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Questions - Military Jacket

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Re: Questions - Military Jacket

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:10 pm

gemmalrf wrote:(Did you read the bit about the fuse falling off the table and blowing up?? I think one of the senior officers was keen to get rid of him at that point!) ...

Yes - my own grandpa was a Fitter Corporal in the RFA during WW1, so that was, err, interesting to me to see the risks.


gemmalrf wrote:..I had thought by re-enlisted (in 1912) that that had meant he left in the years between so interesting to know he had remained in the army. ...

Yes - when you work with this stuff for a while, you realise that there are different shades of being "in the Army". Re: 7 years in uniform, 5 in the Reserve - for your first 7y (or whatever the figure was - it varied), you were in uniform, fully in the Army. For the remainder of your 12y, being in the Reserve meant you were back in civilian life, responsible for finding yourself a job, a place to live, your own food and drink. If, however, "the balloon went up" (as it did in 1914) you would get called up again and put into uniform with a gun in your hand (or whatever). During the 5(ish) years, you would be paid a retainer fee and you'd have to attend occasional training days (annual??) - those were important because if you'd learned (say) how to use one type of gun in your 7y in uniform, and the Army changed that gun for another type during your 5y in the Reserve, you wouldn't be much help if you got called up and couldn't use the new type of gun.

Your chap is the first I remember signing up for another period in the Reserve after his 1st 5y was up, so another interesting bit for me.
Adrian
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Re: Questions - Military Jacket

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:52 pm

Re the uniform - it's a shame we can't see the hat properly (if that's what it is). It does, however, look to sit flat on the table, so it may be one of the "pill-box" type hats. If you look at https://www.britishbattles.com/great-boer-war/battle-of-stormberg/ then right down at the very bottom, there's a photo of "Non-commissioned officers of 77th Field Battery Royal Field Artillery, one of Gatacre’s batteries at the Battle of Stormberg on 9th/10th December 1899 ". Not sure exactly when that photo was taken but there are some similarities with your chap. The hats just might be the sort that we can't see properly. The collar seems to be made of a darker material than the rest of the jacket. The cuffs, however, are different. He also has piping round the edge of his jacket.

The big photo of 77th's NCOs appears to show their stripes for rank on just one arm, unless I'm seeing things. Now look at your chap - that chevron on his right arm (left-hand side of the photo), does look like a lance-corporal's stripe. I don't think it's a fancy sleeve - I think it's his stripe - and based on the hat and the apparent age of the studio set, I think it's his stripe for when he was an Acting Bombardier. And that's maybe why he went out and got the photo. Good job he didn't wait, because having been demoted due to being "Drunk & Disorderly", he only had it for a year. That dates the photo to btw Sept 1901 and August 1902.

Another useful image - though again too early for your chap - is on http://www.victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?t=7090 That shows dark blue jackets with red collars and I suspect that may be what we see here.

Unless you can find a really detailed book (and there may be one - The Dress of the Royal Artillery by Alastair Campbell is what I think you may need) you may find that Maureen's suggestion of joining the Victorian Wars Forum on http://www.victorianwars.com is a good idea. There are some aspects that I'd suggest you should ask about, once you've given them the details:
  • Exactly what sort of uniform, and when (because we think it's 1901/02), is this?
  • Can someone confirm the colours?
  • Are the cuffs standard for all soldiers in that uniform?
  • Just to be sure - Is that really a bombardier's rank chevron?
  • What are those badges on his sleeve above the apparent chevron?
  • Sash?
The badges are really interesting to me - if he were an infantryman, I'd say they were crossed rifles for a marksman but not here surely? Then there's a flag and a crown??? on the top... But what on earth they mean, I've no idea. And please be aware that I might have got this totally wrong somewhere - that's why I'd recommend the VWF...
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Re: Questions - Military Jacket

Postby gemmalrf » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:14 pm

I do have a photo from 1900 - 1902 which my relative says is also of Ellis (though he looks quite different and younger) and he is wearing the pillbox hat and an RHA uniform. Maybe he was transferred from that role after 1902 hence the change in the style of uniform?

I think in the WWI records somewhere it had said that Ellis was promoted to lance rank on 5th August 1914 then in 1917 he was promoted to corporal. Would the chevron have been added for the first or second event? If the first, it would narrow the time range for the photo. If for the second, it would mean the photo was taken towards the end or after the war.

Thank you so much for the book recommendation - I'll see if I can get my hands on a copy!
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Re: Questions - Military Jacket

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:38 pm

Mmm - I don't think uniform or studio make sense for a WW1 picture. The studio just looks old fashioned with that brocaded(?) cloth. And I've never seen photos of "ordinary soldiers" during WW1 in that sort of full dress or whatever uniform... They had plenty of work to do to make enough khaki uniforms, never mind dark blue with gold piping... The Royal household troops (Guards, Household Cavalry, etc) would have their ceremonial uniforms from before the war but I doubt that there was much demand even for new ceremonial uniforms for them!

Just a thought - there wasn't an elder brother was there so that the photos have got mixed and merged in people's minds?
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Re: Questions - Military Jacket

Postby MaureenE » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:21 am

The photo attachment no longer appears.

There is a message
"The selected attachment does not exist anymore".

Perhaps deleted by the original poster?

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Re: Questions - Military Jacket

Postby gemmalrf » Thu Jan 24, 2019 1:53 am

Hi Maureen,

No, not deleted by me. I wasn't able to log in at all yesterday (there was a problem with the website) I'm 8 hours ahead of the UK and it looks as though it was fixed sometime between when I went to bed and now.

Hi Adrian,

Thanks for all your suggestions. He did have an older brother but it doesn't appear that he was in the army. Looks like I've got a lot to think about - the person in this picture and the person in the other picture look too different for the picture to be taken at the same time / so close together (though they could be the same person years apart) I have asked my relative to see if he can get hold of the original and pick up any clues from that, i.e. location, photography studio. I looked at some books the other day but couldn't see anything similar. Will carry on down that path though.

If I figure anything out, I'll let you all know!
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Re: Questions - Military Jacket

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:16 am

I'd try the Victorian Wars Forum if I were you....

Sent from my MotoG3 using Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine Forum mobile app
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