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1890's Worcester military uniform?

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1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby bramleyapple » Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:22 pm

I inherited a family album, although there were no names to help me identify those in the photos. This person probably has the surname Deakin or Smith. The photo was taken at 9 Bridge Street, Worcester, 1890-1892 (the only years this photographer was at these premises). I was intrigued by the low number 6 and that the subject wasn’t very young. So I wondered initially whether he was a member of the post office, who I understand had adopted military-like uniforms by that period; however, Bath Post Office Museum felt this was unlikely. I have searched images for Royal Worcestershire Hussars for this period without success. Any ideas would be much appreciated.
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Re: 1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby JaneyH » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:45 pm

I'm very much a novice in all things concerning military history, but my guess would be that this is a soldier from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment from the early 1890s.

In the 19th century army regiments were assigned a number. There were major reforms in 1881 (Childers Reforms) when the numbered regiments were grouped into geographical areas - mainly counties. I understand from advice I've had on my own military photos that during the late 19th century uniforms typically displayed the number of the former regimental name with the badge of the new one. A quick internet search suggests that the former 6th Regiment of Foot became the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Given that Warwickshire and Worcestershire are neighbouring counties, I wonder if this may be a line of enquiry for you. Many old county regiments have regimental museums, some with excellent archives. This may help you along for a bit, but hopefully someone more expert in this area can contribute!


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Re: 1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby bramleyapple » Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:34 pm

Many thanks JaneyH for your time and trouble - especially re. 1881 tip and likely significance of the number 6 visible on the uniform. Most of the relatives lived in the Worcester area at that time, so I imagined he would have been in a local regiment. Warwickshire sounds feasible though - I've no idea whether this means he would have had to have lived in that area to have joined or whether he was just visiting relatives when the photo was taken. I'll pursue the research you suggested and possibly contact or visit the museum in Warwick sometime, as I don't live too far away.
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Re: 1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:48 pm

Caveat - my military badge books are all from the WW1 era, so there are massive chunks of history I can't comment on. However...

Janey's suggestion of matching the "6" to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment isn't a bad idea. Sadly, it doesn't seem to get us anywhere as the Warwickshire's badge in the WW1 era was an antelope and that seems to have long standing.

I couldn't see any Regular Army regiments (from WW1, as I said), with a badge that seemed to match. Possible ways out of this are that either the badge is that of a regiment amalgamated out of existence in 1881 or the badge belongs to a Yeomanry, Militia or (Rifle) Volunteers regiment / battalion, many of which didn't reach the WW1 era thanks to reorganisations.

If you go to http://www.worcestershireregiment.com/em_tower.php you will find that "The Worcestershire Militia battalions used a Tower emblem on their badges." And the tower itself doesn't half look like what's inside the ring on this guy's cap badge. Further, it says: "In 1881 the 1st and 2nd Worcestershire Militia Battalions became the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Worcestershire. However, they were renumbered the 5th and 6th (Reserve) Battalions in 1900 when two new Regular Battalions were raised."

So we've got a tower (possibly), Worcestershire, and the number 6. I might be adding 1+1 and making 6, but I'd be tempted to explore militia (or ex-militia) battalions of the Worcestershires. (The date might be a bit of a problem for the 6th Reserve Battalion but it wouldn't be the first time I'd seen details from directories suggest different dates).

You might try http://www.worcestershireregiment.com/ - especially since there's a forum there.
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Re: 1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:59 pm

Just a further thought if you go looking for his service papers - if he is in a militia or ex-militia battalion, and he's a sergeant of some degree (those crossed "wotsits" on his arm denote some sort of speciality) then I'm not sure that necessarily means his records (try FindmyPast) would be in the militia series. He could be a Regular Army soldier from the Worcesters on attachment to the militia battalion, in which case his papers might be in the ordinary army series. I'm not certain they did it like that but I've a vague thought that might happen, so don't exclude the possibility.
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Re: 1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby bramleyapple » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:36 am

Thanks for your responses AdrianB38. I know nothing about military history, so its an interesting learning curve. Initially, I had naively thought the 6 on the collar maybe referred to his personal number rather than the battalion number. I still think I haven't got to the right battalion, as the renumbering you mentioned occurred in 1900, whereas the photo was definitely taken 1890-92. I had looked up likely relatives in the 1891 census, but they were sat at home rather than away at war.In fact, an internet check suggests there were no significant skirmishes with British involvement at that time. I don't know why the photo was taken at that point - maybe he'd just joined - he doesn't seem to have been off anywhere. I'm now wondering, especially given that his appearance suggests a reasonably advanced age, whether he lived at home, had a day job and was in fact a reservist/TA. I understand the need for such in ongoing combats, e.g. WWI. I think the TA equivalent was in existence for a long time covering that period, in spite of no apparent desperate need. You've given me some interesting links for further research. I'll explore the volunteer possibility and need to approach the Worcestershire Regimental Museum.I'll post again after further work
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Re: 1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:10 pm

" I'm now wondering ... whether he lived at home, had a day job and was in fact a reservist/TA"
Yes, that's exactly what the militia, volunteers, Yeomanry and goodness knows how many other types of unit were about. The TA itself wasn't founded until 1908 (as the Territorial Force).

See http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/reco ... 2-1914.htm
for TNA's advice on searching for militia records.

See http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/reco ... 9-1945.htm
for their advice on searching for Volunteer, Territorial, etc, records.

By the way - one big tip for military history newbies - there was no such thing as an Army number, i.e. no such thing as a number unique across the Army. In fact, in the Infantry (and possibly other types) there wasn't even a regimental number. The number 1234 in the Worcesters could be allocated to a regular soldier and one or more militia soldiers and one or more (Rifle) Volunteers.
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Re: 1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby bramleyapple » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:20 am

As a particularly green military history newbie, thanks again to AdrianB38 for the extra tips and links. I'll post again when I've had chance to fully explore. Certainly your suggested tower on the cap badge and the consequent link to the Worcester military seem pretty convincing.

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Re: 1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby Hammerjock » Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:58 pm

Don't know if it helps but the volunteers/regulars were based at Norton barracks, if looking for a relative on census' they may be registered there. Cheers


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Re: 1890's Worcester military uniform?

Postby bramleyapple » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:54 pm

Thanks hammerjock for the extra option. As a young child in the 1950's I saw the Norton Barracks contingent march past my house on special occasions. If the photo is of the person I suspect ( Thomas Deakin, who was mid 50's at the time) I think he was at his home address that night. However, it may be another extended family member. I'll put your suggestion into the mix when I find time to explore further.

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