Another help with an old family picture thread

overopensights

ADC
Book Reviewer
#21
View attachment 323614
Your assistance and advice would be greatly appreciated with this photograph of my Great Grandfather. It is dated on the reverse ‘1918’. I know he served in the Army in the First World War but not the Regiment he was with. I have tried the National Archive but without result. He joined the Territorial Army in 1939 and served until late 1945.
I have done an awful lot of googling over the last few days without getting anything specific on what i’m after.
My questions are in relation to the uniform he is wearing. The tunic seems to be standard 1902 design. However he is wearing a lanyard. Would this denote anything specific such as mounted trade or as I suspect could any Regiment wear one if it was in their dress regs. There are no shoulder titles or collet dogs, is that significant? That takes me onto his trousers. Having enlarged the picture and viewed it through a magnifying glass I can clearly see just below his left knee on the outer side a couple of lace holes and laces. These don’t seem to be standard trousers, breeches, unfortunately the photograph doesn’t extend to his lower leg to show if he is wearing putters or boots. Does anyone have any information on the trousers.
Lastly in reference to the badges on the lower left sleeve. They are from the bottom up crossed rifles which are I believe a skill at arms award, a five pointed star which I believe denotes best shot in company/Squadron. And finally what appears to be a small flaming grenade. I can find reference to a similar badge being worn on the upper sleeves in various colours but not on the lower sleeve. The first 2 badges look like cloth the grenade may be metal but it’s not certain. His local infantry regiment would have been The Cambridg Regiment who were Territorial Force. The uniform doesn’t appear to be for them. He was born 1889 so was just short of 20 if the picture was taken in 1918.
A lot of questions so any advice would be appreciated whilst other research continues.
Bee Companeeee
Study the pic: he wearing a pre -1914 tunic, the double shoulder pads were discarded very early on to save material. Look at his right knee, he wearing some sort of Cavalry Jodhpurs the laces can be seen plainly. The lanyard is unusual, usually they were white? You say he was 20 in 1918, he was nearer 30 then if he was born in 1889? Infantry wore 1908 web belts mostly. Regular units wore the leather belt as shown on the pic. He seems to have shoulder titles which I can only just see. If you have his DOB and his place of birth and his full name then experts would find him in not time. Did he survive the war?
 
#22
If he was born in 1889, he'd be just short of 30 (not 20) in 1918.
That has the follow-on that he'd be starting WW2 at age 50 - which seems a bit old to be joining the TA.
Even if his DOB was 1899, 40 also seems a bit old to join the TA. Are you sure he wasn't LDV/Home Guard in WW2?

These observations don't directly relate to the photo (which formed the query) but the difference in age might reflect on the attainment of the badges.
 
#23
Would it be a grenade or a flaming bomb. I think there was a distinction twixt RA and RE in that one had seven flame bits and the other had nine. But it's a minefield of info/misinfo :cool:
The small brass 7 flamed grenade was worn by a variety of units including Grenadier Guards, Fusilier regiments and RA as collar badges, shoulder title's, additions above rank chevrons, above pioneers crossed axe badges, by Bombers and Light Trench Mortar Batteries in lieu of cloth grenade insignia (painted or unpainted brass grenades).
I'm having a senior moment following an extended pub lunch, but I don't think that little "universal" grenade varied with its number of flames, though of course as you've stated some patterns of RE grenade collar badges etc had 9 flames.
 
#24
Study the pic: he wearing a pre -1914 tunic, the double shoulder pads were discarded very early on to save material. Look at his right knee, he wearing some sort of Cavalry Jodhpurs the laces can be seen plainly. The lanyard is unusual, usually they were white? You say he was 20 in 1918, he was nearer 30 then if he was born in 1889? Infantry wore 1908 web belts mostly. Regular units wore the leather belt as shown on the pic. He seems to have shoulder titles which I can only just see. If you have his DOB and his place of birth and his full name then experts would find him in not time. Did he survive the war?
The rifle patches were resumed post WWI, the difference between the "new" version of the tunic (apart from the fit) was a reduction in number of or removal of the seams or darts coming down from the front of the collar, I cant remember the full details on that, dammit.
Some infantrymen would wear riding breeches, those on mounted duties.
The belt worn is the leather 1914 Pattern equipment one, introduced as a stop gap due to an inability to meet increased demands for the 1908 Pattern webbing equipment. Whereas the 08 equipment spread the weight, the 14 pattern transferred the weight of the equipment to the hips, it was replaced again by webbing post WWI.
That grenade badge above the star and rifles - I wonder if its a unit or personal affectation to indicate proficiency in use of the rifle grenade?
 
#25
You've tried an "Ancestry" or similar check for Medal Index Card and other WWI era records?
The Cambridgeshire's had close links to the Suffolk Regiment and the 11th Suffolk's were titled "Cambridgeshire".
Yes looks like I’ll have to sign up to one of the commercial ancestry sites to see if they have anything. Yes the Cambridgeshire Regiment become a volunteer battalion of theSuffolk Regiment for a while.
 
#26
If he was born in 1889, he'd be just short of 30 (not 20) in 1918.
That has the follow-on that he'd be starting WW2 at age 50 - which seems a bit old to be joining the TA.
Even if his DOB was 1899, 40 also seems a bit old to join the TA. Are you sure he wasn't LDV/Home Guard in WW2?

These observations don't directly relate to the photo (which formed the query) but the difference in age might reflect on the attainment of the badges.
My apologies definitely born in 1898
 
#27
The rifle patches were resumed post WWI, the difference between the "new" version of the tunic (apart from the fit) was a reduction in number of or removal of the seams or darts coming down from the front of the collar, I cant remember the full details on that, dammit.
Some infantrymen would wear riding breeches, those on mounted duties.
The belt worn is the leather 1914 Pattern equipment one, introduced as a stop gap due to an inability to meet increased demands for the 1908 Pattern webbing equipment. Whereas the 08 equipment spread the weight, the 14 pattern transferred the weight of the equipment to the hips, it was replaced again by webbing post WWI.
That grenade badge above the star and rifles - I wonder if its a unit or personal affectation to indicate proficiency in use of the rifle grenade?
The 1922 tunic had a single dart from the collar, and actually the fashion of altering the collar to make it more of a roll neck (as in the picture) is very much a WW1 fashion. I don’t have the books to hand but a former WO1 of an infantry Bn(?) circa late 1970s wrote some books on it.
 
#28
Just in case you're not aware, the four TF infantry regiments (as opposed to the TF battalions which were part of regular infantry regiments) had links to regular regiments, the 11th Bn Suffolk's were a Kitchener battalion of the Suffolk Regiment proper.
 
#29
The 1922 tunic had a single dart from the collar, and actually the fashion of altering the collar to make it more of a roll neck (as in the picture) is very much a WW1 fashion. I don’t have the books to hand but a former WO1 of an infantry Bn(?) circa late 1970s wrote some books on it.
Ta, I couldn't remember the 'darts' details.
The book will be one of Mike Chappels I would think, he served in the Gloster Regt and the Hampshire Regt, I think he may have been a WOI?
 
#31
Ta, I couldn't remember the 'darts' details.
The book will be one of Mike Chappels I would think, he served in the Gloster Regt and the Hampshire Regt, I think he may have been a WOI?
Yes, that’s him! Really informative and well researched.
 
#32
Yes, some good books from him and from Brian Leigh Davis, an ex HC man, and I like Chappels art work.
 
#33
Yes looks like I’ll have to sign up to one of the commercial ancestry sites to see if they have anything. Yes the Cambridgeshire Regiment become a volunteer battalion of theSuffolk Regiment for a while.
It might be worth letting someone on here who is already signed up take a look for you to see if its worth while spending the money, its an expensive hobby unless you are doing a whole load of other research as well.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#34
I subscribe to Ancestry if you want a look up
 
#35
As a general comment for those interested:

I've been in comms with the OP and carried out a little research on his behalf with mixed results.

Neither Ancestry not The National Archives produce any 'hits' on military records of the period. This can mean one of several things:

1. I'm crap at research and I should stop offering my services as such.

2. The OP's subject, whilst he may have served, did not serve in a Theatre of War-thus, no WWI medallic entitlement. This may explain the fact that I can produce no 'hits' for an MIC (Medal Index Card) nor for the separate Medal Rolls for the period.

3. Even if he never served overseas, an MIC would have been raised as a matter of course. As many here will be aware, a good number were lost through fire-his may have been one of those lost.

I have found some stuff on Ancestry, not Military related, which almost certainly relates to the subject, including a post-WWI photo of the man. The similarity to the image posted by the OP is enough for me to believe that they are one and the same man.


Research (as they say) continues.
 
#37
What would happen if he had joined the TF but wasn't subsequently mobilised? Could this happen or was the ability to join the TF disabled during hostilities?
 
#38
The grenade could denote he served if Infantry in the Trench Mortar detachment. Early so will look it up later.
Just an idea
As an aside to that, the RE at the time also included Pioneer Coys and their orbat included the rank of 'Pioneer'.

The Chunkies, bless 'em, did not exist as a separate Corps until 1939: however, the Labour Corps was established in 1917 for the purpose of . . . well . . . providing Labour for defence works, rear area works such as roads, defence emplacements etc. However, the bulk of these troops would have been older or skilled men deemed to be not fit enough for fighting units or recovering injured troops unable to return to the front line.
 
#39
What would happen if he had joined the TF but wasn't subsequently mobilised? Could this happen or was the ability to join the TF disabled during hostilities?
In the first year of the war, such disjointed service occurred. Those who were part of the TF could elect to be 'embodied for Regular service' for a determined period. At the end of that period of service, the individual could be released or volunteer for further embodied service.

Also, certainly during the first 2 years of the war, the TF man would be called forward to his Bn/Coy HQ, documented, and then either proceed through the system or (if he was in what later became a reserved occupation or offered exceptional personal circumstances as to preclude him from front line service), be sent home with a proviso for recall at a later date.
 
#40
The grenade could denote he served if Infantry in the Trench Mortar detachment. Early so will look it up later.
Just an idea
Trench Mortars wore their blue grenade on upper right.
I've just found a post on The Great War Forum by Graham Stewart, an authority on certain army units, army service numbers and "trade badges", confirming that the grenade over crossed rifles worn lower left was rifle grenadier, authorised by Army Council Instructions.

Grenade above Crossed Rifles?
 
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