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Family group + Military uniform

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Family group + Military uniform

Postby lesinlondon » Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:44 pm

Hi folks, I'm new here and feel a bit guilty starting with a question, but here goes - This photo was found stuck in my nan & granddads photo album. I am trying to narrow it down to who the people might be. The back is a lightly printed post card type, so I guess after 1902? I wonder if, from the women's dress and hair styles, if it might be pre WWI. There is unfortunately no identification on the military uniforms, though I note the man on right has a cross-chest pocked belt, as worn only by mounted troops, I think. Any help with the year would be great. Both sides of the family were from Surrey/Middx/London areas. Thanks, Leslie.
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Re: Family group + Military uniform

Postby brunes08 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:09 pm

Perhaps the uniforms are from the Boer War at the start of the 1900s. The costume of the lady in the front certainly looks from the late 1800s/ early 1900s. If you have some family names, eg your grandparents, you might be able to find something on Ancestry or Find My Past etc that would fit with what you know. Alternatively, if you could post the names of any grandparents/great grandparents, other people might be able to help.


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Re: Family group + Military uniform

Postby lesinlondon » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:53 pm

Thanks for reply! These must be either Miller family from Battersea or Sawyer family from Camberwell related. I think maybe if the photo dates from pre WWI, then one of the men in uniform could be Charles Reuben Miller. He was my great grandfather on my mothers side. He first signed up aged 18 on 18 Nov 1889, when he travelled to Colchester and joined the Royal Munster Fusiliers, having already been a volunteer in his local regiment, the 4th East Surrey's. He joined his regiment on 20 Nov 1889. Served in the East Indies 1891-1897 and South Africa for a year from Nov 1899. He was discharged at "termination of engagement" on 15 Apr 1902. Promoted lance corporal on 4 Jun 1895 and corporal 21 Feb 1897.

Age 41 he rejoined the Royal Munster Fusiliers on 27 Aug 1914, and was promoted Seargeant 5 Sep 1914. Due to his age I guess, he spent most of the time at the regimental barracks in Cork, though was sent to to do duty at a military prison, then to 35 field hospital, in Calais. He was invalided to England 5 Feb 1917 and discharged 10 Oct 1917 as "no longer physically fit for war service".

Family lived in Battersea, so I wonder why he did not join a more local London regiment, or maybe he didn't have a choice?

To me the younger women's dress looks more country style, rather than city style? and it does look pre 1900's, though I think photo's with a post card printed back were from 1902.

Thanks, Leslie.
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Re: Family group + Military uniform

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:49 pm

Surely this is WW1 era? Aren't the women's clothes far too simple - e.g. no puffed sleeves - for the Boer War era? And soldiers from that era would tend to have moustaches - though I emphasise tend.

The soldier on the right is, as is suggested from the bandolier, mounted - but bear in mind 2 parts out of 3 of the Artillery was mounted (Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery), and you can get mounted soldiers even in the Royal Engineers (e.g. drivers).

The soldier on the left (elder brother?) appears to be a lance-corporal (one stripe pointing down on the upper half of his sleeve). Moreover, notice that his buttons are black. I think that means he's in one of the Rifles regiment (i.e. any regiment with Rifle(s) in its name. I did wonder if the Light Infantry regiments were also covered by this but I just checked with my G-uncle's picture and he's got brass buttons so it looks like it's Rifles only. However, if you find a Medal Index Card for him, it may not read lance-corporal. Apart of course from the possibility of his promotion, lance-corporal is an appointment and not a rank - substantively he would still be a Private (or Rifleman, given which group of regiments he appears to be in).
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Re: Family group + Military uniform

Postby lesinlondon » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:13 pm

Thanks for the reply and info. I'll likely have a hard time identifying these people. Could be a family group showing sons and daughters, or maybe only one son/daughter is shown with his/her partner and sibling/partner. Charles's medal card for 1917 says Sergeant. You jogged my memory re black buttons denoting a Rifles regiment. This and the fact that bandoliers were worn by other than purely mounted regiments is something I will note for future reference. Charles Miller is noted as doing "transportation duties" in/from 1896, so he 'could' be the soldier on the right? He would be 24 in 1896, so looks about the right age if photo is from this period.

I am quite intrigued by the two younger women's dress style. Assuming they would have been wearing their 'best dress' for the photo, do they look like the kind of dresses worn by city women for such portraits, and the hair styles too. I would love to have a date period for the picture. I'm inclined to think 1895-1905 ish. Thanks again for help! Les.
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Re: Family group + Military uniform

Postby g w aldous » Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:33 am

This uniform was not adopted before c1905, it is almost certainly 1st WW, soldier on left is a Lance corporal in a Rifle Regt soldier on right is in the Royal Artillery as he is also wearing the white lanyard with the bandolier. The one on the left looks the elder and may have been in for a while if you find anymore pics of him look for stripes like the L Cpl only pointing up on his lower left sleeve one for each 3 years of service. a single short stripe is for wounds.
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Re: Family group + Military uniform

Postby lesinlondon » Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:14 pm

Thanks for reply and comments. Your comment on the uniforms has really thrown me. My aunt has now told me that these are her mums family, so I have narrowed the family down. I will continue to search for a relative in the Royal Artillery around this period. Thanks.
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