Sunday, 2 March 2008

Identification of regiment from military uniforms (2)

I've had some interesting responses to the article and three photographs of a soldier in uniform, and the authors have kindly assented to their inclusion here. The following from Steve Morse, author of "9th (Service) Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys Regiment) during The First World War, ISBN 978-0-9555698-1-4."
"I thought at first the G.Guards but they did not have metal collar badges. Although the Lancashire Fusiliers did. It is close to the LF badge with grenade and flame. I cannot see any rank for the men either."
Enlargement of Cap Badge Image 1 Enlargement of Collar Badge Image 2 Enlargement of Cap Badge Image 3

Harry Needham sent me the following lengthy, but interesting and informative, analysis:

"As Brett supposed, it is indeed a Great War uniform. Brett thought he might have been a Grenadier Guardsman.

I don't think so, as no guardsman would have worn his cap like that. Also, the grenade appears to have some texture, which suggests an embossed design. Grenadier Guards grenades are plain. There is also the white lanyard in one of the photos, which to me says artillery, though not necessarily so.

The shape of the cap badge, especially of the flames and their relative size, suggests only two possibilities - Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) or one of the infantry battalions of the Honourable Artillery Company (of London).

Numerically, the Royal Fusiliers stand the best chance, as they raised more than fifty battalions (a remarkable number!) during the course of the Great War. But there are aspects of the uniform, in the photo of your man and his chum, that suggest he was NOT a fusilier.

Enlargement of Lanyard Image 2

First, there is the white lanyard, which appears to be not unlike one worn in a photo of the same vintage of my uncle, who was a gunner.

Second, there are the collar dogs, which are the right shape for Royal Artillery other ranks of the period (the scroll underneath was worn during that period only by officers). Note that the shape of the flaming grenade on the collar dog appears to be different (more elongated) from that of the cap badge.

The H.A.C., in the Great War, raised seven artillery regiments and three infantry battalions. I wish I knew if their ORs all wore the same (artillery pattern) collar dog, but I don't. Nor do I know what the Royal Fusilier collar dog of this period looked like.

My guess is that your man was a member of one of the H.A.C.'s infantry battalions, but I can't be sure from these photos.

The thing to do now is to go to the Great War service records and try to find him. I would be most interested in what you find."

Stew has responded:

"I was able to find in the war medals possibly my man as a bombardier in the royal garrison artillery ... he had a Victory medal, British medal and a silver war badge, which would fit with the photo of him injured. Taking all of this into account, I have dug out another photo - not sure if it is the same man, he is much younger but if you agree would like to send it to you to see what is thought of it, as to regiment, rank if anyone else thinks it could be the same person."
Image 4 - Click here for a more detailed scan

Click on the image shown above for a more detailed scan of the photograph. I have included enlargements of the cap badge and the letters stamped on the bandolier, for those who may be able to identify them.

Detail of cap badge, Image 4

Detail of bandolier, Image 4

Many thanks to Stew for the images, and to Steve and Harry for this informative discussion.

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