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Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

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Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

Postby smithalls » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:41 pm

Hello
I have a photo given to me (attached) by other family members and was told that standing on the left of photo is my great Uncle, Alfred DAVIS (1897-1918). I Know he enlisted into Essex Regiment 1914 (Private No.10738) and was in 9th Battalion. He was KIA near Sailly sur la Lys in 1918.
I am trying to identify the other 2 men in this photo, the family have said they are unknown but I wonder if they are also DAVIS family, who lived in East Ham Essex.
Alfred's older brother, Walter (Jnr b.1896) also joined the Essex Regiment. Although I have not found any of his military documents, however I have another photo of him (hopefully also attached) and am not convinced it is the same man sat in middle of this photo.
Their father Walter DAVIS (Snr 1873-1935)had also previously been in Essex Regiment (Pvte 3355) and I think initially in Labour corps (no.662 then a Private in Machine Gun Corp (no.30209) about 1916-1917. I wonder if he could be the man standing on the right of photo, although this man's uniform has different markings on his left sleeve.
Would anyone be able to give me any further clues that might help work this out.
many thanks for any help on this
kind regards
Teresa
Attachments
Walter DAVIS Jnr 1897.jpg
Walter Davis 1896
Walter DAVIS Jnr 1897.jpg (24.59 KiB) Viewed 369 times
Alfred Davis Essex Regiment abt 1918.jpg
Alfred DAVIS on left
Alfred Davis Essex Regiment abt 1918.jpg (182.04 KiB) Viewed 369 times
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Re: Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

Postby Mick Loney » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:04 pm

Teresa,
To my eye, Walter is not in the second photo. I’m not an expert on military uniforms, but I also think Walter is wearing ‘Hospital Blues’ (name self-expalantory :D ) not his regular uniform, so any comparisons with other photo may be a waste of time.
Searching for Hospital Blues, I came across a site with an explanation, along with a photo of an individual wearing it. Although Walter’s photo is Black and White, you can see the similarity.

See https://www.qaranc.co.uk/Army-Hospital- ... rm-WW1.php
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Re: Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

Postby smithalls » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:55 pm

Many thanks Mick
I wondered what sort of 'uniform' that was , will look it up now. unfortunately as he is the only one of the three that I have not found Army docs for I don't know anything about if/when he was injured etc.
Thank you again
Teresa
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Re: Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:20 am

The single photo is indeed Hospital Blues. (Should be a cue for a song).

The insignia on the arm - well, I can't remind myself just at the moment but the short bars that go up the sleeve are wound stripes - one per wound, though don't ask me to define how severe a wound has to be to merit one.

The wide inverted chevrons on the left lower sleeve are, I think, Good Conduct stripes. The alternative is that they are Overseas Service stripes but I think, possibly erroneously, that those are on the right sleeve and are much smaller and chunkier.

So none of those distinguish between regiments.

The chap on the right of the trio may have something else on his sleeve or it might be an artefact of looking at it on my phone.

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Re: Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:53 pm

AdrianB38 wrote:... The wide inverted chevrons on the left lower sleeve are, I think, Good Conduct stripes.

They are indeed Good Conduct Stripes, worn on a soldier's left sleeve. Apparently 2 stripes (as here) are earned after 6y service, so he's an old, long-term soldier.

Overseas Service stripes would be worn on the soldier's right sleeve and are smaller and chunkier.
Adrian
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Re: Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

Postby smithalls » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:32 pm

Many thanks Adrian for your replies, thats really helpful.
Interestingly Walter snr (who I thought was a chance could be the man on the right) on his attestation papers for question 7 does say he has previously served in his majesty's forces -in Essex regiment no.3355but I don't know any further details on that service at moment. Are those vertical strips under the 2 chevrons on his right arm also 'wound stripes' ?
After finding out that the single photo of Walter Jnr was wearing 'Hospital blues' I have been able to trace him in records and found that he was also in Essex Regiment 9thBattalion like his brother and had no.1701.I have found 2 reports of him being wounded and 'entitled to wear wound stripe' ( I didn't know what that meant at the time!) one in July 1916 and the other Aug 1917 .

I don't know if i'm any nearer to knowing if this is my great grandfather and other great uncle but I know more about them and what there uniforms signify now , so thank you.
Teresa
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Re: Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:50 am

"Are those vertical strips under the 2 chevrons on his right arm also 'wound stripes' ?"
They are indeed.

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Re: Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:18 pm

Just to get things in the right order, Walter Senior, joined the Regulars in March 1915 (looking at his Medical History, which is headed "To be used only for Special Reserve Recruits and for Special Reservists enlisting into the Regular Army")
Assuming the units are in time order, he was:
    (i) 13th Service Battalion, Essex Regiment, #18797
    (ii) Machine Gun Corps #30209
    (iii) Labour Corps 662375
So the Labour Corps is the last - which makes sense as people often ended up there when they were no longer fit for front-line service. This order is confirmed by some later documents showing the MGC entry lined through to be replaced by the LC entry. I think that the previous image before the Medical History also implies that he was in the 13th Essex then the 14th Essex.

The Attestation Form that is 2 images before the Medical History above shows he was previously in the 4th Essex, before attesting in March 1915, as Private 3355, and was time expired.

Not sure what the 4th Essex actually was. 4th Essex Bn of the Territorial Force? But that was formed in 1908 from the 1st Volunteer Bn, Essex. Or the earlier 4th Volunteer Bn, Essex? Which became the 7th Essex of the Territorials in 1908. Whatever it was, he served his time in it, and then joined the Special Reserve of the Essex - which is why his Medical History is headed "To be used only for Special Reserve Recruits and for Special Reservists enlisting into the Regular Army". The Special Reserve was similar to the Territorial Force - both were part-time volunteers. However, whereas the TF was originally intended to be only for the defence of the UK and would not serve overseas - which changed later - the SR was intended to supplement the Regulars overseas. In addition, TF units would serve as one unit, whereas the SR men were intended to be sent out individually wherever they were needed by their parent regiment.

I can't find a Walter Davis 3355 of the Essex, never mind a 4th Essex. There are soldiers numbered 3355 in the Essex Regiment - several of them, including a George Barker, b 1874 in the parish of Purleigh, near Maldon, but this illustrates that different battalions could have their own number sequence so each could (and apparently did) have a 3355. Without really knowing what Walter's 4th Essex was, I can't find any more about that earlier service.
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Re: Identifying WW1 soldiers and uniforms Essex regiment

Postby smithalls » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:42 pm

Thank you so much Adrian, yes that's helped me get things a lot clearer I hadn't found any thing more on Walters previous service either but have a lead to continue looking at now.

Just as an aside- Sure its coincidence but when you quoted one of the 'other' 3355 Essex Reg ,George Barker- Walter (1873) although born in Maldon workhouse, his mother (Mary Ann Parchment) and 'father' were from Purleigh.
I put father in 'quotes' as although registered as his father on his birth cert and always keeping and passing on the surname 'Davis' it seems likely that he was not his actual father, hence being born in workhouse where documents record him as illegitimate. His mother never lived with her husband John Davis again after this at least in subsequent census' and family word of mouth was also that John was not his father. However I don't know who his actual father was and have come to think that probably never will.

many thanks again Teresa
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