Author Topic: WWI - uniform identification/dating  (Read 558 times)

Offline JenClark

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WWI - uniform identification/dating
« on: Friday 30 November 18 04:34 GMT (UK) »
Hello All,

I am trying to sort out my relative's military career, and I was hoping that someone may be able to help me identify the attached uniforms?

My relative John George 'Jack' Rutherford's service during WWI is complex and confusing. I have not been able to find his service record, but what I have been able to confirm with records is below:

Jack was born on 22 Sept 1899 in Dundee

Jack enlisted 20 Oct 1915 at Kirkaldy as a trooper with the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry (Regimental No: 2874) - he was discharged the same day, due to being just 16 yrs old (he claimed to be 19!!)

His medal card (attached) shows that he re-enlisted and served as below:
Highland Light Infantry       57501       Private
Royal Scots                       59165       Private
Army Ordnance Corps       049349       Private

I know that this is my Jack (there are a few John George Rutherford's!) as in the 1918-1919 absentee voter list for Dundee, he is listed at his mother's address with his brothers. That list shows that he was in the 3rd Royal Scots as a private, with the Regimental Number of 59165.

From family folklore I have been told the following:

His son recalled that "He went straight from school into the Army – the Highland Light Infantry. He fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 but was shot and gassed and was invalided out. He recovered and went back in 1918 and stayed in the Army after the war as there were no jobs available. He ended up in Ireland putting down the rebellion."

His nephew recalled that "During WWI, my dad had to go to Perth to get the 14 or 15 year old Jack out of the Black Watch Regiment where he had volunteered, lying about his age"


Now, from the records I can see that it was actually the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry that he joined as a young teenager, not the Black Watch, and was discharged due to being 16 years old. So this story may have been exaggerated over the years.

What I would love to know is whether he tried enlisting in the Black Watch earlier than his escapade to Kirkaldy to join the Fife and Forfarshire Yeomanry in 1915. When I was given the attached photo, I was told it was Jack in the Black Watch uniform in 1914......can anyone confirm if it is Black Watch or Fife and Forfar Yeomanry?

I know that the Battle of the Somme was fought between 1 July and 18 November 1916 and that there were several battalions of the Highland Light Infantry present during the battle. So I would love to know if he served with the HLI during this time, or whether this story is not quite correct? Jack would still have been under 17yrs at the start of the battle....do you think he would have been allowed to enlist at that age?

I am not sure which uniform he is wearing in the second photo, I presume it was taken between 1916-1918. Is it Highland Light Infantry? Or Royal Scots?

I am presuming that he was with the 3rd Royal Scots till the end of WWI, then moved to the Army Ordinance Corps for the Irish Rebellion....would this be a reasonable assumption?


Any help sorting out this riddle would be appreciated  ;)


Jenny
 
Clark, Sommerlad, Bowden, Barrett, Griffey, Sayers, Bridge, Walters, Pollard, Capel, Dibble, James, Lingard, Mensforth, Watts, Rutherford, Stainton, Chatterton, Tubbs, Thompson, Fulton, Booth, Sellwood, Edwards, Pitcher, Creech, Johns, Phillips, Roberts, Keast, Tregonning, Mason, Lancefield, Ibberson, Green, Case, Cook, Dunham, Porter, Pope, Hall, Welsh, Hellefield, Warburton, Fletcher, Foster, Stiles, Tait, Nicoll, Sutherland, McIntyre, Cole, Neal, Ladlow, Bellamy, Castleton, Barker, Yuill

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Offline tonepad

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Re: WWI - uniform identification/dating
« Reply #1 on: Friday 30 November 18 07:14 GMT (UK) »
The cap badge and glengarry in the first photo looks like the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders:

https://www.emedals.com/a-first-war-argyll-and-sutherland-highlanders-glengarry-cap-gb4041


Tony
Aucock/Aukett~Kent/Sussex, Broadway~Oxfordshire, Danks~Warwickshire, Fenn~Kent/Norfolk, Goatham~Kent, Hunt~Kent, Parker~Middlesex/Gloucestershire, Sladden~Kent, Wright~Kent/Essex

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Offline JenClark

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Re: WWI - uniform identification/dating
« Reply #2 on: Friday 30 November 18 07:23 GMT (UK) »
Oh goodness Tony, it does look similar doesn't it!

If he is dressed in the uniform of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, that throws a spanner in the works  ::)

Interestingly, his uncle Lieut-Col Peter Strachan Nicoll was linked to these soldiers in WWI. From his obituary it states:

"With the launching of the Territorial scheme in 1908 he was appointed major of Dundee companies of the 5th Black Watch, and at the beginning of the 1914 war he was mobilised. He raised the 2/5th Black Watch, and afterwards was given command of a battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders."

I wonder if Jack tried to join his uncle's battalion? I would think this wouldn't be a smart move though, as his uncle would certainly have known he was significantly under age!!

Jenny
Clark, Sommerlad, Bowden, Barrett, Griffey, Sayers, Bridge, Walters, Pollard, Capel, Dibble, James, Lingard, Mensforth, Watts, Rutherford, Stainton, Chatterton, Tubbs, Thompson, Fulton, Booth, Sellwood, Edwards, Pitcher, Creech, Johns, Phillips, Roberts, Keast, Tregonning, Mason, Lancefield, Ibberson, Green, Case, Cook, Dunham, Porter, Pope, Hall, Welsh, Hellefield, Warburton, Fletcher, Foster, Stiles, Tait, Nicoll, Sutherland, McIntyre, Cole, Neal, Ladlow, Bellamy, Castleton, Barker, Yuill

Offline JenClark

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Re: WWI - uniform identification/dating
« Reply #3 on: Friday 30 November 18 07:54 GMT (UK) »
This is a photo of his uncle Peter Strachan Nicoll

I had a bit of a look on the site you referenced and he is definitely wearing the glengarry and cap badge of the Black Watch in this picture....so Jack is definitely not in Black Watch uniform...

https://www.emedals.com/wwi-black-watch-royal-highlanders-glengarry-cap-gb3290

Jenny
Clark, Sommerlad, Bowden, Barrett, Griffey, Sayers, Bridge, Walters, Pollard, Capel, Dibble, James, Lingard, Mensforth, Watts, Rutherford, Stainton, Chatterton, Tubbs, Thompson, Fulton, Booth, Sellwood, Edwards, Pitcher, Creech, Johns, Phillips, Roberts, Keast, Tregonning, Mason, Lancefield, Ibberson, Green, Case, Cook, Dunham, Porter, Pope, Hall, Welsh, Hellefield, Warburton, Fletcher, Foster, Stiles, Tait, Nicoll, Sutherland, McIntyre, Cole, Neal, Ladlow, Bellamy, Castleton, Barker, Yuill

Offline Jebber

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Re: WWI - uniform identification/dating
« Reply #4 on: Friday 30 November 18 09:10 GMT (UK) »
You mention that he stayed on after the war, if he was still in Army after 1920 his records will still be held by the MOD.

https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records
CHOULES All ,  COKER Harwich Essex & Rochester Kent 
COLE Gt. Oakley, & Lt. Oakley, Essex.
DUNCAN Kent
EVERITT Colchester,  Dovercourt & Harwich Essex
GULLIVER/GULLOFER Fifehead Magdalen Dorset
HORSCROFT Kent.
KING Sturminster Newton, Dorset. MONK Odiham Ham.
SCOTT Wrabness, Essex
WILKINS Stour Provost, Dorset.
WICKHAM All in North Essex.
WICKHAM Medway Towns, Kent from 1880
WICKHAM, Ipswich, Suffolk.

Offline whiteout7

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Re: WWI - uniform identification/dating
« Reply #5 on: Friday 30 November 18 09:11 GMT (UK) »
I don't think much research on underage Scottish soldiers in WW1 has been published online.

A book I am currently reading called "Anzac Girls" by Peter Ree's comments that the Australian and New Zealand nurses helped care for boy soldiers "baby jocks" (so wrong I know) that they knew were no older than 16 or 17 years by the time of the battle of the Somme.

Your man has no British Star, indicating they did not let him go into batttle between 1914-1915. Quite sensible I think! Sounds like his family may have prevented him going by reporting him.

By the time of the Somme underage boys from Britain were often getting away with lies about their age.

Very interesting that the medal card has no first theatre of war on it or a date of the first theatre of war. Not sure what this means. I think he wasn't at the Somme due to this but they did make a mess of records back then.







Wemyss/Crombie/Laing (West Wemyss)
Givens/Normand (Dysart)
Clark/Lister (Dysart)
Wilkinson/Simson (Kettle or Kettlehill)

Offline JenClark

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Re: WWI - uniform identification/dating
« Reply #6 on: Friday 30 November 18 10:00 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for your replies whiteout7 & Jebber

So, just to clarify....if my soldiers don't have a British Star Medal they were not in the military in 1914-1915?

I have attached the Medal Card for Jack's brother Bert Rutherford who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. I have not been able to obtain his service record either (I think most of the RAMC records were destroyed during WWII?) and am trying to sort out whether he enlisted in 1915 or 1916. He is missing the British Star as well, so does that mean he is more likely to have enlisted in 1916? There is no information in the 'first theatre of war' section for him either. I do know from the 1918-1919 Dundee Absentee Voter's list that by that time he was a private with the 2/2nd North Midland Field Ambulance, RAMC. 

As the Somme was mid-late 1916, it is still possible that Jack had enlisted and was in France with the Highland Light Infantry by this time. Yes, I suspect he would have been a 'baby jock' when he was wounded. To be honest I am surprised that he re-enlisted after being invalided out, considering what he would have seen, and at such a young age  :'(

One question I have been thinking about....is it strange that over the course of WWI he had 4 different regimental numbers? Does this mean that each record would be separate?

I looked at the MOD website, and it looks like I need a service number to apply for his record (if he was still in the Army in 1920)....would I use the last one, the one for the Army Ordinance Corps (#049349)?

Interestingly, the only service record I have been able to locate is for Jack and Bert's brother Jim Rutherford (my great grandfather) who served in the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force. He was not discharged until 1922....but his records were available. Well his RFC records anyway! He was a Private in the 3/3 Highland Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps from 17/5/1915 to 17/7/1916, prior to enlisting in the RFC. His medal card was not online, so I can't see if he has the British Star or not.....

Gosh these brothers are a challenge!

Jenny 
Clark, Sommerlad, Bowden, Barrett, Griffey, Sayers, Bridge, Walters, Pollard, Capel, Dibble, James, Lingard, Mensforth, Watts, Rutherford, Stainton, Chatterton, Tubbs, Thompson, Fulton, Booth, Sellwood, Edwards, Pitcher, Creech, Johns, Phillips, Roberts, Keast, Tregonning, Mason, Lancefield, Ibberson, Green, Case, Cook, Dunham, Porter, Pope, Hall, Welsh, Hellefield, Warburton, Fletcher, Foster, Stiles, Tait, Nicoll, Sutherland, McIntyre, Cole, Neal, Ladlow, Bellamy, Castleton, Barker, Yuill

Offline Jebber

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Re: WWI - uniform identification/dating
« Reply #7 on: Friday 30 November 18 10:32 GMT (UK) »
They would have to have been in action in that theatre of war to have the Star. For example, my grandfather a regular soldier didn't merit either of the Stars because he was serving in Africa.

The reason for the different numbers was because numbers were not standardised until after the war, they would have a different number for each Regiment they served in, that is why you can see more than one man with the same number but serving in different Regiments.

I would use the latest number for ordering records, but you don't need a number if you can provide a date of birth.
CHOULES All ,  COKER Harwich Essex & Rochester Kent 
COLE Gt. Oakley, & Lt. Oakley, Essex.
DUNCAN Kent
EVERITT Colchester,  Dovercourt & Harwich Essex
GULLIVER/GULLOFER Fifehead Magdalen Dorset
HORSCROFT Kent.
KING Sturminster Newton, Dorset. MONK Odiham Ham.
SCOTT Wrabness, Essex
WILKINS Stour Provost, Dorset.
WICKHAM All in North Essex.
WICKHAM Medway Towns, Kent from 1880
WICKHAM, Ipswich, Suffolk.

Offline tonepad

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Re: WWI - uniform identification/dating
« Reply #8 on: Friday 30 November 18 10:51 GMT (UK) »
"So, just to clarify....if my soldiers don't have a British Star Medal they were not in the military in 1914-1915?"

They did not enter a Theatre of War in 1914/15 (served overseas).
Could have enlisted in 1915 in a Reserve Battalion under training in the UK. Then sent to France in 1916.


Tony
Aucock/Aukett~Kent/Sussex, Broadway~Oxfordshire, Danks~Warwickshire, Fenn~Kent/Norfolk, Goatham~Kent, Hunt~Kent, Parker~Middlesex/Gloucestershire, Sladden~Kent, Wright~Kent/Essex