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Возможно ошибаюсь!

Слева направо: 2-й лейтенант (2 nd lieutenant ); ещё один 2-й лейтенант (2 nd lieutenant ); капитан (captain); полковник (colonel); майор (major); ???; майор (major)?

На заднем плане так же майор (major).


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Именно так.

"Miss May Cock,

101 Musley Hill,




А вот так этот дом выглядит в наши дни.

Андрей, спасибо большое за информативный ответ! :Laie_99:

Ещё один вопрос - цифры внизу - тиражность фотографии, или обычная практика фотографов для индивидуальных фото?

Такое зачастую встречается не только на британских фото, но и на немецких, например...

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Если я не ошибаюсь, то номерные обозначения наносились на негатив для удобства поиска пластины в случае последующего заказа. В учетную книгу фотограф вносил имя заказчика, наименование произведенных работ, стоимость и номер негатива. Негативы хранились в фотоателье, а при последующем обращении мастер мог легко найти по номеру стеклянную пластину и сделать с нее дополнительный отпечаток.

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Если я не ошибаюсь, то номерные обозначения наносились на негатив для удобства поиска пластины в случае последующего заказа. В учетную книгу фотограф вносил имя заказчика, наименование произведенных работ, стоимость и номер негатива. Негативы хранились в фотоателье, а при последующем обращении мастер мог легко найти по номеру стеклянную пластину и сделать с нее дополнительный отпечаток.

Андрей, спасибо! :LaieA_050:

Было такое предположение и у меня, но сомневался.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi Alexander,


Excellent photograph, showing Field (i.e. Colonels, Lieutenant-Colonels, Majors) and Company Officers (i.e. Captains and subalterns) in ‘Home Service Marching Order’, whilst on manoeuvres in the United Kingdom. This order of dress was worn for field-service, but was also, in peacetime, regulation for training, manoeuvres, marches, and inspections. The date range for this scene is 1904 to circa 1910, for reasons I will discuss below.


In this photograph we see the drab-coloured Officers’ Service Dress being worn, which had been introduced in February, 1902, and which, after this date, became the only uniform worn by Field and Company Officers when in ‘Home Service Marching Order’ (orders of dress in the British Army comprised both the uniform worn, and accoutrements carried, for specific functions: ‘Marching Order’ was prescribed for field-service and peacetime training, manoeuvres, marches, and inspections. For ‘Home Service’, i.e. in the United Kingdom and other temperate climates, ‘Service Dress’ was the drab serge uniform introduced in 1902; for ‘Foreign Service’, i.e. in hot climates abroad, ‘Service Dress’ was a lightweight ‘Khaki Drill’ version of the serge uniform1). The haversacks, water bottles and field-glasses carried by the officers in this photograph are accoutrements specifically indicating ‘Marching Order’.


As we see in the photograph, the 1902 Pattern Officers’ Service Dress Jacket had a high stand-and-fall collar (described in Dress Regulations as a ‘turn down [Prussian] collar’) under which was worn a white-linen detachable collar liner. The stiff, peaked, Officers’ Service Dress Cap2, introduced with the rest of the uniform in 1902, was a drab serge or cotton version of the coloured (usually dark-blue) Forage Cap worn in ‘Undress Order’. Here, all officers have hot weather neck-curtains attached.


With the introduction of Officer’s Service Dress, the rank insignia for Field and Company Officers was to be displayed on both cuffs. This was initially in the form of a novel, but confusing, arrangement of drab braid loops (‘crow’s-feet’ and ‘Austrian knots’) that departed from the established method (i.e. crowns and four-point stars) of indicating Field and Company Officer ranks. In November, 1902, the braid loops were abolished, and rank insignia worn on Service Dress returned to stars and crowns (2nd Lieutenant, one star; Lieutenant, two stars; Captain, three stars; Major, a crown; Lieutenant-Colonel, crown above a star; Colonel, crown above two stars), which were to be displayed on the flaps of false ‘slash’ cuffs3. Each three-point scalloped flap was edged with worsted chevron lace, with rings of worsted chevron lace also worn around the cuff, according to rank: subalterns, one ring; Captains, two rings; Majors and Lieutenant-Colonels, three rings; Colonels, four rings.


Your identification of the ranks in this photograph is perfect; however, for the officer second from the right, I think I can just make out a second cuff-ring, indicating a Captain, and the officer at far right could be either a Major or Lieutenant-Colonel).


When first introduced, the Officers’ Service Dress Jacket had been fitted with detachable, pointed, drab shoulder-straps, edged in arm-of-service colour. However, in the Dress Regulations of October, 1904, these were abolished for Field and Company Officers, being replaced by shoulder-cords, of plaited drab worsted braid. This gives us the earliest possible date for this photograph.


The halfpenny stamp of King Edward VII is correct (a halfpenny being the inland postage rate for a postcard throughout his reign), but the blue-green colour ceased being used at the end of November, 1904; however, of course, this stamp could have been used long after it ceased to be issued, especially as the postage rate for postcards remained the same. Therefore, it seems prudent to say that the latest date for the posting of this postcard, and therefore the latest date at which the scene was photographed, is 1910 (the year of death of King Edward VII). Moreover, the United Kingdom’s 1911 Census, held on 2nd April of that year, shows the address, 101 Musley Hill, in Ware, to be unoccupied.


If the postcard had been unstamped, the latest date for the photograph would have been 1912. In August of that year, a new pattern Officers’ Service Dress Jacket was introduced, having an open, step collar (to be worn with a drab flannel shirt and drab tie), and permanently-fixed shoulder straps. In addition, although serge remained the regulation material for the Officers’ Service Dress Jacket, it now became far more common for new pattern jackets to be tailored from finer material, such as whipcord, gabardine, or barathea. Although regulations stressed that jackets need not be replaced till worn out, new officers had to purchase the latest pattern, and most existing officers either bought the new pattern or had their tailors alter their existing jackets to conform with the new design. Nevertheless, at beginning of the Great War, the 1902 Pattern Service Dress Jacket was still occasionally encountered (albeit with collar-liners now made from drab flannel).


Unit insignia worn on the 1902 Pattern Officers’ Service Dress Jacket comprised bronzed regimental or corps cap-badge, and, for most but not all officers, bronzed regimental or corps collar-badges. The officers in the photograph all wear collar-badges, but these are too indistinct, as are the cap-badges, to identify unit. However, it seems that all the officers in the photograph, except for the Captain, third from left, are from the same unit, as (i) they appear to wear the same collar-badges, and (ii) carry the same pattern of water bottle (there was no regulation pattern of water bottle for officers, but a unit’s officers would all usually adopt, for the sake of uniformity, only one pattern); moreover, we can go further, and say this group are infantry officers, as the swords carried by the 2nd Lieutenant, far left, and Captain, second from right, have the unmistakeable hilt of the 1897 Pattern Infantry Officers’ Sword. Although also carried by the Corps of Royal Engineers, Army Ordnance Department, and Army Pay Department (but not carried by Rifle Regiments, nor by Company Officers of Highland and Lowland Scottish Infantry), we can instantly discount these officers being Army Ordnance Department or Army Pay Department; moreover, the cap- and collar-badges, although blurred, are not those of the Royal Engineers.


Another indication of these officers being from a dismounted unit, which would include infantry, is the leg- and foot-wear being worn, due to the fact that in dismounted units, Company Officers usually marched on foot, but Field Officers were all mounted. Thus we see the subalterns at far left wearing the drab serge ‘Breeches, Knickerbocker’, puttees, and brown leather ankle boots, all of which were regulation for dismounted officers, but the Colonel, and the Major third from the right, wearing the ‘Breeches, Bedford Cord’, brown leather leggings of the ‘Stohwasser’ pattern, and brown leather ankle boots and spurs, all of which were, at this period, regulation for all mounted officers. However, in the photograph we see the Major in background, and the Major or Lieutenant-Colonel on the far right, departing from regulation in being dressed for dismounted duties.


The Captain, third from left, is interesting, as a number of elements of his uniform make it obvious he is from a different unit to that of the officers around him (note also the water bottle of differing pattern), but which again are problematical in terms of precise identification. His cap-and collar-badges are distinct from those worn by the others in the photograph, his collar-badge being the grenade device used (with slight variations) by the Royal Horse Artillery, Royal Field Artillery, Royal Garrison Artillery, Corps of Royal Engineers, and the eight regiments of English, Welsh and Irish Fusiliers. However, none of the grenade badges worn by these regiments or corps match that worn by the Captain, and in any case, on the Officers’ Service Dress Jacket, all collar-badges should have been bronzed! He is wearing spurs, indicating mounted duties, but is wearing neither Bedford Cord breeches nor leggings (regulation for officers of mounted units, and for mounted officers of dismounted units), nor even Knickerbocker breeches; instead, he wears puttees and what appears to be a pair of dismounted Other Ranks’ serge trousers. The only Company Officers in infantry battalions who were mounted were the Adjutant (usually a Captain), and senior Captains acting as Double-Company Commanders in lieu of Majors (prior to 1913, British regular infantry battalions comprised 8 companies, tactically organised into 4 double-companies; in that year, infantry battalions of the Regular Army adopted a 4-Company structure). Another possibility (if he is an infantry officer) is that this mounted Captain holds the appointment of ‘Brigade Transport Officer’; for this an officer would be detached from his battalion to serve at Brigade Headquarters.


Also of interest in this photograph is the presence of a Colonel, wearing regimental insignia. In the British Army, infantry regimental rank stopped at Lieutenant-Colonel; thereafter, promotion to Colonel meant an appointment to command a Brigade (with the temporary rank of Brigadier-General), appointment as a Staff Officer (Headquarter, General, Administrative or Personal Staff), or appointment to any extra-regimental duties (such as commanding a Military District) the War Office saw fit. The only officer who would wear the rank insignia of a Colonel with regimental insignia would be the ‘Colonel of the Regiment’; this was an honorary appointment conferred, with the consent of The Monarch, upon a serving or retired General Officer, who in many cases had served with the Regiment earlier in his career, and who upon becoming ‘Colonel’ would make regular visits to ‘his’ Regiment.


Note also in the photograph that although all the officers are wearing the regulation, brown leather, ‘Sam Browne’ equipment, albeit in varying levels of completeness, not one officer here is carrying a pistol case.



1. In Dress Regulations, the word ’khaki’ referred to the light brownish-yellow colour of the ‘Khaki Drill’ uniform. ‘Drab’ was the term used for the darker, browner, shade adopted for the serge ‘Home Service’ Service Dress in 1902. In common use, ‘khaki’ was, and still is, used indiscriminately for both shades.

2. Field and Company Officers of Highland and Lowland Scottish infantry wore the Glengarry Cap.

3. Field and Company Officers of Highland and Lowland Scottish infantry wore rank insignia on ‘gauntlet’ cuffs.


The illustration below shows 'Home Service Marching Order’ being worn by the Lieutenant-Colonel, 2nd Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, circa 1905.


Edited by cmf
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Thanks Andrew, it was a pleasure, as usual!! :JC_doubleup:


It is an interesting photo, and it has got me very intrigued to find out to which units these officers belong . . . perhaps Alexander can supply some very high resolution scans of the cap and collar badges, and we can pin the answer down . . . ??!!

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Hi Chris!

Полностью присоединяюсь к мнению Андрея.

Thanks for such a brilliant detailed description of a photo!!! :JC_doubleup: :JC_ThankYou: :Laie_99:

Что касается фрагментов в более высоком разрешении. Я сделан максимальный скан, но к сожалению это ничего не прояснило. Оригинал фотографии не очень высокого качества.

Вот, что получилось...



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Привет Alexander!


Many thanks for originally posting the great photograph :good: - images of the army at home in the UK during the Edwardian period are always interesting, there was so much change going on in terms of uniform; and many thanks indeed for providing more scans of the officers' cap and collar badges! But, as you say, the original quality of the photo isn't the best, and the detail is still indistinct :scratch_one-s_head: . . . but never mind, I'll see if I can struggle on with an identification!! :d_book: :LaieA_032:

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Привет Alexander!


Many thanks for originally posting the great photograph :good: - images of the army at home in the UK during the Edwardian period are always interesting, there was so much change going on in terms of uniform; and many thanks indeed for providing more scans of the officers' cap and collar badges! But, as you say, the original quality of the photo isn't the best, and the detail is still indistinct :scratch_one-s_head: . . . but never mind, I'll see if I can struggle on with an identification!! :d_book: :LaieA_032:

Hi Chris! Спасибо большое! :Laie_99:
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  • 2 months later...

Рядовой артиллерии, с наплечным шнуром за призовую стрельбу. Фото сделано в Bournemouth, Dorset, England. 1930-е гг.


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Уважаемые коллеги прошу помочь?

На фото - матрос с Броненосного крейсера «Шеннон» (Shannon). Кто второй?


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  • 1 month later...

Hi Alexander,


An excellent set of photographs!


The first photograph can be dated to the early 1930s, but no later than 1935. It is of the Bandmaster of one of the two regular battalions of ‘The Northumberland Fusiliers’.


In the photograph, we see the dark-blue, knee-length, double-breasted, ‘Frock-Coat, Universal pattern’, which was worn by officers of most regiments and corps of the British Army before 1914 when in ‘No. 5 Dress - Undress Order’ (the exceptions being the officers of the Household Cavalry and Foot Guards, who had their own patterns of Frock-Coat; and officers of Rifle regiments, Scottish Highland regiments, and The West India Regiment, for whom the Frock-Coat was not prescribed). However, the ‘Frock-Coat, Universal pattern’ was also worn by the Bandmaster in each battalion of English, Welsh, Irish and Lowland Scottish line-infantry, light-infantry, and Fusiliers. ‘Bandmaster’ was a title of appointment for band N.C.O.s suitably qualified to assume leadership of a battalion band, with immediate promotion to the rank of ‘Warrant Officer’.


As an ‘Undress’ item, although permitted to be worn by an officer when on or off duty (and always with the peaked ‘Forage Cap’) the ‘Frock-Coat’ was not worn when parading with troops: on these occasions, an officer would wear the dress worn by the men, which after 1902 was limited to either the scarlet ‘Full Dress’ (worn in ‘No. 1 Dress – Review Order’) or khaki ‘Service Dress’ (worn in ‘No. 2 Dress – Marching Order’ and ‘No. 3 Dress – Drill Order’). The one exception to this rule was the Bandmaster. When conducting outdoors, if the band was in ‘Full Dress’, and therefore wearing the ‘Full Dress’ head-dress, the Bandmaster would be dressed likewise. If the band were playing in ‘Service Dress’, with ‘Service Dress Cap’, he would also be similarly dressed. However, battalion bands often performed indoors, or from bandstands, and when in ‘Full Dress’ on these occasions, bandsmen were authorised to wear their ‘Undress’ peaked ‘Forage Caps’, a combination usually only permitted for ‘Other Ranks’ when off-duty and ‘Walking-Out’. As the combination of ‘Full Dress’ and peaked ‘Forage Cap’ was non-regulation for battalion officers and Bandmasters, the only option for the Bandmaster on these occasions was to parade with the band wearing the ‘Frock-Coat’ and ‘Forage Cap’.


With the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, ‘Full Dress’ was withdrawn, and not re-introduced after, except for the ‘Household Cavalry’, ‘Foot Guards’, and army bands. The ‘Frock-Coat, Universal pattern’ too was not worn during the Great War, and was afterwards only re-introduced for officers of the rank of Colonel and above, and for ‘Directors of Music’ (the title for the leaders of large corps ‘Staff’ bands, who had been commissioned as officers) and Bandmasters. Thus, by this quirk of their bands still wearing ‘Full Dress’, during the 1920s and 1930s the only individual within English, Welsh, Irish and Lowland Scottish line-infantry, light-infantry, and Fusilier battalions who still wore the ‘Frock-Coat’ was the Bandmaster.


We can be quite specific in dating this photograph, to the early to mid 1930s, and no later than 1935. The Bandmaster here wears the ‘Forage Cap, Universal pattern’ as worn by line-infantry and Fusilier officers of ‘non-Royal’ regiments, i.e. those not having the distinction of ‘Royal’ or ‘King’s’ in their title. This cap was of dark-blue cloth, with band of black oak-leaf lace, and scarlet welt around the crown. However, in 1935, ‘The Northumberland Fusiliers’ were granted ‘Royal’ regimental status, their designation becoming ‘The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers’, and from that date year would wear the distinctive scarlet cap-band of ‘Royal’ regiments. The photograph also clearly shows the officers’ cap- and collar-badges of ‘The Northumberland Fusiliers’. The regimental badge on the ‘Forage-Cap’ was a fused grenade, in gilt or gilding-medal: on the ball was a silver-metal circlet inscribed ‘NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS’ (from 1937, ‘QUO FATE VOCANT’), inside which was St George and the Dragon, also in silver-metal. The collar-badges are gold-embroidered fused grenades, with St George and the Dragon in silver-metal. The officers’ ‘Full Dress’ sash, in crimson silk, was worn with the ‘Frock-Coat’. Bandmasters did not wear the insignia of their rank (which after 1914, was ‘Warrant Officer, Class I’), but only their badge of appointment, worn on the lower right sleeve as we see here: in gold embroidery, a Crown above a Lyre set upon a small Wreath of Oakleaves.


This ‘Warrant Officer, Class I’, is wearing the ribbon of either (the ribbon, crimson, edged white, being identical for both medals) the ‘Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal’, or ‘The Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military)’. The ‘Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal’, first introduced in 1830, was awarded to ‘Warrant Officers’, ‘Non-Commissioned Officers’, and Men, of the Regular Army who had completed 18 years (after 1870) exemplary service in the infantry or cavalry; it was replaced in 1930 by ‘The Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military)’, which although still only awarded to ‘Warrant Officers’, ‘Non-Commissioned Officers’, and Men, was now widened in eligibility to include exemplary service in all branches of the Regular Army, as well as in the Permanent Forces of the Dominions and Colonies of the British Empire. The fact that this Bandmaster is not wearing Great War medal ribbons, indicating that he did not serve overseas, suggests the earliest date for this photograph as being the first few years of the 1930s; this would then point to his medal ribbon being for ‘The Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military)’, and that he had joined the army as a boy bandsman (a boy could enlist as a bandsman, amongst other trades, at 14 years of age; however, during the Great War he would not be posted on active service till he was 19 years’ old, or in the final year of the war, 18 years).


That ‘The Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military)’ was for service in the Regular Army indicates that this ‘Warrant Officer’ must be the Bandmaster of one of the two regular battalions of ‘The Northumberland Fusiliers’: from 1930 the Bandmaster of the 1st Battalion was ‘Warrant Officer, Class I’ A. Hollick, and from 1932 that of the 2nd Battalion was ‘Warrant Officer, Class I’ J.L. Evans.


I’ve searched for details of the photographic studio, E.W. Gosman, but can find no trace. What is of interest to me is that the studio’s address in Newcastle is only a few streets away from where I lived as an undergraduate!


The photographs below show:


(i) Pre-1937 gilt and silver-metal badge worn on the Forage-Cap by officers of ‘The Northumberland Fusiliers’.


(ii) ‘The Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct (Military)’ (H.M. King George V issue, 1930-1936)


(iii) Bandmaster (Warrant Officer, Class I), ‘The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry’, Brighton, East Sussex, circa 1930s. This photograph shows to good effect the ‘Undress’ uniform of an infantry bandmaster, including the distinctive badge of appointment worn on the lower right sleeve. Regimental peculiarities are evident here, in that officers of ‘The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry’ did not wear collar-badges, but instead a buttoned loop of cord (on the ‘Frock-Coat’, this loop was dark-blue). Also, being ‘Light Infantry’ the crown of the ‘Forage-Cap’ is green instead of dark-blue, with green welt instead of scarlet.





Edited by cmf
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Turning to the photograph of the artilleryman and his lady-friend, for reasons we will discuss below, we can date it no earlier than 1933. The ‘Gunner’ (from 1933, ‘Gunner’ was the sole rank designation for ordinary soldiers of the artillery) wears the improved pattern of ‘Other Ranks’’ ‘Service Dress’ jacket introduced for parade and ‘walking-out’ purposes in 1924 (the older pattern, first introduced in 1902, was retained for manoeuvres and field service). The improved pattern was tailored with higher collar and tighter fit, and regimental or corps collar-badges were now authorised to be worn, those for the ‘Royal Artillery’ (fully, ‘The Royal Regiment of Artillery’) being a gilding-metal fused grenade with scroll underneath, inscribed ‘UBIQUE’. Disregarding for a moment the female fashion on display, which is very 1930s, there are two diagnostic details of the man’s uniform which by themselves indicate a 1930s date:


(i) The leather waistbelt. Between 1899 and 1924, ‘The Royal Regiment of Artillery’ was subdivided into three branches, which functioned as separate administrative corps: (1) the ‘Royal Horse Artillery ‘(R.H.A.) & ‘Royal Field Artillery’ (R.F.A.), comprising the artillery units supporting cavalry and infantry formations, respectively; (2) the ‘Royal Garrison Artillery’ (R.G.A.), comprising coastal defence, mountain, siege and heavy batteries; and (3), the ‘Royal Artillery’ (R.A.), comprising the troops serving with ammunition columns, plus the artillery clerks section (i.e. the administrative personnel tasked with the superintendence of ammunition dumps and supply). The R.H.A. and R.F.A. were classed as ‘Mounted Services’, and thus all their men were dressed as mounted troops, which included the 50-round brown leather bandolier (but no waistbelt) from the ‘Bandolier Equipment, Pattern 1903’. In the R.G.A., some units were classed as ‘Mounted Services’, others as ‘Dismounted Services’, although individuals who had to ride as part of their duties were always equipped as mounted soldiers. In the R.A., troops of the ammunition columns were classed as ‘Mounted Services’, but clerks were ‘Dismounted Services’. Artilleryman equipped as dismounted troops wore the brown leather waistbelt from the ‘Bandolier Equipment, Pattern 1903’.


However, this complexity had ended by 1923, from which date all units and men of the R.G.A. and R.A. were dressed and equipped as mounted troops. In 1924, the R.H.A., R.F.A, R.G.A. and R.A. were amalgamated back into one large corps, retaining the historic title of ‘The Royal Regiment of Artillery’. However, in 1929, the Royal Artillery withdrew the 50-round bandolier from service, and all troops were issued the leather waistbelt; however, in all other respects, they remained uniformed and equipped as mounted troops.


(ii) The un-plaited white lanyard. The cord lanyard was originally a functional item, blancoed white and worn plaited around the left shoulder to secure the 1905 pattern clasp knife, which was carried in the left breast pocket. Before 1914 the clasp knife was only on general issue to ‘Other Ranks’ of the ‘Mounted Services’ (which included the R.H.A. and R.F.A.), and those men from ‘Dismounted Services’ (such as the R.G.A.) who were on horseback. On mobilisation in 1914, the issue of the clasp knife, and thus the lanyard, was extended to all units of the British Army, whether mounted or dismounted. However, as an item habitually worn on uniform, the lanyard remained the most popular with mounted troops, especially artillerymen, to the extent that in 1920 all branches of ‘Royal Regiment of Artillery’ were ordered to switch wear of the lanyard to the right shoulder; this was to prevent interference with the bandolier worn over the left shoulder. In 1933, the lanyard was ordered to be left un-plaited, as we see worn by the artilleryman in the photograph; and the clasp knife, although still issued, was no longer to be worn attached to the lanyard. At no point during its use was the lanyard ever used to indicate excellence in shooting.


In conclusion, we can be sure that the photograph of the artilleryman must date to 1933 or after. In terms of the latest possible date for the photograph, 1940 is most probable; by this date, the majority of troops of the British Army had been issued the new ‘Battledress’ uniform in place of ‘Service Dress’. The only ‘Other Ranks’ after this date who continued to wear ‘Service Dress’ were those troops of the ‘Mounted Services’ still actually on horseback; however, this did not apply to the Royal Artillery, as all of its units had been mechanised by 1939. Moreover, we can also say that this artilleryman’s plain ‘R.A.’ (initialism for ‘Royal Artillery’) shoulder-titles indicate that he is a soldier of the Regular Army; and that he is not serving with the ‘Royal Horse Artillery’ (even after its reintegration into a single artillery corps in 1924, the R.H.A. maintained its own identity, and continued wearing the ‘R.H.A.’ shoulder-title).


Edited by cmf
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The third photograph is very interesting. It shows, as you say, a bluejacket of H.M.S. Shannon, together with a Corporal of one of the three regiments of ‘Household Cavalry’ (‘1st Life Guards’, ‘2nd Life Guards’, ‘Royal Horse Guards’), during the period when each of these regiments formed a battalion of the ‘6th, or Machine Gun, Regiment of Foot Guards’ (also officially designated the ‘Guards Machine Gun Regiment’). This therefore dates the photograph to the period May, 1918, to November, 1918.


In identifying the Corporal as a Household Cavalryman, and specifically of the ‘Guards Machine Gun Regiment’, there are three features of his ‘Service Dress’ uniform which lead to this definite conclusion: (i) rank insignia; (ii) cap-badge; and (iii) collar-badge.


(i) Rank insignia. The immediate identifier of this N.C.O. being a Household Cavalryman is the wearing of the crown above his Corporal’s two-bar chevron, a combination not seen in any regiment or corps other than the three regiments of Household Cavalry. The reason for this lies in the practice, beginning in the early years of the 19th century, of the N.C.O.s of certain cavalry regiments wearing special regimental arm badges on the upper sleeves, above their rank chevrons. In 1815, H.R.H. The Prince Regent granted the two regiments of ‘Life Guards’ the right to wear the crown as a special regimental badge, as a distinction for their gallantry at the Battle of Waterloo; it’s use was soon also extended to the ‘Royal Horse Guards’. It was worn by N.C.O.s of all three regiments, above their chevrons, but only in ‘Undress’ uniform (chevrons were not, and still are not, worn by N.C.O.s of the ‘Household Cavalry’ in ‘Full Dress’). A number of regiments of line cavalry also wore the crown as a special regimental arm badge; however, during the 1850s, when the use of the crown as a rank device had become established, the potential for confusion was recognised, and the use of regimental crowns above chevrons was therefore prohibited. However, due to their Guard status, the regiments of the ‘Household Cavalry’ were exempted from this prohibition, and to this day their N.C.O.s wear a unique combination of crowns and chevrons as rank insignia when in all uniforms other than ‘Full Dress’.


(ii) Cap-badge. Now we know this Corporal must be a Household Cavalryman, we can further confirm this by his ‘Service Dress’ cap-badge, which although indistinct in the photograph, matches the design common to all three regiments of the Household Cavalry, and introduced in 1913 for wear on the khaki ‘Service Dress’ cap. This badge was the Royal Cypher surrounded by a circlet and ensigned by the Tudor crown, the only difference between the three regiments being the title of the regiment inscribed on the circlet, thus: ‘FIRST LIFE GUARDS’, ‘SECOND LIFE GUARDS’, or ‘ROYAL HORSE GUARDS’. The badges were in gilding-metal (i.e. brass) but finished in a bronze colour: however, the 2nd Life Guards polished their badges to a bright finish. Unfortunately, because of the similarity of the three cap-badges, and the fact that this Corporal’s gilding-metal shoulder-titles are obscured (the ‘1st Life Guards’ wearing ‘1’ above ‘LG’; the ‘2nd Life Guards’ wearing ‘2’ above ‘LG’; and the ‘Royal Horse Guards’ wearing ‘RHG’), we cannot precisely identify this Corporal’s regiment.


(iii) Collar-badge. The fact that this Corporal of the ‘Household Cavalry’ is wearing collar-badges of crossed Vickers Mark I machine-guns, ensigned by the Tudor Crown, indicates that this photograph dates to the period May, 1918, to November, 1918, when the three regiments of ‘Household Cavalry’ served as battalions of the ‘6th, or Machine Gun, Regiment of Foot Guards’ (which also had the alternate official designation of the ‘Guards Machine Gun Regiment’). Within this new regiment the Household Cavalry formed ‘No. 1 (1st Life Guards) Battalion’, ‘No. 2 (2nd Life Guards) Battalion’, and ‘No. 3 (Royal Horse Guards) Battalion’. To understand why this occurred we must summarise the evolution of machine-gun units in the British Army during the Great War, and examine how the ‘Household Cavalry’ and ‘Foot Guards’ departed from this development.


In 1914, each battalion of regular and territorial infantry, and each regiment of regular cavalry or territorial Yeomanry, possessed a machine-gun section with two Vickers-Maxim machine-guns (the British Army’s new machine-gun, the Vickers Mark I, was only slowly being introduced into service). In addition, in November 1914, the ‘Motor Machine Gun Service’ (M.M.G.S.) was established (under the control of the Royal Field Artillery), which consisted of motorcycle and sidecar combinations mounted with machine-guns, which were formed into batteries attached to divisional artillery. In order to concentrate firepower in the hands of higher formations, the decision was taken in October 1915 to establish the new ‘Machine Gun Corps’ (M.G.C.), formed into infantry, cavalry and motor branches: within each infantry brigade, all the battalion machine-gun sections would transfer to the M.G.C., and combine to form a ‘Machine Gun Company’ (the battalions receiving Lewis light machine-guns in exchange); within a cavalry/Yeomanry brigade, regimental M.G. sections would re-badge as M.G.C., and amalgamate to form a ‘Machine Gun Squadron’ (the regiments receiving Hotchkiss light machine-guns in exchange); and the existing M.M.G.S. batteries were combined with armoured-cars to form ‘Motor Machine Gun Batteries’ of the M.G.C., attached to divisional, and later corps, headquarters.


However, as befitted their special status, neither the regiments of ‘Foot Guards’, nor the regiments of ‘Household Cavalry’, had their machine-gun sections transferred to the M.G.C. The Guards Division, composed of three Guards Brigades, each of four battalions of ‘Foot Guards’, united its machine-gun sections in September 1915 to form a machine-gun company for each brigade: these were designated the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ‘Guards Brigade Machine Gun Companies’. The ‘4th Guards Machine Gun Company’ was later raised in the United Kingdom, and joined the Guards Division in March 1917 as the divisional machine-gun company, i.e. under direct command of divisional headquarters. In the same month the four machine-gun companies in the Guards Division were collectively designated the ‘Machine Gun Guards’.


The three ‘Household Cavalry’ regiments were units of the 3rd Cavalry Division: the 1st and 2nd ‘Life Guards’ in 7th Cavalry Brigade, the ‘Royal Horse Guards’ briefly in 7th Cavalry Brigade, then 8th Cavalry Brigade, and from November 1917 again in 7th Cavalry Brigade. In February 1916 the machine-gun sections in each of these brigades were united to form the 7th and 8th ‘Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadrons’: however, unlike the line cavalry or Yeomanry machine-gun sections in each brigade, which had re-badged to M.G.C. on the formation of the machine-gun squadrons, the ‘Household Cavalry’ sections retained their regimental identity, and were only attached to the new machine-gun squadrons. In October 1916, this situation was simplified when personnel were transferred between the 7th and 8th Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadrons, leaving the ‘7th Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron’ a purely ‘Household Cavalry’ unit.


In early 1918, the pressing need for more machine-gun units in the field required the conversion of existing units to that rôle, and H.M. The King agreed to the radical move of converting the three regiments of ‘Household Cavalry’ to infantry machine-gun battalions of a new ‘Foot Guards’ regiment. Not only was there diminishing prospect of mounted combat on the Western Front, but the difficulty of finding adequate remounts had become acute, particularly for the six-feet-tall men of ‘The Life Guards’ and ‘Royal Horse Guards’. The men of the ‘Household Cavalry’ were considered to have the intelligence and discipline to quickly adapt to the technical requirements of machine-gun warfare. The existing ‘Machine Gun Guards’ would be incorporated into the new regiment as a battalion, although it would serve separately, remaining with the Guards Division. In preparation of this, February 1918 saw the ‘Machine Gun Guards’ reorganised as a tactical battalion, and the four companies brought together under the provisional designation ‘4th Battalion, Machine Gun Guards’. The ‘Household Cavalry’ and ‘7th Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron’ left the 3rd Cavalry Division in March 1918 for machine-gun training, and the following month the ‘7th Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron’ was disbanded, its personnel returning to their parent regiments.


In May 1918, the new machine-gun regiment was formally established by Royal Warrant, its title being the ‘6th, or Machine Gun, Regiment of Foot Guards’, or, alternately, the ‘Guards Machine Gun Regiment’ (Gds. M.G.R.). Of the new regiment’s five battalions, the three Household Cavalry regiments provided the ‘No. 1 (1st Life Guards) Battalion’, ‘No. 2 (2nd Life Guards) Battalion’, and ‘No. 3 (Royal Horse Guards) Battalion’; the ‘4th Battalion, Machine Gun Guards’ was re-titled ‘No. 4 (Foot Guards) Battalion’; and the ‘Guards Machine Gun Training Centre’ in England become ‘No. 5 (Reserve) Battalion’. The three ‘Household Cavalry’ battalions of the Gds. M.G.R. were motorised in lorries, and served as ‘Army Troops’ with the First Army for the remainder of the war, i.e. under the direct command of First Army Headquarters. In July 1918 No. 5 Battalion was disbanded, and in November 1918, immediately after the Armistice, Nos. 1, 2, and 3 Battalions were disbanded, and the three ‘Household Cavalry’ regiments re-established as mounted troops. No. 4 Battalionn was disbanded in January 1919. Despite this loss of manpower, the Gds. M.G.R. was nevertheless maintained at single-battalion strength until February 1920, when the unit was finally disbanded.


The gilding-metal collar-badges worn by this Corporal, of crossed Vickers Mark I machine-guns, ensigned by the Tudor Crown, were first introduced in 1916 for wear by 'Other Ranks' of the Machine Gun Companies of the Guards Brigades. It was a smaller version of the cap-badge worn by the ‘Machine Gun Corps’, and was intended to provide a distinctive insignia for men who otherwise wore the cap-badges and shoulder-titles of their parent regiments of ‘Foot Guards’. In 1917, additional to this collar-badge, all of the Machine Gun Companies of the Guards Brigades (now collectively titled the ‘Machine Gun Guards’) adopted a common cap-badge, and either metal shoulder-titles with the initialism ‘MGG’, or alternately, curved red-cloth titles with the words ‘MACHINE GUN GUARDS’ in white lettering, worn at the shoulder on both sleeves. The ‘Household Cavalry’ troops of the 7th and 8th ‘Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadrons’ wore simply the insignia of their parent regiments.


With the formation of the Gds. M.G.R. in 1918, a new regimental badge was introduced, to be worn with either metal shoulder-titles with the initialism ‘GMGR’, or curved red-cloth titles with the words ‘GUARDS MACHINE GUN REGIMENT’ in white lettering. However, in practice, this insignia was not worn until after the armistice: until disbandment, the ‘No. 4 (Foot Guards) Battalion’ persisted with the insignia of the ‘Machine Gun Guards’, and the three ‘Household Cavalry’ battalions continued to wear the insignia of the ‘1st Life Guards’, ‘2nd Life Guards’, or ‘Royal Horse Guards’. The only commonality of insignia across the Gds. M.G.R. was the collar-badge of crossed Vickers Mark I machine-guns, ensigned by the Tudor Crown, as already worn by the ‘Machine Gun Guards’ and ‘Guards Machine Gun Training Centre’: this badge was now also adopted by the three ‘Household Cavalry’ battalions, to indicate their current rôle as machine-gun units.


This collar-badge was one of the few officially authorised during the Great War for wear on ‘Service Dress’ by ‘Other Ranks’; and although it was indeed a smaller version of the cap-badge worn by the ‘Machine Gun Corps’, it was specifically ordered that this collar-badge was not to be worn by ‘Other Ranks’ of the ‘Machine Gun Corps’. However, photographic evidence does point to this order being sometimes ignored by men of the M.G.C. The officers of the ‘Machine Gun Companies of the Guards Brigades’/’Machine Gun Guards’ and later, of the five battalions of the Gds. M.G.R., wore the same bronze ‘Service Dress’ collar-badges as authorised for officers of the ‘Machine Gun Corps’.


At some point, ‘Machine Gun Corps’, has been written on the reverse of the postcard, in a mistaken attempt to identify the Corporal’s unit.


The sailor from H.M.S. Shannon is wearing the ‘square rig’ uniform prescribed for those ‘Petty Officers’ and Men dressed as seamen. Specifically, he is wearing the serge jumper with cuffs which was worn for ‘No. 1 Dress’, i.e. for inspections, musters, ceremonial occasions, and Sundays in Harbour. Insignia of ‘rate’ (i.e. rank) and good conduct chevrons were worn on the left upper sleeve, and speciality insignia on the upper right sleeve: on the serge jumper with cuffs, all badges were gold. The fact that this sailor has no speciality insignia on his upper right sleeve indicates he is of the lowest rating or rank, that of ‘Ordinary Seaman’. On his lower right sleeve, this bluejacket wears two blue ‘Sea Service Chevrons’: these chevrons were introduced in May 1918 to denote service at sea and overseas since August 1914 – a red chevron was awarded for service up to 31/12/1914, and blue chevrons for each calendar year thereafter (a sailor had to have a minimum of three months' aggregate overseas or sea service each year to qualify for a chevron).


The photographs below show:


(i) ‘Service Dress’ cap-badge for ‘Other Ranks’, 1st Life Guards, 1913-1922


(ii) ‘Service Dress’ cap-badge for ‘Other Ranks’, 2nd Life Guards, 1913-1922


(iii) ‘Service Dress’ cap-badge for ‘Other Ranks’, Royal Horse Guards, 1913-36


(iv) ‘Service Dress’ cap-badge for ‘Other Ranks’, ‘Machine Gun Guards’, 1917-1918


(v) ‘Service Dress’ cap-badge for ‘Other Ranks’, ‘Guards Machine Gun Regiment’, 1918-1920


(vi) ‘Service Dress’ collar-badge for ‘Other Ranks’, ‘Machine Gun Companies of the Guards Brigades’, then ‘Machine Gun Guards’, then ‘Guards Machine Gun Regiment’, 1916-1920


(vii) For comparison with the above collar badge: the ‘Service Dress’ cap-badge for ‘Other Ranks’ of the ‘Machine Gun Corps’, 1915-22


(viii) Corporals of 1st Life Guards prepare to leave Hyde Park Barracks for active service, 15.08.1914


(ix) Private, ‘Service Dress’, ‘Machine Gun Guards’, 1916-18. Note red-cloth titles with the words ‘MACHINE GUN GUARDS’ in white lettering, worn at the shoulder on both sleeves.


(x) For comparison with the above photograph: Private, ‘Service Dress’, ‘Machine Gun Corps’, circa 1916-1918. Note the absence of collar-badges, which were not authorised for the ‘Machine Gun Corps’.












Edited by cmf
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Hi Chris!

Chris, thank you so much! :JC_ThankYou: :Laie_99: :LaieA_050:

Мне очень нравится, что Вы так детально, в подробностях даёте ответ на вопрос.

Отдельное спасибо за Ваши знания по униформе Британской армии! :JC_doubleup:

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Спасибо, Александр! :JC_doubleup:


That was a good and interesting selection of photographs to comment upon, and I'm glad you like the detail! :ok:


I think the background story to any uniform is important, as it gives context to the image in the photograph, and answers those fundamental questions: why? where? when? . . . and it also reveals those quirks of history, like the complete conversion of the 'Household Cavalry' to machine-guns in the final months of the Great War! :smailikai_com_108:


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