quick look at the May 1915 British Army Monthly List which shows 6 Captains with the 2/5th - Barnsdale, Cummins, (Adjutant) Bloy, Goldsmith, Hutchinson and Waterhouse. https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/119784518

However the June 1915 British Army List shows Barnsdale to have been a Major since the 25th April 1915 - and that is the rank he should be reflected as on the photograph unless it has been incorrectly dated. Captains are now Cummins, (Adjutant), Bloy, Goldsmith, Hutchinson, Waterhouse and Hedley, Simon and Ramsden – the last three with seniority from the 25th April 1915. That gives you eight Captains in total at the 1st May 1915. https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/119532757

Hedley, Simon and Ramsden were all 2nd Lieutenants with the 2/5th in the May 1915 List, so looks like they were physically with the Battalion and at either rank should be present on a photograph taken on the 1st May 1915. Hedley has been identified as Officer 11 - a  Captain. That would appear to rule out the identification of Barnsdale as Officer 24 - but then where is the second Major in this picture?

I had a look in both months at the Captains serving with 1st and 2nd Battalions, (Regular Army) and the 3rd and 4th Battalions, (Special Reserve \ Extra Reserve) but couldn't spot any attached to the 5th Battalion. That doesn't rule out officers attached from elsewhere, but they are the most common source.

In fairness to Peter I really must post my GF's list of the 29 officers of the Lancashire Fusiliers who went to France with the 2/5th LF at this point. I attach a pdf document containing the names.

Grandpa's Diary - list of officers who went to France with the 2nd 5th LF on 3 May 1915.pdf

Lieutenant Colonel J. Hall and Major H.N. Milnes had been with the 5th Lancashire Fusiliers since at least April 1908 when the 1st Volunteer Battalion LF became the 5th Battalion LF. The former was already Lt Col at that stage, while the latter was a captain, gazetted as a major on14 October 1914.

John Davison Barnsdale had been a captain in the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment according to the gazette of 14 October 1914, which announced his appointment as a captain with the 5th LF. As stated on the attached document, he was then gazetted on 18 May 1915 he was gazetted as a temporary major with effect from 25 April 1915; I have assumed that the reason why he wasn't wearing the insignia of a major in the photograph of 1 May 1915 is that his promotion had not yet been published in the gazette.

Meanwhile, John Joseph Pemberton Cummins was gazetted as Quartermaster with the honorary rank of lieutenant in the gazette of 14 October 1914, but then resigned that commission and was gazetted as captain and Adjutant in the gazette of 9 December 1914. He is thus one of eight captains on the attached list.

Of the seven other captains, apart from Cummins, all were gazetted as 2nd lieutenants in the 5th LF after the outbreak of the war, four (L.H. Bloy, G.H. Goldsmith, G.C. Hutchinson and K. Waterhouse) were gazetted as temporary lieutenants in the LG of 7 January 1915, and as temporary captains in the LG of 26 March 1915, while the three others (J.W. Hedley, E.C. Simon and E.R. Ramsden), as noted on the attached sheet, had their promotion directly from 2nd lieutenants to temporary captains with effect from 25 April 1915 published in the LG of 18 May 1915, so might still have been wearing the insignia of 2nd lieutenants. Although you can't see any insignia on the men I have labelled as K. Waterhouse, G.H. Goldsmith and L.H. Bloy in the photograph of 1 May 1915, I am fairly certain of the identification of these men from other photographs. If the recently promoted captains weren't wearing the insignia of captains in the photograph, I only have one name, G.C. Hutchinson, for three unnamed men wearing the insignia of a captain (assuming that Officer 30 is a captain) So it would be handy if they were already wearing the insignia of captains, as then I would have three names for three unnamed captains. I have other photos of G.C. Hutchinson which I will post on a different thread shortly, along with an updated version of the group photograph.

Meanwhile I visited my local library earlier today and found some more photographs of J.D. Barnsdale in the British Newspaper Archive. I post them here courtesy of that archive. None of the librarians in our library seemed to know whether the library subscribed to the archive or not, and told me that it isn't a question that is asked very often, so I hope that I haven't prompted them into ceasing to subscribe to it!

The first is the wedding photo from The Gentlewoman of 9 July 1910, but sadly is horribly dark. The second is a photograph of Barnsdale as one of the directors of the Raleigh Cycle Company in the context of a story which appeared in the Beeston Gazette and Echo for 14 May 1922 about the expansion of its factory, and the third is from The Sketch for 1924. Are any of these any help?

IMG_2028.JPG.03c61a366c8bbfee06610b9818c5ea32.JPG          IMG_2029.JPG.db69142bdda713c78dee22e64b1bc3d7.JPG

 

IMG_2027-Copy.JPG.cbb6d84a57bc050ca3703f818a4f0ad1.JPG

 

I also had a look for Claude Worsley Boyce Hill, but I now realise that The Times is not held in the British Newspaper Archive, so am still no wiser as to whether the report of his wedding in The Times for 2 June 1910 included a photograph of him or not. I did, however, discover that the Hampshire Advertiser for 7 July 1923 carried a report to the effect that he had been fined for obstructing a public highway by parking in front of the Red Lion on market day for 2 hours. He pleaded guilty, but in mitigation said that, apart from the war, he had been out of the country for 11 years, and it was difficult for strangers to know where they could park. So presumably he had emigrated to Canada in about 1912, returned to Canada as mentioned in my earlier post by 1917, and recently come back to the UK as at July 1923. It is interesting - and perhaps a little worrying - that he was able to drive a vehicle despite the difficulties with his vision; also that he made no attempt to excuse his parking offence by referring to his disability.

 

 

Edited by A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
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20 hours ago, PRC said:

Apologies @A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy and @FROGSMILE - I may be being a bit slow in the comprehension department.

I am not suggesting Officer 30 is a Captain at the time the picture of the Battalion Officers was taken at Bedford in May 1915. Before I go to much further, here is a crop of the front row, with the cuff ranks I believe are on display.

FrontRowBattalionOfficersBedfordMay1915withrankcomparisonsv1.png.9b78ec2c7b39ffc58142fb08ac04fed2.png

No new IP is claimed for the above, and all image rights, if any, remain with the current owner.

I was going from the cuff rings on either side of the cuff rank as much as pips when I said Officer 30 was a Lieutenant.

For me, on that basis, Officers 23 and 30 appear to have the same rank.
Officers 24, 25, 28 and 29 are all Captains.
John Barnsdale was a Captain in May 1915. While I did consider all the faces in the front row, it really does come down, for me, to the two unidentified Captains, 24 and 29.
We have a picture of John Barnsdale from later in life which shows him with a cleft chin \ chin dimple - something that can definately be seen on Officer 24 unless it is a blemish on the picture, but if it is present on Officer 29 it has been lost in the shadow.
We can see from a picture of John Barnsdale taken on the Somme in September 1915, (and by which time he was a Major), that he is likely to be a tall man - at least by comparison to three of his fellow officers. While these things are subjective, Officer 24 looks like a man who is sat on a chair that is too low for him, while Officer 29 doesn't look anywhere near as discomfited.
As a side note, for the officers where cuff rank is clearly visible, for me the biggest doubt is the identification of Officer 27 as a Major. While the crown seems right, I can't see the right number of cuff rings.

Hope that makes sense.

Cheers,
Peter

According to the War Diary

Your no 22 man, Lieutenant. W Abbot is listed as a "Transport Officer"

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@johnmelling1979 You are absolutely right. As shown in the list attached to my last post Abbotts was the Transport Officer. I have no other photographs of him. What I know about him from the Gazette is that he was gazetted as both a 2nd lieutenant and a temporary lieutenant in the LG for 19 April 1915, which took effect (by virtue of a subsequent correction) from 18 April 1915. I confess that the only reason I have pencilled him in as the lieutenant at the left of the front row is that he was a member of HQ, so that would potentially have given him a right to be on the front row, and it is more likely to be the Transport Officer next to the Quartermaster on the front row than the other candidate, Lieutenant C.W.B. Hill, Machine Gun Officer. If there is also a lieutenant at the other end of the row, Officer 30, then one would be Abbotts, and the other would be Hill, and it might be difficult to decide which was which without other photographs to compare with. However, like Frogsmile, and with apologies to PRC, I am struggling to convince myself that the man at the other end of the row, Officer 30, might be a lieutenant rather than a captain.

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3 hours ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

I have assumed that the reason why he wasn't wearing the insignia of a major in the photograph of 1 May 1915 is that his promotion had not yet been published in the gazette.

You raise a good point. My understanding (currently) is that promotions were effectively in the gift of the commanding officer, and while the "promoted" officer might only be acting until confirmed by the gazette, (and thus pay amended), they would wear the appropriate rank immediately. Certainly in the field if an operational necessity required a promotion then I doubt it had to wait for an appearance in the gazette.

However now I'm wondering if I really know that as a fact or has been something I've come to assume over the years because it was logical!
Additionally was there a difference between units in the field and units like the 2/5th who were then still on the home establishment.

3 hours ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

while the three others (J.W. Hedley, E.C. Simon and E.R. Ramsden), as noted on the attached sheet, had their promotion directly from 2nd lieutenants to temporary captains with effect from 25 April 1915 published in the LG of 18 May 1915, so might still have been wearing the insignia of 2nd lieutenants.

I can't see anything myself on the image taken 1st May 1915 to show that Hedley was then wearing the rank of Captain.
If not  and it is an assumption, then will knock onto the number of Captains that need to be accounted for on the picture, (depending on the answer to the question about when insignia of the promoted rank was worn from).
Finally, what is the provenance behind the dating of the picture? Just trying to make sure we are addressing the right question - a date of 24th April or earlier will see Barnsdale as a Captain, and Hedley, Simon and Ramsden as 2nd Lieutenant.

As @FROGSMILE has had personal experience, (albeit generations later:) - he might be able to provide a steer as to when the promoted rank insignia would be worn.

Cheers,
Peter

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2 hours ago, PRC said:

You raise a good point. My understanding (currently) is that promotions were effectively in the gift of the commanding officer, and while the "promoted" officer might only be acting until confirmed by the gazette, (and thus pay amended), they would wear the appropriate rank immediately. Certainly in the field if an operational necessity required a promotion then I doubt it had to wait for an appearance in the gazette.

However now I'm wondering if I really know that as a fact or has been something I've come to assume over the years because it was logical!
Additionally was there a difference between units in the field and units like the 2/5th who were then still on the home establishment.

I can't see anything myself on the image taken 1st May 1915 to show that Hedley was then wearing the rank of Captain.
If not  and it is an assumption, then will knock onto the number of Captains that need to be accounted for on the picture, (depending on the answer to the question about when insignia of the promoted rank was worn from).
Finally, what is the provenance behind the dating of the picture? Just trying to make sure we are addressing the right question - a date of 24th April or earlier will see Barnsdale as a Captain, and Hedley, Simon and Ramsden as 2nd Lieutenant.

As @FROGSMILE has had personal experience, (albeit generations later:) - he might be able to provide a steer as to when the promoted rank insignia would be worn.

Cheers,
Peter

The usual date to assume the higher rank was commonly either, with effect the date of the order itself, or with effect a date clearly specified within the order.  Seniority would often be backdated.  Whichever method was applied the primary record of the promotion was made in the London Gazette and led to the phrase, when were you gazetted? being a common means of identifying an officers seniority.  It should be possible to trace an individual’s promotions in archived editions of the London Gazette accessible online, although I do not know if every single edition has survived.  As far as I know this tradition still survives, it certainly did in my own time despite it being generations later.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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