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Uniform help please

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Uniform help please

Postby mbford222 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:25 pm

This is a photo of my grandfather dating from around 1915. He joined the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery as a boy in 1910 and was appointed fitter and posted to 87 battery, 12th brigade in 1914, then 2nd brigade RFA in 1916.

My question is, what significance do the stripes, and shoulder decoration have? Is that a medal ribbon for the 14-15 Star, and why was this photo taken, maybe just before heading into the war zone?

I am presently writing my grandfather's biography and I want to get the details right. He was a proud member of the Old Contemptibles.

Albert E Walters 1915.jpg
Albert E Walters 1915.jpg (135.39 KiB) Viewed 3056 times


Thank you
M Bradford
Ottawa, Canada
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Uniform help please

Postby brunes08 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:05 pm

As far as I know, the three stripes show that he had the rank of Sergeant. He would be classed as a non-commissioned officer. He was about 3 or 4 steps up the ladder and would have held a lot of responsibility. Do you have his army service records? You could gain a lot of useful information from the documents.
Just Google 'non-commissioned ranks'. Useful information for his role.
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Re: Uniform help please

Postby mbford222 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:20 pm

Thank you for that. Unfortunately, his service record did not survive as far as I know. I'm working directly from my grandfather's notes. He was promoted to Acting Staff Sergeant in February 1918, so that dates the photograph much later than I thought.
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Re: Uniform help please

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:18 pm

Oh that's delightful for me - my own grandfather was a fitter corporal in the RFA and my Dad said that they once (but no longer) had a big photo of Grandpa in uniform with the "pincers" on his arm - just like here. So....

1. The medal ribbon does look very like the 1914 Star - my Grandpa's ribbon divides the colours more equally but the colours shade into one another and colours in photos of that era don't always come over as you might think. Since we know from your comments that he would have got the 1914 Star, we'll take that as what it is.

2. According to Ancestry's intro to "UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920", the 1914 Star (not the 1914-15 Star, that's different again) was authorised in April 1917 - so that's the earliest the photo can date to. (But see later)

3. Based on your details, I believe his Medal Index Card is on Ancestry as Walters, Albert E, 12 Bde RFA, 63622. I suspect the Star would be engraved to Fitter AE Walters and his War & Victory Medals to A/S/Sgt (i.e. Acting Staff Sergeant) Albert E Walters. The MIC also shows he was entitled to the "Clasp & Roses" for being under fire in that period.

4. The British War Medal & Victory Medal were issued rather later - the Medal Rolls are on Ancestry and Albert's BWM & VM Roll is dated March 1920.

5. The 1914 Star Medal Roll is also on Ancestry and his Roll is dated 14 March 1918 - I suspect this means that this is the earliest date that photo can be - March 1918. So maybe his new rank and new medal ribbon were thought photo-worthy.

For the uniform:
6. As stated above, the three stripes are for a sergeant and I think that the three together with the crown indicate Staff Sergeant. Which is the obvious conclusion, of course.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Ar ... k_insignia

Between the crown and stripes appears to be a stylised gun (for the RFA, I guess) and on the stripes is a set of crossed pinchers and hammer - this is the trade badge for a smith / armourer / fitter.

7. Getting really geeky - I believe the lanyard on the left shoulder (not the right) is typical of the Artillery and I've a feeling the cord on his left pocket may hold a whistle, which is a badge of a ...? Possibly a senior NCO.

Hope this helps and thank you for seeing those trade badges!
Adrian
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Re: Uniform help please

Postby meekhcs » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:39 am

If Adrian has identified your Grandfather correctly and his service number was 63622 then there are details on the Find my Past website for him. Unfortunately the document will not load properly at the moment so I cannot view it.
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Re: Uniform help please

Postby meekhcs » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:56 am

Royal Artillery attestations 1883-1942 Transcription
First name(s) Albert Ernest
Last name Walters
Age 15
Birth year 1889
Birth place London
Attestation year 1904
Service number 1030186
Former service number 63622
Record set Royal Artillery attestations 1883-1942
Category Military, armed forces & conflict
Subcategory Regimental & service records
Collections from Great Britain

This is the transcription from FMP
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Re: Uniform help please

Postby meekhcs » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:11 am

I have managed to look at the document now but the Forum will not allow me to upload it. Basically it refers to his re engagement to complete 21years service with New colours 14.6.21. It details his marriage date and children's dob's and his war medals. His service number changes from 63622 to 1030186 and a final discharge date of 20.3.41 reason Para 390 (XV11) KR
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Re: Uniform help please

Postby AdrianB38 » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:38 am

Interesting. .... that means that his papers will still be held by the UK's Ministry of Defence . It is possible to request the MoD to send a copy providing certain confidentiality conditions are met. Of course it costs money and takes time but it should be worth it. Having said that, I don't know what the re engagement means for the record of his earlier years - hopefully it's all kept together - the fact that the RFA attestations shows his earlier number is encouraging.

Incidentally I often wonder how many of the soldiers whose papers we assume were burnt in the WW2 fire, were regulars like this chap, who served past 1920 and whose papers therefore are still held by the Ministry of Defence.

Sent from my GT-I8190N
Adrian
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Re: Uniform help please

Postby mbford222 » Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:34 pm

Thank you both for this amazing help. I feel that I have made a great deal of progress in just a couple of days. I have an account at FMP and will look at their documents today.

We were able to obtain a transcription of military service from the MOD in 1988 which confirmed the dates and places in Albert's notes.

Again, thank you both for your time and information. By the way, he retired in 1962 from REME with the rank of Major, so he really did rise through the ranks!

Kind regards,
M.B.
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Re: Uniform help please

Postby g w aldous » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:24 pm

In his case the lanyard would have had a fusing key for the shells, The cannon with the cannon above indicates a Master gunner first class,The hammer and pincers is a Trade badge I think Armourer fits best So he was a Sergeant Armourer with a master gunner first class qualification.
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