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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

SMLE

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  1. And just to answer my own question again; looks like the gun is a 3.7 inch QF Howitzer. They seem to have been used quite a lot in Palestine. Another a quote from the RUR history: "The work of patrolling the frontier was made very much easier by the timely arrival of "A" Squadron, 11th Hussars, and the Royal Navy in the form of three 3.7in. Howitzers, manned by personnel of H.M.S. "Repulse", H.M.S. "Malaya", and for a very short while by H.M.S. "Penelope"." I also attach a picture of some howitzers in action in Palestine. Interestingly it looks as if the barrel finishes just after the edge of my picture. Amazing what I have learnt from just one small photo that I have had for years but have obviously never looked closely enough at! Thanks all. Carl.
  2. Hello again. For those of you "really" interested in what the British Forces in Palestine wore between the wars here are a couple more pieces of corroborating evidence. The History of the RUR Vol III has the following to say about their columns into the desert after the Arab "armed gangs": "Hard tack rations were carried on the man, who was dressed in canvas overalls, with cardigan and waterproof sheet for use in cold or wet weather." That seems to tie in nicely with the dress of the men in side caps. Also please see the article attached from the Nottingham Evening Post of April 12th 1939 for more about the slouch hats. As for the gun, it seems to be too small for a 25 Pdr. More like the size of the 18 Pdr from WW1. It looks new in the photo, perhaps an updated version? I presume this sort of gun wouldn't normally be integral to an infantry battalion?
  3. Hello again. Looks like I have managed to solve this mystery. While searching for photos of the Royal Ulster Rifles in Palestine I came across the photos attached on a BBC website dedicated to WOII Billy Martin RUR and his wife Nellie. Billy served in the RUR from the end of WWI through to the end of WWII. In the 1930s he was in Palestine where the photos were taken. The captions are "Billy Martin circa 1938, went to France in WWII and came out via Dunkirk" and "General Wavell's Guard - at Mount Canaan, Billy Martin far left. Who are the others?" So it looks as if the RUR were wearing side caps with service dress in the 30s and given that the uniforms with slouch hats in my photo are exactly the same as the RUR members of Gen Wavell's Guard it seems that all of the troops with the field gun are British, possibly even all RUR. To be honest it was staring me in the face as in the smaller picture of my grandfather he is wearing the exact uniform , minus webbing, of the "Australians" in the other photo and now of Wavell's Guard, I just couldn't get past the fact that they must be "Australian". It looks as if the other troops in the field gun photo are wearing overalls over their service dress with side caps, so perhaps they were on some sort of working party hence the difference in dress? I suppose I will never know all the details but I'm happy now the photos are from Palestine 1937-39. Makes them even more interesting! So the next question is can anyone identify the gun, 25 Pdr? And would an infantry unit have something like this or would some of the men likely be artillery? Thanks again!
  4. Hello Odulf. I was aware the British also wore the slouch hat and did think perhaps they were not Australian troops but they look so Australian! So I suppose a more general question is did British forces in Palestine wear the slouch hat or side cap and could all these men be British? The cap badge is RUR and he was with the LIR in North Africa/Italy, he was with the RUR pre war and with the BEF in France. Most of the men also have the look of older regulars rather than the younger WWII conscripts. Thanks for your help. Carl.
  5. Hello Mervyn, thanks for the reply. I agree with you, and am 90% certain that they are Australian troops. The others are Royal Ulster Rifles which is the cap badge you can see. The reason for my question is that the RUR and the London Irish rifles, the two units my grandfather served with, were never in theatre at the same time as Australian troops during the war. The setting seems to be Middle East/North Africa and my grandfather was with the RUR in Palestine from 1937-39. So the circumstantial evidence seems to point to Palestine, I was hoping for something more to go on from members knowledge. Confirmation there were Australian troops in Palestine in the 1930s would be good. Also some information ref when side caps were first used may help as most pictures from Palestine do seem to show peaked caps. Ref the smaller picture. Although he was in Algeria and Tunisia during the war with the London Irish Rifles the LIR never wore the slouch hat and I don't think he would have got away with wearing it. So again thinking Palestine and wondering if anyone had any information ref British Forces headress in the area at the time. Thanks again. Carl.
  6. Hello all, My grandfather, Edward Byrne was in the Royal Ulster Rifles between 1933 and 1946. He was in Palestine before the war, with the BEF in France in 1940, then with the London Irish Rifles through North Africa and Italy. I have several photographs I have inherited and I know some are pre-war, I assumed one showing an artillery piece and Australian troops was during WWII. However having spoken recently with Richard via his excellent site on the Irish Brigade it seems that there were no Australian troops with the 1st Army and by the time the London Irish Rifles arrived in North Africa none with the 8th Army either. He also pointed out the RUR cap badge rather than LIR which I thought may be down to them being attached personnel but adding it all together it does now look as if this photo too is pre-war. The problem I have is that I can't find records of Australians in Palestine during the Arab Revolt, though I have photos of them in WW1 and WW2. Also the photos of British troops I can find show them wearing peaked SD caps, steel or pith helmets. So can anybody positively ID this photo as being taken in Palestine by the background or uniforms and confirm the presence of Australian troops? I have also attached another very fuzzy picture showing him wearing a slouch hat. Again this would not have been standard wear for any of his wartime service and I know that some Palestinian police units did adopt the slouch hat for it's comfort and idea if British infantry in Palestine did so? Many thanks.
  7. Just found this on a site ref service numbers that helps: So it looks like T/2.S.R/03154 means Special Reserve for 2nd Kitchener Army? I've found this ref the Special Reserve: So it looks like in 1914 my Great Grandad enlisted in the ASC Special Reserve for the 2nd Kitchener Army and the photo was taken during a period of training early in the war he was then mobilised into the King's Regiment at a later date and sent to France. Does that look right?
  8. Thank you Leigh. I always assumed that he was conscripted or volunteered later in the war but looking closely at the uniform etc it looks as if perhaps he joined earlier. I suppose he could have been in the ASC but as manpower got shorter he was either transferred or volunteered for the infantry and was then sent to France. So no star. The mix of volunteer badge, equipment and Long Lee rifle don't look like late war to me, but I'm no expert! I have seen photos of territorial battalions mobilised in 1914 armed with Long Lee Enfields. Perhaps the service number from the ASC is a clue. T/2.S.R/03154, the 03154 I presume is the regimental number but what about the T/2.S.R? Perhaps someone may have some info ref ASC unit designation and service numbers? Any help anyone can give would be much appreciated. Carl
  9. Thanks very much Stuart. I wonder if he was a pre war "territorial" as it's a volunteer badge. Did they continue issueing these to volunteers during the war? He's wearing 1908 pattern equipment and the rifle is not the SMLE. Looks like a Long Lee Enfield or Lee Metford. I don't know if they used them for training during WW1. Could this be a pre or very early war photo? His medal card only shows him entitled to War and Victory medals but the photo looks earlier than 1916 to me, perhaps he didn't go overseas until 1916 0r 17 and therefore he wasn't entitled to a star. I would be interested to hear from anyone with more knowledge than me! Thanks again. Carl
  10. Hello, Below is a photo of my Great Grandfather Private Victor Mark White ASC and Kings Liverpool Regt, died of wounds 25th Sept 1917 on the Somme. I think the photo shows him in ASC uniform and on his lower right arm I can see his marksman badge but below that there appears to be a diamond shaped badge I've never seen before. Could anybody help identify it for me? Here is a close up: Many thanks for your help. Carl
  11. Found one more. Wearing a slouch hat. Not very good quality. Italy? Did British troops wear slouch hats in the European theatre? The only other option is Palestine 1937.
  12. Thanks again Garth. Just got more of the story; apparantly he made the frame that the original picture stands in from cockpit plexiglass from the aircraft. The fact that he made the frame to display that particular picture I think shows he must have worked on it. Carl.
  13. Thanks Garth! So the family story is right, it was a secret prototype, the first British jet aircraft and one of only two ever built. Looking at the markings it seems to be initial prototype W4041 which is now in the science museum. I was there only the other week and didn't know. Apparently my wife's grandfather was a carpenter who worked on prototype aircraft during the war, I don't know if you'd need a carpenter for this one and if he worked on it or whether it was just a good chance for a photo. Any ideas, did they use wood at all? Thanks again. Carl
  14. Cont... The next one is a bit more interesting. I think it must have been taken in North Africa after he was attached to the 2nd London Irish Rifles. Seems to be an Australian artillery unit, twenty pounders? The British troops wear the side cap and I believe that the LIR wore the Caubeen, could these men be attached RUR men who kept the side caps I believe? I don't think it's pre war Palestine: Thanks for looking so far, I've got his pay book and roll call book with some interesting entries for North Africa which I will post if anyones interested. Carl
  15. Cont... I think this one must be late thirties looking at the uniforms. Perhaps on exercise somewhere. The rear says "with the signals section":
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