Monday, 29 June 2009

Summer holidays at Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg, circa 1920

Some years ago, my father and I did some research on, and corresponded with each other about, three snapshots which had come from my grandfather Leslie Payne's collection. I have previously discussed our tentative conclusions about the locations of these photographs in a series of articles written about my grandfather's early years in Canada, both prior to and after the Great War, here and here. The publishing of Jasia's very readable 74th COG Swimsuit Edition on Creative Gene and several other recent posts with beach holiday themes in the blogging community has prompted me to look at these again, as I have done many times over the years. I was particularly keen to examine them in light of my discovery a couple of years ago, in my paternal aunt's photo collection, of a number of related pictures. I can't really explain my need to discover exactly where and when these photographs were taken, and who my grandfather's friends were, but to many of readers I'm sure I don't really need to find substantive reasons or make any excuses! It's part of the genealogical journey of discovery.

Image © and collection of C.B. Payne
"Boulder Photo"
A group of young men and women seated on a large boulder at a rocky beach, near a large body of open water, Leslie Payne seated 2nd from left, c. 1919-1921
Print © and collection of C.B. Payne

In 2000, I wrote the following:
I have persuaded myself that these - unfortunately unannotated - photographs must have been taken during the period that Leslie Payne lived in Winnipeg between 1919 and 1921. Is it possible that they were taken during an excursion to the shores of either Lake Winnipeg or Lake Manitoba. The large boulder in [this] photo appears, to both my father and I (amateur and professional geologists, respectively), to be a glacial erratic. For this reason, it doesn't seem likely that the photo could have been taken in England.

Image © and collection of C.B. Payne
"Beach Photo"
Two couples on a sandy beach, Leslie Payne at left, c. 1919-1921
Print © and collection of C.B. Payne

Image © and collection of C.B. Payne
"Rustic Bench Photo"
A group seated on a wooden bench at a tented camp, Leslie Payne at right, c. 1919-1921
Print © and collection of C.B. Payne

There is a third photograph showing two of these friends, as well as my grandfather and another unindentified man (at left). They are seated on a rustic looking bench fashioned from saplings. Leslie is at the right, leaning forwards slightly; next are the couple who appeared in both the Boulder and Beach photos. The bench is located against the wall of what appears to be a large canvas tent, situated in a wood. Was it some sort of camp? Where were these three photos taken, and who are the other people (three male and three female) with Leslie Payne. Was the man common to all three a friend from the WW1 Machine Gun Corps, perhaps, and the lady next to him, who also appears in all three, his wife or girlfriend?

Image © and collection of C.B. Payne
"Mandolin Photo"
A large group seated on a wooden bench at a tented camp, Leslie Payne at right in middle row, c. 1919-1921
Print © and collection of Brett Payne Courtesy of Margaret Pugh

In 2003, as a result of some correspondence with the niece of one of my grandfather's old Machine Gun Corps buddies in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, she sent me a photograph from her late uncle Pete McLaggan's photo album. It appeared to have been taken in the same tented camp and at the same time as the "Rustic Bench Photo." This time one of the subjects was holding a mandolin - presumably they were having a sing-along - and smoke from a wood fire can be seen drifting across the background. After doing a little more research on the history of the beaches on Lake Winnipeg I wrote:
Between 1915 and 1919, in an area at the southern end of Lake Winnipeg already popular with campers, cottages started to appear around an area known as Victoria Beach. This was aided by the arrival of the rail line - and a regular rail service - in 1916, and the formation of a municipality in August 1919, which made Victoria Beach a very convenient and popular weekend destination for Winnipeg residents. It seems probable that all four of the above photographs were taken on or close to the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Contemporary and historical images of Grand Beach and Victoria Beach found on the web suggest either area as a possible location for both the camp and beach photos. However, without first-hand knowledge of the area, it is difficult for me to be sure, and it could just as easily be one of the several other beaches nearby, such as Gimli, Hillside or Patricia Beaches.

The fact that two individuals - apart from Leslie Payne - are common to all four photos supports the idea that they were taken at roughly the same period as each other. Comparison with pre-war photographs of Leslie illustrates that these are definitely post-war.
This narrowed down the potential date to between February 1919, after his demobilisation from the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Winnipeg, and May 1921, when he returned to Derbyshire, England. I also identified a couple in the "Mandolin Photo" from other annotated photos in my Dad's collection as Laura and Stewart Morris, friends of Leslie from his time in Winnipeg. Stewart Morris appears to have been a fellow employee at Eaton's Department Store.

Digital image © Ken Gillespie & courtesy of the Canadian Geographic PhotoClub
Victoria Beach, Manitoba, on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg, 20 October 2007.
Digital image © Ken Gillespie and courtesy of the Canadian Geographic PhotoClub

However, there were still several other unidientified people, and I couldn't really be sure about the location. As shown by historical and more recent photographs of the area, including the stunning shot of a sunset at Victoria Beach by talented Winnipeg photographer Ken Gillespie shown above, there were and still are several sites which might have had a mixture of such rocky and sandy beaches.

Picasa Album: Charles Leslie Lionel Payne in Canada, 1912-1921

In my aunt's collection, which she kindly allowed me and my brother to scan in October 2007, I made the exciting discovery of an additional 21 snapshots in the same group as the four described previously. I've uploaded images of these, together with others relating to Leslie Payne's years spent in Canada between 1912 and 1921, to my Picasa Web Albums. This enabled me to sort them out into groups arranged roughly by date and setting.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Leslie Payne (back row, left), Stewart Morris (back row, centre) and four others
Probably at Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

I was able to separate them into two groups, based on photographic printers batch numbers stamped on the reverse of the prints. The bulk of them have a "C 21" stamp, while three have a "B 21" stamp. These latter three are obviously contemporaneous with the others, and it seems likely that they were taken by a different photographer in the group. Every photograph includes my grandfather. Although most have inscriptions, these have been made by my aunt, and only relate to my grandfather - none of the other subjects are identified. Two photographs, including the one shown above, are similar to the "Boulder Photo."

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Leslie Payne (seated at right), Laura Morris (standing at right) and four others
Probably at Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

There were also two photos (one of which is included above) showing the same group of six that was featured in the first "Boulder Photo," but standing or sitting on a smaller boulder partially submerged in the water.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Leslie Payne (standing at right) and three others
Probably at Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

Next there are two photos with similar, although not quite identical, attitude and subjects to the "Beach Photo" described earlier.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Leslie Payne (front row, second from left) and eight others
Probably at Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

A further seven shots are in a similar vein, of various groups of between three and eleven people lying, seated and standing on a sandy beach, but apparently taken looking in the opposite direction, away from the water. While all of them appear posed, some have a more conventional portrait structure than others. Some are perhaps a little later in the day, as several of the subjects have donned more layers of clothing. Several are of somewhat poorer quality, either out of focus, poorly framed, or with subjects turned away from the camera. The example above is one of the better ones, with only one chap ignoring the "say cheese" request. In the background can be seen some partly vegetated low hills, possibly sand dunes, telegraph poles, other groups of beachgoers (one of them looks as though he might be eating an ice cream cone), including a child, and a bandstand, gazebo or small pavilion.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Leslie Payne (second from right) and eight others
Probably at Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

This more relaxed pose was probably shot only a few minutes after the previous one.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Leslie Payne (right) and two others, with Dancing Pavilion in background
Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

The next two photos are similar, showing Leslie Payne and two others lying on the beach, but have a different background view, possibly to the right of the others, which includes a very large building with a rounded roof.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Detail of Dancing Pavilion, Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

It is this building, shown enlarged in the image above, which has provided, at least for me, incontrovertible proof that at least some of these photographs were taken at Grand Beach.

Image © and courtesy of Grand Beach Visitors Guide
Dancing Pavilion, Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg, undated
Image © and courtesy of Grand Beach Visitors Guide

The Grand Beach and East Beach Visitors Area web site has an article on the history of the area, apparently based on a book Grand Beach - The Grand Old Days by Susan Lemoine and Tim Barnfather (publ. 1978, Manitoba Department of Tourism, Manitoba). Several photographs are displayed, presumably taken from the book, two of which are included here.

Image © and courtesy of Grand Beach Visitors Guide
Interior of Dancing Pavilion, Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg, undated
Image © and courtesy of Grand Beach Visitors Guide

The grandest of all the buildings at Grand Beach was the Dance Pavilion. Rumour has it that this was the largest Dance Hall of its time in the Commonwealth. Until its destruction by fire in 1950, this was the major source of entertainment and the central meeting spot of the resort community. Entire families and all age groups would enjoy the music of the band hired by the railway for the entire season. Admission was originally free, but in the Twenties "Jitney" (a nickel a dance) dancing began.
Image © Western Canada Pictorial Index and courtesy of Manitoba Conservation
Boardwalk & Dancing Pavilion, Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg
Image © Western Canada Pictorial Index and courtesy of Manitoba Conservation

A boardwalk was built over the years that extended from the station to the lagoon along the beach front. Hot and crowded during the day, lit up at night, the boardwalk provided sure footing for shoe-clad feet and food for hungry beach-goers. The first hot dog and soft drink stand was built in 1923. Under the boardwalk the shade was welcome. Treasure hunters could be rewarded with some loose change. Itinerant travellers found the boardwalk an ideal shelter. They say Sandy is the name given to a girl-child conceived under the boardwalk. Whatever the recreational preference, the boardwalk offered a variety of diversions.

The carousel was an awesome and magical building. Filled with hand-crafted animals: studs, mares and ponies, whirling in an endless circle to the tinkling music, their manes flying, teeth bared, hooves raised, forever frozen in time.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara EllisonImage © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Leslie Payne (back) and friends, probably Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

There are two photographs showing a group of six beachgoers posing in a line on a wooden pier. In the left-hand image Laura and Stewart Morris are at the head of the line, while my Grandpa is at the back, but I have not yet been able to identify the other three. The electric lamp hanging from a pole at the end of the pier suggests that it might be part of the boardwalk system described above. There is also part of a rowing boat visible in the background.

I've included the second, very similar shot, because it appears that the photographer of the first picture has gone into the line (fourth from the front), and Stewart Morris has taken the second. I think we can assume that one of these two characters is the primary photographer in all the shots with "C 21" batch stamp. Since Stewart Morris only appears in two shots in the entire collection, and the other man appears in a great many, I think it very likely that it was Stewart who owned the camera and took the photos during this holiday period. The three from the "B 21" batch may have been taken with a different camera by another member of the group, although the possibility exists that one of the batches actually consists of reprints from the same original negatives as the other batch.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Leslie Payne (at right) and friends, at a tented camp
probably Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

The final group of five photographs is from the tented camp in the woods, previously illustrated in the "Rustic Bench" and "Mandolin" photos above. Two of them include a much older couple, and I have speculated that they are possibly parents of one of the young people and owners of the property.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Leslie Payne (at right) and friends, at a tented camp
probably Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

This photograph is another view of the wooden bench and canvas tent, but from a slightly different angle. Hanging from the awning of the tent are two flags, a Union Jack on the left and what appears to be a version of the Canadian Red Ensign on the right.

Image © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison
Detail of Canadian Red Ensign flag
Paper Print © and courtesy of Barbara Ellison

Nigel Aspdin has discussed the history of this design at some length on his vexicological blog, What's that flag.

Image courtesy of 'Orange Tuesday' and Wikipedia
The "Nine Provinces" Canadian Red Ensign of 1907, unofficial flag of Canada from 1907 to 1921
Image courtesy of 'Orange Tuesday' and Wikipedia

It appears to me to be a slightly modified or unofficial version of the "Nine Province" Canadian Red Ensign of 1907 after Alberta and Saskatchewan had been added, as illustrated in this Wikipedia article. Sharp spotted readers will notice, however, that the lower left and lower centre sectors have been switched around. Alistair B. Fraser in his The Flags of Canada - The Country: Chapter IV, describes the genesis of the Canadian Red Ensigns and the design of the 1907 Nine Province badge. He also discusses the rise in use of the Union Flag (or Union Jack) after the turn of the century, and the common simulataneous use of the two flags before, during and after the war.

It appears to me that Leslie Payne spent a few days, or perhaps several weekends, during the summer of either 1919 or 1920, with a group of friends camping at Grand Beach, an easy train trip from Winnipeg, during which time they spent a good deal of time at the nearby beach. There are at least a dozen individuals in these photographs, some of whom were probably in the same camp, while others may have been staying nearby. I have mentioned Stewart and Laura Morris, who I identified from annotated photographs of the same era. However, I don't know who any of the others were.

My grandfather received a book in October 1921, after he had returned to England, from someone who signed themself as "P" living at 43 Fawcett Avenue, Winnipeg, with the following inscription, "fulfilling a promise made two years earlier." My aunt believes this was a girlfriend named Peggy, but has no further information about her. Perhaps Peggy was one of those in the photographs. I'm hoping that some day, someone from the Winnipeg area will recognise a family member in the images included above, but I will admit that it's a long shot.

Today's article is my entry for the 5th Edition of the Canadian Genealogy Carnival hosted by looking4ancestors.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Catching up

I'm afraid that a preoccupation with studies and house guests has left me with little time to spend on Photo-Sleuth recently. Although I have tried hard to keep up with reading my favourite, and ever-growing, list of family history and photo-related blogs, I've been disappointed to miss out on participating in a couple of exellent Geneabloggers carnivals, such as Evelyn Yvonne Theriault's A Festival of Postcards (2nd Edition): Main Street.

Three weeks ago I attended a very interesting, informative and thought provoking talk entitled Snapshots - The Vernacular in New Zealand Photography in the Art Lounge of the Auckland Art Gallery given by Ron Brownson, Senior Curator of New Zealand and Pacific Art. Several of the photographs which he used in the accompanying slideshow Ron has also featured in a series of Snapshots on the Auckland Art Gallery staff blog Outpost. A variety of aspects of indigenous amateur photography have been discussed in both blog articles and the talk.

Image © and courtesy of Ron Brownson
Group of friends posed sitting on a truck at the beach, c. 1925
Image © and courtesy of Ron Brownson
Outpost (Auckland Art Gallery Staff blog) - Snapshots 10

Apart from using the photographs as a window onto the way of life in the early to mid-20th Century, Ron analyses the relationship between the photographer and his or her subjects. I am particularly intrigued how he uses this to develop an idea of who the photographer might have been. For example, he comes to the conclusion that the person taking the shot featured above was a woman. I don't know whether I agree with him or not, but it certainly got me thinking more about this photographer-subject relationship.

A large proportion of the snapshots in Ron's collection feature people engaging in recreational activities, often by the beach. I have quite a few images in my own family collection in a similar vein, and hope to feature some of these on Photo-Sleuth in the next few weeks.

On a quite different note I would like to acknowledge and thank George Geder and Judith Richards Schubert for their recognition of my efforts on Photo-Sleuth in the form of Puckerbrush Awards on their respective blogs here and here.

George is a keen photo restoration artist and family historian, using his work with precious family photographs and the telling of stories to make genealogy research more interesting. On his blog George Geder employs a variety of formats to tell these stories and to share his three decades of valuable genealogical knowledge and experience. George provides some details of his background and sources of inspiration in a guest article on footnoteMaven's popular Shades of the Departed blog, in which he talks about the importance of preserving and restoring photographs. He also writes a regular column for Shades, entitled The Healing Brush, in which he reveals some of his restoration secrets. Have a look at the circa 1958 photograph of a young boy with his mother and also "a client's crumbling grandmother" on Gifts of the Ancestors, Part I and Part II - I bet those took a few hours to restore!

Judith's blog Genealogy Traces is another of my regular reads. She is a regular and enthusiastic participant in the various Geneablogger carnivals and, most important to me, uses a wonderful variety of images to illustrate her genealogy research. For example, an unused 1960s colour postcard of the Canal Grande in Venice bought and saved by her mother-in-law was Judith's contribution for the aforementioned Festival of Postcards - Main Street. Scrapbooking is another of Judith's talents, and many of her old family photos have been artfully presented as digital scrapbook pages. I particularly enjoyed her entry for the 74th Carnival of Genealogy: Swimsuit Edition, a snapshot of her pregnant mother perched precariously in a wooden craft of rather rudimentary construction - whether Judith's dad is steadying the boat or perhaps threatening to tip it over, I'm not quite sure.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Smile for the Camera (14th Edition) - Wedding Belles

Smile For The Camera (14th Edition) - Wedding Belles

The word prompt for the 14th Edition of Smile For The Camera is "Wedding Belles." According to the host footnoteMaven of Shades of the Departed:
Historically, couples married in the month of June to honor Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. Others did it to time conception so births wouldn't interfere with harvest work. And brides in the 15th century chose to marry in June because it coincided with their "annual bath" - that's right - ensuring a relatively sweet-smelling honeymoon.
Well, I have to confess that despite a diligent search I've been unable to come up with a single one of my ancestors that lived within the photographic era who was married during the month of June. The records are sadly silent on whether they were accustomed to having more than one bath a year, or perhaps merely timed their ablutions according to a non-pagan calendar.

My family also appear to have been somewhat reticent about inviting the local photographer to record their nuptials. I have marriage certificates aplenty, so I know the events actually did take place, but photographic records seem to be rare.

(For those who are expecting wedding photos, and won't make do with any kind of substitute, I have previously published and written on this topic several times. Articles include the wedding of my paternal grandparents (Amateur Photo of a Wedding Group, 1926), a large wedding group in Derby by John Burton & Sons taken c. 1865, the famous and often photographed "wedding" of Mr & Mrs General Tom Thumb, and an 1850s ambrotype of a recently married couple. I also recently wrote an extensive series of articles detailing a successful investigation into the identities of subjects of a wedding portrait (A Mystery Marriage in Barton-under-Needwood).)

Image © and collection of H.A.W. Payne
Margien Adriana Schipper and her nephew Dirk Smit
Amsterdam, Netherlands, taken c. 1931-1932
Print 74 x 105 mm
Image © and collection of H.A.W. Payne

I've decided, therefore, to instead feature a couple of portaits of a family member who was never married, although if she had, I have little doubt that she would have done so in June. I have inherited a couple of her photograph albums, and therefore possess a fair number of amateur and professional portraits of her and her immediate family. Those included here, however, are from my mother's albums. The first is of my great-aunt Margien Adriana Schipper (1885-1982), known to me as Tante Gien, and her only nephew (my mother's brother) Dirk Smit (1926-1961).

Image © and collection of H.A.W. Payne
Margien Adriana Schipper and her grand-nephew
Postjeskade, Amsterdam, Netherlands, taken July-August 1963
Kodacolor Print 79 x 79 mm
Image © and collection of H.A.W. Payne

The second, taken some thirty years later, shows Tante Gien in a very similar pose, but with the next generation on her lap. I don't recall that occasion - I was, after all, only eighteen months old - but I do remember visiting her with my grandparents in 1974. I can easily conjure up an image in my mind of how kind she was - she slipped me a few guilders to augment my pocket money - although she spoke practically no English and I, sadly, no Dutch at all.

I am struck by how authentic the colours are in this photograph. The 1960s were the early years of widespread use of amateur colour photography, but Kodak seem to have got it right!

Holidays at the beach

Today is my Aunt Bunnie's birthday. In just over two weeks it will be three years since her brother Bud, my Dad, died and left a gap in our lives that I can't begin to describe. A year ago last month Bunnie lost her husband and companion of over fifty years, our much loved Uncle Alf. Although half a world away Bunnie is very much in our thoughts.

Image © and collection of C.B. Payne
Bud Payne, Southwick, 1932
Print 56 x 79 mm
Image © and collection of C.B. Payne

Todays photographs celebrate just one aspect of the childhood that Bud and Bunnie shared, holiday visits to the seaside in the years before the outbreak of war put paid to that sort of activity.

Image © and collection of C.B. Payne
Bud and Bunnie Payne, Bridlington, 1933
Print 54 x 77 mm
Image © and collection of C.B. Payne

Image © and collection of C.B. Payne
Bud and Bunnie Payne, probably 1933 or 1934
Print 80 x 115 mm
Image © and collection of C.B. Payne

Image © and collection of C.B. Payne
Bud and Bunnie with their mother Ethel Payne
Location unknown & undated but probably Summer 1935
Print 80 x 116 mm
Image © and collection of C.B. Payne

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

74th Carnival of Genealogy - Swimsuit Edition

74th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy - Swimsuit

The 74th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy at Jasia's Creative Gene blog is a "Swimsuit Edition." For lack of any presentable examples of myself, I've had to settle on this 1930s tintype of an unidentified woman in my collection. It's a particularly late example of a tintype and there must have been few photographers still in business using this technique by the 1930s.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The photograph (44 x 62 mm) is mounted behind a printed card frame (82 x 126 mm) with a 38 x 56 mm window. The tintype is actually very dark and I have digitally enhanced the central part of the image above so that the image is a little clearer. Although it is obvious that the subject is in a bathing suit and standing in water submerged up to her thighs, the portrait itself is not particularly clear and contains few distinctive features to aid in the process of identification or dating. Even the horizon is not clearly delineated. To me, the swimsuit is too revealing to be very early, and the woman's hair style suggests perhaps the 1930s or 1940s.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The reverse shows only the paper pasted on to the back of the mount to keep the tintype in place, with sadly no inscriptions or printing to indicate the name of subject, photographer or location.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

The printed card mount very firmly dates the photograph to the period between the wars, and probably in the 1930s. The motor car was commonly used to illustrate the covers of touring maps during this period, so I have used some examples to illustrate the trend. The first of these, shown above and from a similar era to the tintype card mount, is from a Fourth Edition (1936) of the Ordnance Survey "Quarter-Inch" map (Price: Three Shillings) and comes from the collection of Nigel Aspdin.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

However, the use of motor car motif had begun much earlier, as shown by the ornate design on this 1914 edition of the Ordnance Survey "Half-Inch" Road Map (Price: Three Shillings), also courtesy of Nigel.

Image © and courtesy of Rick Jones

This Automobile Association "12-miles-to-the-inch" Touring Map published by John Bartholomew & Son, and courtesy of Rick Jones (Motorists' Roadmaps on Old Classic Car), is a much more colourful style and was probably produced in the 1920s.

Friday, 5 June 2009

An artillery officer and Crimean hero of the old school

I purchased this splendid carte de visite portrait of a highly decorated Victorian soldier in full dress uniform and his somewhat less ornamented wife two or three years ago on eBay. I bid on it not being able to fully decipher the inscription on the reverse, and not having a particular interest in military images, but because the portrait epitomised to me the Victorian military era. The portrait looked to have been taken in the late 1860s or early 1870s, and I thought that I might be able to make a decent attempt at identifying the subjects and unearthing their stories. I was not really expecting my bid to be successful - military photographs such as this one are eagerly sought after by collectors - and I was surprised when I won the auction. I suppose I'm lucky that this one appears to have slipped under their collective radar.

I also wondered if this soldier might have served in the Crimean campaign (1854-1856). The timing seemed about right, and it would be a good opportunity to learn a bit more about that period of Britain's colonial expansion. My father recalled seeing some Crimean War medals in the possession of his mother's Brown family during his youth, but didn't know which member of the family they had been awarded to. Subsequent investigations with Brown cousins have been unable to unearth much more, or even what became of the medals. I am hoping that they will one day resurface.

My early research efforts into the photograph were a little disappointing, as I was unable to match what I could make out of the name on the reverse to anything I could find on the net using Google. I put the photograph away in a box, where it remained until recently, when I rediscovered it, made a high resolutionscan and had another go at deducing the name written on the reverse, this time with far greater success.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The photograph is an ordinary albumen print (58 x 93 mm) of moderate quality, roughly corresponding to what one would expect from an initial estimate of the age of the portrait, i.e. 1870ish. It is in a fair degree of preservation, if a little grubby, with the photosensitive emulsion appearing to be relatively undamaged physically and not particularly faded. It is a formal studio portrait of a man dressed in military uniform, perhaps in his late fifties or early sixties, standing at the shoulder of a rather younger, seated woman - presumably his wife - who may be in her thirties or early forties. The studio background is simple, although not rudimentary, with finely patterned curtain and carpet, and plain wall, which don't in any way detract from the splendour of at least one of the subjects. The ornate back of the chair on which the woman is seated is just visible behind her right shoulder.

I would describe the woman's clothing as rather ordinary, but I suppose fairly typical of the late 1860s. Her unornamented but full skirt skirt, together with a dark lace mantle and decorated hat are similar to some of the items displayed for the years 1869 to 1872 in the book Victorian Fashions & Costumes from Harper's Bazaar: 1867-1898 (Blum, 1974). The gentleman appears to be clad in a full ceremonial dress uniform, complete with medals and sword, but a more detailed analysis of this uniform is probably best left until I reveal what I subsequently uncovered about the subject's life and military career.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The carte de visite mount is of a standard size measuring 61 x 102 mm and is made from fairly thin card with square corners, although slightly rounded from wear. Unfortunately it contains no printing to show either the name of the photographer or the address of the studio. The name handwritten in black ink at the top of the reverse - which I believe from the style of handwriting and nature of the inscription, to be roughly contemporary with the carte de visite itself - appears to state, "Sir Wm. and Lady Fitzmayer." A white rectangular self-adhesive label with the number "370" or "390" is almost certainly recent, perhaps even affixed by the eBay vendor.

Image © and courtesy of
George Town, Demerara, from Fullarton's 1872 Map
Image © & courtesy of the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
and British Guiana, 1832-1846, Plantation Houses & Equipment

James William Howard Fitzmayer was born in 1813 at Demerara (now part of Guyana, formerly British Guiana) in South America, son of Major Charles Howard Fitzmayer and Catherine Morrisey. His father was an officer in the Royal Regiment of Artillery and was presumably based in Demerara during the British occupation of the former Dutch colony, although the family was probably Irish in origin. Major Fitzmayer died suddenly at Limerick in 1821. [Source: Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Dublin, 4 April 1821] I have not been able to determine much about his mother's family, apart from the fact that they were from Madeira. It seems likely that her father was also in the military, and perhaps served in Madeira but briefly during Britain's occupation of that Portuguese colony between 1807 and 1814, as a result of the Napoleonic Wars. It may also be possible that Mr Morrisey was involved in the burgeoning wine trade of that era.

Image © and courtesy of John Hamill
The Royal Military Academy Headquarters at Woolwich
Image © and courtesy of John Hamill
John's Military History Tour of Britain

After being educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, he entered the Royal Artillery with the rank of second lieutenant in 1830. Initially based variously in Belfast, Edinburgh and Woolwich, he was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant in October 1831 [Source: Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, 5 November 1831]. In October 1841 at Tiverton, Devon, he married Jane Louisa Lane, daughter of the late Major Henry Bowyer Lane - also of the Royal Artillery and a veteran of the Peninsular War - and his wife Elizabeth Lacey of Greenhill, Staffordshire. [Source: The Bristol Mercury, 23 October 1841] Six months later, he was promoted to the rank of Second Captain. [Source: Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Dublin, 25 April 1842] After a short spell in Warwick as a recruiter he appears to have served for a few years in Jamaica in the West Indies, returning to England on the transport ship Princess Royal in mid-1846. [Source: Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, 13 August 1846]

Image © and courtesy of The National Archives of Ireland
Portobello Barracks, Rathmines, Dublin
Image © and courtesy of The National Archives of Ireland

In October that year he was promoted to the rank of Captain [Source: Daily News, London, 28 October 1846] before being posted to the Portobello Barracks in Dublin. [Source: Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, 21 January 1847] After another trip to the West Indies, this time to Barbados, he assumed command of the 7th Company, 8th Battalion at headquarters, shortly before it was due to head off for Ceylon. [Source: Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, 1 April 1847]

As it turned out, Fitzmayer ended up not accompanying his unit to Ceylon in late July 1847 [Source: The Morning Chronicle, London, 20 July 1847] but was transferred to command a company in the 3rd Battalion, which eventually proceeded to Dublin in early March 1849. [Source: Daily News, London, 27 February 1849] He remained in Ireland for three years, including being stationed at Kilkenny for a while, before being ordered to return with his battalion to headquarters at Woolwich in March 1852. [Source: The Morning Chronicle, London, 10 March 1852]

Image © and courtesy of Julieanne Savage
Artillery gunners testing an Armstrong 40pdr gun at Shoeburyness Old Ranges
Engraving from The Illustrated London News, 1871
Image © and courtesy of Julieanne Savage

Captain Fitzmayer spent some time training with his battalion at the Royal Artillery barracks and ranges at Shoeburyness, before returning to Woolwich in August 1853, and two months later was ordered to prepare to embark for a spell at the station in Gibraltar. [Source: Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Dublin, 26 October 1853] It is not clear whether they actually left, although his obituary claimed that he had indeed served at Gibraltar. By February 1854, however, Fitzmayer's battalion was at Woolwich once again, and one of the first six on the roster for foreign service. [Source: Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Portsmouth, 11 February 1854]
There is scarcely enything talked of in the garrison of Woolwich but the rumours of preparations for war which are in progress, although not officially announced in general or garrison orders. It is well known, however, that waggon-loads of the munitions of war leave the Royal Arsenal daily for the grand depot, where they are carefully packed and kept in a constant state of readiness to be forwarded to any part at home or abroad at the shortest notice. A report was circulated yesterday that two troops of the Royal Horse Artillery ... and six companies who have gone through a course of field battery instruction or are at present in the batteries, are to be placed under orders to hold themselves in readiness for embarkation for service at the Mediterranean stations, or in any part of the East where their services may be found requisite.
Image © Creative Commons and courtesy of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre
The British Troopship Himalaya, built in 1853
from The New Zealand Wars by James Cowan, 1955
Reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand Licence courtesy of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre

The war in question was, of course, the Crimean. After Captain Fitzmayer and his third battalion, consisting of "192 officers and men, with 170 horses, 6 guns and howitzers, with 11 ammunition waggons," were "medically inspected at the Ordnance Hospital, as to their fitness for foreign service," and embarked for Turkey aboard the horse transport ships Edendale, St. Kilda and Colgrain at Woolwich dockyard. [Source: The Morning Chronicle, London, 21, 27, 29 & 30 February 1854]

Image © Hulton Archive/Getty Images and courtesy of Life
French troops and horses aboard a troopship during the Crimean War
from the Illustrated News, 16 June 1855
Image © Hulton Archive/Getty Images and courtesy of Life

After a lengthy journey of over four weeks due to heavy weather and a stop in Malta they disembarked in the Crimea, they arrived in time to be actively involved in most of the major campaigns, including the affairs of Bulganac and M'Kenzie's Farm, the battles of the Alma and Inkerman, the siege and fall of Sebastopol, and the repulse of the sortie on October 26, 1854. During this period he was given field promotions, first to brevet Major [Source: The Morning Chronicle, London, 28 June 1854], then to Lieutenant-Colonel [Source: The Belfast News-Letter, 30 June 1854], accompanied by a transfer to the 4th Battalion [Source: The Times, London, 29 June 1854]. He was also complimented on parade by Sir De Lacy Evans for his method of bringing up the artillery at the Alma under the hottest fire. [Source: Daily News, London, 11 October 1854
Lieutenant General Sir De Lacy Evans eulogises the conduct of ... Lieutenant Colonels Fitzmayer and Dupuis ...
Fitzmayer was again thanked by Sir De Lacy Evans and twice mentioned in despatches for the affair of the sortie. [Source: The Bristol Mercury, 11 November 1854]
2nd Division, Heights of Tchernay, Oct. 27, 1854
Yesterday the enemy attacked this division with several columns of infantry supported by artillery ... To Lieutenant-Colonel Dacres, Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzmayer ... and the whole of the Royal Artillery, we are under the greatest obligation ... De Lacy Evans.
Image © and courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
Captain Dames, Royal Artillery, British Army, Crimea
Photograph taken by Roger Fenton, c.1855
Image © and courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog Ref. LC-USZC4-9318

The photograph is one of a series taken by Roger Fenton (1819-1869), who achieved fame for his pioneering work as a war photograper in the Crimean. A large collection of digital images of Fenton's work is available on the Library of Congress's Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Captain Dames' uniform is very similar to that worn by Fitzmayer in the carte de visite portrait at the head of this article.

Image © and courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
Field Train, Horse Artillery, British Army, Crimea
Horse team pulling a gun carriage; barracks and tents in the background.
Photograph taken by Roger Fenton, c.1855
Image © and courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog Ref. LC-USZC4-9218

Image © Crown Copyright and courtesy of New Zealand Defence Force
Badge of a Companion of the Order of the Bath (Military Division)
Image © Crown Copyright and courtesy of New Zealand Defence Force web site

In July 1855 a large number of officers were appointed to be "Ordinary members of the Military Divisions of the first, second and third classes of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath," Lieut.-Colonel Fitzmayer becoming a Companion of the Order of the Bath, or "C.B." On 5 October 1855 he was granted leave of absence until 5 January 1856 by the Crimean headquarters at Balaklava and returned to England a week later on the next available transport ship, the Peninsular and Oriental Company's steamship Ripon, departing on the 13 October, sailing again via Malta and arriving at Southampton on 5 November. [Source: The Morning Chronicle, London, 24 October 1855 & The Times, London, 6 November 1855] He reached home to the news that he was in line for a further promotion to Colonel, for distinguished service in the field. Presumably this was actually a field rank only, because on his return to England he appears to have reverted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. [Source: Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, 5 November 1855]

Image © and courtesy of Megan C. Robertson
Crimean War Medal with four clasps
Image © and courtesy of Megan C. Robertson & Medals of the World

He was also awarded the Crimean War medal with three clasps (as opposed to the four clasps shown in the example above). On 12 March 1856, Colonel Fitzmayer attended a dinner party at Buckingham Palace with many other high-ranking officers, and the following day accompanied Her Majesty, the Prince, the Princess Royal and others to Woolwich in order "to witness the arrival of the officers and men of the Royal Artillery siege train direct from the Crimea."

Image used under Creative Commons Licence
Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur)
Image used under Creative Commons Licence and courtesy of Rama & Wikipedia

Over the next few months Colonel Fitzmayer and his wife attended numerous court functions, including "drawing rooms," levées and state balls. Then on 16 July 1856 the Order of the Legion of Honour (Légion d'honneur) was conferred upon a large number of British officers, including Colonel Fitzmayer.

Image © and courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland
Unknown officer and three mounted soldiers of the Leith Fort Artillery
Calotype by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, c. 1843-7
Image © and courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland

In September he was still at Woolwich [Source: The Times, London, 30 Sep 1856], but by December 1857 he was commanding the garrison at Leith Fort near Edinburgh. [Source: Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, 12 December 1857]

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Order of the Medjidie, from the Ottoman Empire
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

On 2 February 1857 he was appointed to the command of the Royal Artillery at Hong Kong [Source: Daily News, London, 3 February 1858] but never appears to have taken up that post, because he was still serving in Edinburgh when granted another award in March 1858. [Source: Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, 4 March 1858]
An official list has been published of the names of the officers who received the various classes of the Imperial Order of the Medjidie from the Sultan, during the late war, as a mark of his approbation of their distinguished services, and permission has been granted them by her Majesty to wear the insignia of the same ... James William Fitzmayer, C.B., 4th class.
In September 1858 Fitmayer made a trip to Wick near Caithness "to inspect both shores of the bay, in order to select suitable sites for the erection of batteries for its protection in case of war." [Source: Liverpool Mercury, 29 September 1858] These were to be manned by a Company of Artillery Volunteers raised locally (Watson, n.d.).

In May 1859 a complete structural reorganisation of the Regiment of Royal Artillery into fourteen brigades, eaqch having a separate station and its own regimental staff, was effected. [Source: Daily News, London, 4 May 1859] Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzmayer was transferred with the 8th Brigade F.A. to Portsmouth, moving there in November and being given command of "batteries stationed at Portsmouth, Aldershot, Devonport, Christchurch, Hilsen, Jersey, and Northampton." [Source: The Morning Chronicle, London, 4 November 1859] J.W. Fitzmayer's wife died in 1859, probably prior to the move from Edinburgh to Portsmouth.

Fitzmayer received confirmation of his appointment to the full, permanent rank of Colonel, as opposed to Brevet-Colonel, on 17 April 1860, and a week later his official annexation to the 8th Brigade was published. [Source: The Belfast News-Letter, 19 April 1860 & The Times, London, 25 April 1860] He was effectively commanding the artillery in the south-west district and spent his time touring many different stations and camps, including those at Portsmouth and Aldershott. Between June 1861 and January 1862, he was transferred to the command of the Royal Artillery in Ireland, based in Dublin, where he remained until April 1864.

Image © The British Library and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Excerpt from The Caledonian Mercury, 28 January 1863, from the 19th Century British Library Newspapers collection
Image © The British Library and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

On 27 January 1863, however, he remarried, to Lucy Sivewright at Burntisland in Fifeshire, Scotland. Lucy Sivewright was born c. 1833 at Torre, Devon, daughter of Charles Kane Sivewright.

In April 1864, Colonel Fitzmayer was "replaced in the command of the Royal Artillery in Ireland, [and] proceed[ed] to England to assume the command of the A Brigade Royal Horse Artillery, at Woolwich, with a portion of which he will embark for India during the present Summer." [Source: The Belfast News-Letter, 24 May 1864] The officers and men were inspected at Woolwich on 13 July, and they departed for India shortly afterwards. [Source: The Times, London, 14 July 1864]

Image © and courtesy of Raghu
Royal Horse Artillery Officers, Gwalior
Print from Hawkshaw's India
Image © and courtesy of Raghu

Fitmayer and his wife spent nearly six years in India, first in command of the Artillery at Meerut until January 1866, then at Benares, and in command of an army division at Oude until April 1867, during which time he was promoted to the rank of Major-General. [Source: Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Dublin, 23 January 1868]

Image © and courtesy of
Group of Officers and NCO's of 'G' Battery, 'A' Brigade - late 'F' Troop at Waterloo - Royal Horse Artillery, Meerut - November 1883
Print from Hawkshaw's India
Image © and courtesy of

Soon after his return to England on 17 August 1870, with the publication of the Queen's Birthday Honours List, news arrived that he was to receive another award. [Source: The Pall Mall Gazette, London, 20 May & 4 July 1871]
Last night's Gazette announces, on the occasion of Her Majesty's birthday, a number of promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Honourable Order of the Bath ... The following are to be Ordinary Members of the Military Division of the Second Class, or Knights Commanders of the said Most Honourable Order:- ... Major-General James William Fitzmayer, C.B.
Image © and courtesy of Megan C. Robertson
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Star
Image © and courtesy of Megan C. Robertson & Medals of the World

The Queen held a private investiture of the Order of the Bath at Windsor Castle yesterday afternoon. Her Majesty, accompanied by the Prince of Wales and Prince Leopold, entered the White Drawing Room at three o'clock, when the following ... were invested by her Majesty with the riband and badge of the miltary division of the first class:- ... Major-General James William Fitzmayer.
Image © The National Archives and courtesy of
1871 Census: Llansantffraid, Cardinganshire, Wales NA Ref. RG10/5558/47/5/18
Image © The National Archives and courtesy of Ancestry

The census of April 1871 shows Major-General Sir Fitzmayer and his wife Lucy living on the estate of Allt-lwyd in the village of Llansantffraid, Cardinganshire, North Wales, close to the Shropshire border, with five servants, including a footman, coachman, cook, housemaid and kitchen maid. His mother Catherine, who had been widowed five decades earlier, died in early December that year aged 88, in Limerick, Ireland.

Having served as Inspector of the Northern Division from April 1867, Major-General Fitzmayer was appointed to the post of Inspector-General of the Royal Artillery at Headquarters on 1 April 1875 in succession to Major-General Sir Collingwood Dickson (1817-1904). Although he and Lady Fitzmayer were resident at Southsea in Hampshire, his duties understandably included annual inspections of many of the Royal Artillery stations, necessitating some travelling. He was at Shoeburyness in July, Dublin and Limerick in August, Aldershot in October, and similar trips took place in the summer and autumn of 1876. [Source: Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Dublin & The Times, London, various dates] In December 1876, another appointment as Colonel-Commandant of the 11th Brigade Royal Artillery was followed by a promotion to General in October 1877. [Sources: Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Portsmouth, 6 December 1876, The Belfast News-Letter, 1 January 1877 & Daily News London, 3 October 1877]

Image © The British Library & courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
General Sir James Fitzmayer, from a photograph by Bustin of Hereford
in The Graphic, 8 June 1895, from the 19th Century British Library Newspapers collection
Image © The British Library and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

In June 1879, after an inspection of the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and the publication of a report of the Board of Visitors, General Sir Fitzmayer was at the centre of some considerable controversy. The report included some harsh criticisms of "the indulgence of the present system of training." [Sources: Aberdeen Weekly Journal, Aberdeen, 14 June 1879 & North Wales Chronicle, 21 June 1879]
Lord Airey and General Fitzmayer have paid a visit to Woolwich Academy, and they have been much distressed at the things they have seen. What they saw there has left no doubt in their minds that the British army is becoming deteriorated. In the youthful days of these veterans only the simplest diet was allowed, and if a cadet's health were not in a satisfactory state the doctor who attended him seldom ordered anything but an emetic and low diet. But in these degenerate days a totally different state of things prevails. Whilst visiting Greenwich the gallant officers have seen "pint bottles of claret before cadets at dinner." More than this. Some of the cadets are allowed to eat potted meats, hams, and tongues, and General Fitzmayer thinks that jams and marmalades are allowed to those who can afford to pay for them. The complaints, however, are not confined to the diet. The veterans describe the rooms of the military students as "ladies' boudoirs" with "comforts hardly too much for school girls." Amongst their diversions, too, there are billiards, smoking rooms, concerts and balls. In place of these comforts and luxuries Lord Airey and General Fitzmayer would give to each student a camp bedstead and bedding, a table, a couple of chairs, and a set of fire-irons, the gymnasium and out-door sports for amusement, and only an ample ration of good and wholesome food for diet.
It provoked an angry response, both from the newspapers and those in authority who had been responsible for the reforms. The following comment appeared in The Newcastle Courant on August 1879:
General Fitzmayer made out,in his recent report, that the cadets at Woolwich and Sandhurst were being "coddled" into a condition of utter uselessness; but the replies of General Adye and Ganeral Napier, the governors, tell a wholly different tale ... General Fitzmayer's prescription ... may have been all very well for the unruly schoolboys whom he remembers in his younger days as inmates of Woolwich Academy, but something less general and more suited to individual cases is needed for the scientific students of our time.
The Pall Mall Gazette (16 June 1879) responded in a similar tone:
That many officers besides Lord Airey will concur in the ideas thus enunciated is very certain; but at the same time it may be doubted whether it would be a good thing to revert to the stricter regulations formerly in force both at Woolwich and at Sandhurst ... if the cadets leave Woolwich and Sandhurst as highly educated and as manly as their predecessors did, it is difficult to see what harm is caused by allowing these amusements ... any one acquainted with Woolwich and Sandhurst as they are and as they were will acknowledge that a far higher moral tone now prevails at these institutions than existed there when the sterner rule advocated by General Fitzmayer was in force.
The subjects of the criticism were no less vehement in their response: [Source: The Pall Mall Gazette, 21 June 1879]
The Army and Navy Gazette understands that the cadets at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, are extremely indignant at General Fitzmayer's report, especially that portion of it referring to the extravagant manner in which they furnish their rooms,and their luxurious diet. The cadets consider his report too vague and exaggerated, and it is their intention to send a protest to the press.
Major-General Sir John Adye and General William Napier, respectively Governors of the Royal Military Academy and College, went on the couter-attack: [Source: The Pall Mall Gazette,London, 4 August 1879]
The old system, which was more or less in force until a few years ago,was characterized by many of those principles which Sir James Fitzmayer apparently approves, but it failed over and over again. In those days when the cadets were out of study, they were little cared for or looked after by the staff. The food was indifferent; there was little in the way of games or amusements; and the barrack-rooms, each containing four cadets, were as cheerless as possible. Within the enclosure the system of espionage by non-commissioned officers prevailed; punishments were frequent and severe, including the blackhole with bread and water; and the cadets finding little pleasure or sympathy within the boundaries of the academy, naturally sought it, in their own way, outside. They frequented the low public-houses and billiard-rooms in the neighbourhood, and other worse places, and had frequent fights in the town with the roughs. Breaking out of barracks, and surreptitioussmoking and drinking more or less prevailed, and rat-killing was a favourite amusement. In short, the system of the institution was one of stern repressive punishments,combined with a good deal of indifference as to the real comfort and welfare of the cadets. It was, in my judgement and in that of most people, a bad system, and has happily passed away ... The great changes ... which have been brought about within the last few years are due partly to the force of public opinion, and partly due to the beneficial recommendations of the Royal Commissionof 1870, which latter were so carefully carried out by my predecessor. The general principle is, that careful attention is paid not only to the professional instruction of the cadets, but also to their comfort and general welfare.
Although Fitzmayer's report was presented to Parliament, it seems to have quickly been buried.

It is not clear whether there was any connection, but less than two years later, on 1 July 1881, "In conformity with the age clauses of the new army reorganisation scheme, which fixes the limit at sixty-seven years for the retirement of generals and lieutenant-generals," General Sir James William Fitzmayer, K.C.B., Colonel, Commandant Royal Artillery was placed on the retired list. [Source: The Belfast News-Letter, 28 July 1881] He retired with his wife to The Chase in the town of Ross, Herefordshire, and over the next fourteen years served variously as County Magistrate for Ross Petty Sessional Division, Commissioner of the Peace and Commissioner of Taxes for Ross Division, as well as being secretary of The West Gloucestershire Water Company for some years.

Image © Pauline Eccles and courtesy of - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence
St. Mary's Church, Ross-on-Wye
Image © Copyright Pauline Eccles and courtesy of
Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

On 28 May 1895 several newspapers around the country reported that, "General Sir James Fitzmayer, K.C.B., died at his residence at Ross, Herefordshire, yesterday morning, in his 82nd year. Deceased served in the Crimea, and was for times mentioned in despatches." The funeral took place at St. Mary's Parish Churchyard, Ross, on Friday 31 May. His widow Lucy Fitzmayer continued living in Ross, and died there on 24 December 1911.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

An enlarged view of the medals on Fitzmayer's chest, shown above, is possibly the best clue to the date of the portrait. I'm not by any means knowledgeable on military uniforms, medals and decorations, but I can make an attempt at identification of some of them, based on the images that I've found of medals that he was definitely awarded. Unfortunately some of the medals are at least partly obscured by the lanyard and tassels. However, I think I can make out the following:
  • The Legion of Honour is at centre left.

  • The Companion of the Order of the Bath is in the centre of the group. It appears to have a bar on the ribbon, which may be his subsequent Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, although I don't see the Star which should perhaps have accompanied that later award.

  • The Crimean War Medal may be the one at lower right, although the ribbon with its three clasps is obscured by the tassels of the lanyard.

  • The Order of the Medjidie is at lower left.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

This composite image shows the medals that I have tentatively identified. I'm very happy to be corrected by anyone who can do so. Please email me if you have further information.

Image © Wilhelm von Halem, from Battledress: The Uniforms of the World's Great Armies by I.T. Schick
Officer of the Horse Artillery, 1854
Image © Wilhelm von Halem, from I.T. Schick's Battledress: The Uniforms of the World's Great Armies

I'd also be keen to hear from any experts in the area of military uniform as to whether that shown in the image above, from Schick's Battledress: The Uniforms of the World's Great Armies, is an accurate representation, both in form and colour of the dress uniform likely to have been worn by Fitzmayer around 1870. It certainly looks very similar indeed. What are the names of the various items, such as the head-dress, the odd-looking piece of floppy fabric hanging from it, etc? Can one tell the officer's rank from such a uniform? Is there anything else one should look for?

P.S. Megan Robertson of Medals of the World emailed me with the following information, for which I am most grateful: "Regarding the medals in the photo, he’s wearing the Companion of the Order of the Bath badge, which was originally a breast badge. The ‘bar’ you refer to is a top buckle which was an integral part of the insignia."

References & Further Reading

International Genealogical Index (IGI), from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on FamilySearch

Index to the General Register Office (GRO) Civil Registrations of Births, Marriages & Deaths, from FreeBMD

Indexed images of the 1841-1901 UK Census, from the National Archives & Ancestry

19th Century British Library Newspapers collection, from Gale Cengage Learning

The Times Digital Archive, 1785-1985, from Gale Cengage Learning

Hussards Photos

Soldiers of the Queen, a Virtual Museum of Victorian-era British Military Photographs

Fenton Crimean War Photographs - 263 photographs of the Crimean War, 1855 by Roger Fenton, from the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

Death Notice for Sir J.W. Fitzmayer in the London Times, dated 28 May 1895, transcribed and reproduced online by The Guyana/British Guiana Genealogical Society

Barham, John (n.d.) The Battle of Inkerman, Part 2 - The Fog of War, reproduced online by Suite101

Blum, Stella (ed.)(1974) Victorian Fashions & Costumes from Harper's Bazaar: 1867-1898, Dover Publications, ISBN 0486229904

Browne, James Alexander (1865) England's Artillerymen, An Historical Narrative of the Services of the Royal Artillery, publ. Hall, Smart & Allen, London, from GoogleBooks

Calthorpe, Somerset John Gough (1858) Letters from Head-Quarters; or, The Realities of the War in the Crimea, by an Officer on the Staff, Third Edition, Condensed, With Plans, John Murray, London, reproduced online by Google Books

Duncan, Francis (2008) History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, online preview by Google Books

Hart, Lieutenant-General H.G. (1888) The New Annual Army List, Militia List, Yeomanry Cavalry List, and Indian Civil Service List, for 1888 (Vol 49), John Murray, London, online version from Google Books

Laws, Lt.-Col. M.E.S. (n.d.) The Royal Artillery at Copenhagen 1801, in The Journal of the Royal Artillery, Vol. LXXVI. No. 4., publ. The Royal Artillery Institution, reproduced online on Napoleonic Literature

Mollo, John (ed.)(1993) The Rise of the Mass Armies, 1815-1860 (Chapter 6), in Battledress: The Uniforms of the World's Great Armies, 1700 to the present, ed. I.T. Schick, illustr. Wilhelm von Halem, Artus Books

Philippart, John (1820) The Royal Military Calendar, or Army Service and Commission Book, 3rd Edition, Volume V, online version from Google Books

Watson, G. (n.d.) The Artillery Batteries at Mey and Castletown, on the Caithness Community Web Site
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