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please can you identify & date 'my unknown soldiers' uniform

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please can you identify & date 'my unknown soldiers' uniform

Postby D Chadwick » Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:38 pm

Hello,
I have a photograph album which belonged to my maternal grandmother Rhoda Mason who lived in Surrey.
The 1st photograph in the album is one I call my 'unknown' soldier. Could anyone please identify the uniform and perhaps date the photograph? It was taken by Ward's photographers 421, King's Road, Chelsea, S.W.
Thank you very much
Dorothy
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D Chadwick
 
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Re: please can you identify & date 'my unknown soldiers' uniform

Postby lordreith » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:48 am

I am not sure this a soldier's uniform at all. The 'pillbox' cap would date the uniform to around the end of the 19c. & beginning of the 20c.
Under magnification I can make out a 7 on the cap badge and there appears to be another number. The large 'metallic' disc on his chest I have no idea but he does have a military looking medal next to it.
If this man was a soldier I would expect him to be carrying a swagger stick or riding crop, which were common studio props for posed photo's of 'other ranks' (officers would, of course, be holding a sword).
I believe this man was a postman or something similar or even, a policeman.
I might be totally wrong of course, in which case I apologise if I have destroyed your romantic vision of this stalwart individual.
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Re: please can you identify & date 'my unknown soldiers' uniform

Postby D Chadwick » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:14 pm

Thank you lordreith for taking the time to study my photograph and I appreciate your comments.
My initial thought was that he was bellboy - however the medals then led me to think he was perhaps a soldier because I know there were training barracks at Chelsea. I did wondered if he could be my grandfathers brother Harry Hayley born 1880 in Shropshire who was a full time soldier in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, but have been told on good authority it was not one of their uniforms.
Then there was my mothers step brother Tom Hayley who enlisted in one of the forces for WW1 but he wasn't born until 1899 - so your thoughts on the age of the photo make this very unlikely.
I have been searching the net to try and find similar hats without success - however under magnification I have found some faint lettering on the hat badge.
Although it is faint I think it says 'District' - then ME in the centre followed by either T or S before the flash takes it out. Underneath are the numbers 721.
Could he have been a messenger boy?
Your further thoughts would be very much appreciated.
regards
Dorothy
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Re: please can you identify & date 'my unknown soldiers' uniform

Postby snaphappy » Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:28 pm

Your "soldier" is in fact a District Messenger Boy and would have been employed by the then General Post Office so Lordreith was correct when he said that he thought that he could have been a postman or something similar. The photographer, Alfred Thomas Ward traded from the three area's shown between 1890 to 1906 (he in fact died in 1903 but the business carried on in his name). He had been trading in the Brixton Road Lambeth since at least 1879 as a photographer and between 1879 and 1890 had three different address I am taking my first date line of 1890 from his last address in the Brixton Road.
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Re: please can you identify & date 'my unknown soldiers' uniform

Postby charliehawkman » Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:30 pm

Actually, it's very hard to identify what kind of uniform is this. But I guess as they said he is something a soldier or maybe a policeman. Just keep researching on it. I know you can find what are you looking for. Good luck.
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