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Scottish Military Uniform - identification help required

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Scottish Military Uniform - identification help required

Postby LorraineK » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:31 pm

This is a photo of my ancestor Richard Ray born in 1878. I know he was in the Royal West Surrey Regiment during WW1 but I have been given this photo (original donator not known) which shows him posing in a photographic studio dressed in a Scottish uniform which I haven't identified. Is this is a genuine uniform ? If so, why, as he was in the West Surreys? Could it be some sort of dressing up ? Maybe the detail of the uniform being worn will give some clues but I have no knowledge in this field. Can anybody help please ?
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Re: Scottish Military Uniform - identification help required

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:18 pm

I've not had chance to look at this more closely but here are some points to think about to start with...

1. How do you know that he was in the West Surrey in WW1? The records of that may help explain if you can point us to them.

2. How do you know that the photo is him? Sorry to cast doubt but you wouldn't believe the nonsensical identifications that I've seen...

3. The uniform does look like an authentic Scots regiment. But what I can't tell you is whether it's WW1 period - close, but could it be earlier? Dunno.

4. Is it possible that he was in the Army twice? West Surrey during WW1 but a Scots regiment earlier?

As I said, just questions not answers...



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Re: Scottish Military Uniform - identification help required

Postby Jethro Tull » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:47 pm

Hi LorraineK,

I think the sporran is going to be the key to this one. I am struggling to positively ID the regiment from this one, I'm pretty certain the Scottish regiments all had their own distinct colour and style and I am searching through various books and online to see if I can find the right one. May be worth posting the pic on the Great War forum or the Victorian wars forums to see if there are any experts who could identify it.

Dan.
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Re: Scottish Military Uniform - identification help required

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 3:24 pm

In keeping with me using Google to find the more obscure web-sites - indeed, with enthusiasts having created them in the first place - I found this: http://www.scottishmilitarydisasters.com/index.php/titles-sp-26803/26-titles/smd/31-photo-identification. Forgetting the melodramatic title, it appears to help identify Scots regiment kilt and sporrans. How comprehensive it is, I don't know. It doesn't for instance, include the London Scottish - but their sporran appears to be dark tassels (tassels? huh? surely not!) whereas the photo has them light.
Adrian
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Re: Scottish Military Uniform - identification help required

Postby LorraineK » Sat Mar 10, 2018 3:48 pm

Thx to you all for your quick responses. I have a copy of Richard's entry on the WW1 medal rolls which shows him in the West Surreys & also a copy of the church register page for his son's baptism in 1916 which shows his occupation as Pte West Surrey Regt. I have today been trying to find a full copy of his service record but so far without success. I have tried to establish the origin of the photo as I wanted to ask the original owner where they obtained the picture & how they can confirm it is definitely Richard but have not got a reply yet. This is why I am trying instead to learn more about the photo & the likelihood of it being genuinely a military uniform & not a "costume". I did take a look online today and identified the nearest uniform (in my very amateurish way) as being that of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, as their kilt has a lighter line through it the same as in the photo and also the sporran appears to match (although the clip on the sporran is a bit strange ??). He oddly has no hat on whereas most military photos show the men wearing their hat. I read that the Scottish regiments "toned down" their uniforms after the Boer War i.e. around 1900 to drab khaki outfits so this photo does appear to fit with that idea. I found a similar photo where the chap served in WW1 - he had an almost identical jacket and wore the same kind of putties with just the kilt fabric differing (sporran not visible or not being worn).
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Re: Scottish Military Uniform - identification help required

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:50 pm

LorraineK wrote:... a copy of the church register page for his son's baptism in 1916 which shows his occupation as Pte West Surrey Regt. ...

That sounds like a jolly good thing to have.

LorraineK wrote:... I have a copy of Richard's entry on the WW1 medal rolls which shows him in the West Surreys ...

Now what may be a problem there, is that if there's another Richard Ray in the West Surreys, then how do you know if the Medal Index Card refers to him or yours? Unless you have his number from another source... If you never went overseas, then you never got a medal, so not everyone is in those lists.

LorraineK wrote:... I have today been trying to find a full copy of his service record but so far without success. ...

Probably it got burnt up in the infamous Arnside St fire of WW2. Only btw 1/4 and 1/3 of the service records survive from WW1. Nothing sticks out as being him that I could see....

LorraineK wrote:... Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, ...

Well, that was my thought also but not being sure about the coverage of that site, I'm not remotely confident, which is why I said nothing. The top of the sporran didn't seem right, as I think you also worry. But I don't know if that's significant. I would be very tempted to follow Dan's advice and join the Great War Forum and ask if someone can identify the regiment from the sporran and kilt etc, and when. The lack of a cap (probably best not to call it a "hat"! :-) ) is not significant - I see as many without as with. Sadly, the cap badge is about the only thing that identifies most uniforms. You may be lucky on this one with the kilt and sporran....
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