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Ulsterman

A Very,very, very old soldier

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This is a postcard I picked up last Summer at the local swap meet.

It was taken in late 1914 (?) and shows the kindly looking Srgnt. Michael Brophy in Canada (note cap badge). He is an acting Sergeant and obviously was pulled back in to train the vast number of new recruits that flooded into the recruiting offices after the call went out to defend the Empire.

The interesting thing is .............would he...DID he, qualify for the BWM as well?

Brophey served in the Crimea and was a hero at Sevastopol . Indeed, a quick google search shows he was a bit of a marksman and trench raider in 1855/56 and received the French Medal Militaire as a Lance Corporal.

Later he got the Fenian Raid medal and the "army/navy veterans' cross" (whatever that is).

Note he is also wearing an active service badge on his right pocket.

Imagine THAT group- with a BWM - in an auction....... :)

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Well, he certainly saw a lot. I found an intriguing reference to a Michael Brophey in the U.S. Civil War database............but with the British Fenian Raid medal it probably was not him. He began his career under officers who fought under Wellington and ended by teaching drill to soldiers who lived into our lifetimes........

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Crimea, French Military Medal and Sardinian, 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot.........Regimental medal and Canadian General Service medal "Fenian Raid"..........

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He would not have been serving per say, used more for recruiting, most ex serviceman can be allowed to wear a uniform if approved by the authorities.....hence the beard (by the way Pioneers are allowed beards and Jan Smuts seems to have got away with it)

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If he never left Canada no BWM......

The funny thing is I have a soldier who served for over 30 years in the Canadian Regular Army (Artillery) and since he was over the age of 50 they said he was to old for service in WW1 when he tried to enlist in 1915......

Mike

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He would not have been serving per say, used more for recruiting, most ex serviceman can be allowed to wear a uniform if approved by the authorities.....hence the beard (by the way Pioneers are allowed beards and Jan Smuts seems to have got away with it)

Those of the Sikh religion don't cut their hair or shave either. Wish I'd thought of converting when I was in.

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Here's a bit more biographical information on Michael Brophy from a report in The Globe [Toronto], Oct. 14, 1903; a similar but slightly longer account appeared in the Toronto Daily Star, Oct. 13, 1903, p7:

Fifty-three years ago Catherine Brophy left her home in Kilkenny, Ireland, and came to Canada. Three years later her brother Michael joined the army, went to the Crimea and secured several medals. Thirty-three years ago he arrived here and established his home. In 1890 he secured a situation as gardener at Loretto Abbey, on Wellington Place, and has since been constantly employed. While he was talking with one of the sisters a few days ago she remembered that one of the members of the community was named Brophy. Michael thought of his sister, whom he had not heard of for 53 years, and then, out of curiosity consulted the community files. The record of Catherine Brophy who entered Loretto Convent 48 years ago and assumed the name of Sister Borgia, confirmed his impression that she was his sister. Sister Borgia was communicated with in Guelph [ON.] and the reunion took place on Sunday. Sister Borgia is ill at present, and on her recovery will come here to visit Mrs. Brophy, who conducts a small grocery store at 430 Queen street east [Toronto]

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Brophy lived a hard life when he was younger...from the famine to the Crimea.

thanks for the additional info. mr. Otto. Do you have more you can post?

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Another photograph in which Michael Brophy appears was taken at the dedication on July 1, 1902, of the base of a monument in Victoria Memorial Square, Niagara Street at Portland, Toronto. The square is the site of the city's first military burying ground, opened in 1794 and closed in 1861. An estmated 400-500 people are buried there. Today it is a local park and forms part of the Fort York National Historic Site.

For several years a shortage of funds delayed this project sponsored by the Army & Navy Veterans Association, many of whose members appeared in the picture. <http://www.wellingtonplace.org/history/monument.php>. As completed in 1907, the base was surmounted by a sculpted bust of 'The Old Soldier' by Walter Allward who has a special place among Canada's artists as the designer of the great monument to Canadian casualties at Vimy Ridge, France, in April, 1917.

Brophy is in the front row, second from the right, wearing a peaked cap. He's showing only four of his five medals, all of them British honours. (Thanks, Ulsterman!) The reason for this is not known, or the fifth may be hidden from view. Others present that day boast an interesting assortment of decorations too. There were at least eight other Crimean veterans, besides Brophy, living in Toronto in 1902: Sgt. Charles Jenkins, Coldstream Guards, (Inkerman, Sebastopol); James Titherington (Crimea, Indian Mutiny, Chinese War); James C. Emaney (Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman); George Peck (Crimea and India); Martin Crowe, 4th Infantry Regiment (Sebastopol); Robert Sully, 19th Regiment (Alma, Inkerman Sebastopol); Staff Sgt. Michael McNeill, Royal Grenadiers (Crimea); William Dyson, 30th Regt. of Foot (Inkerman, Sebastopol); and Charles D. Wilson (Alma, Sebastopol, Cawnpore, Lucknow). The original of the photograph is held by Library & Archives Canada, (PA-138519)

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I think Eamaney must be the chap over by the Rev. Hes clearly wearing a Crimea medal with 3/4 claps. Interesting flag too.

Edited by Ulsterman

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I told Stephen in a private conversation that the members would leap to the challenge of identifying the various veterans in the photo. Well done, Ulsterman!

I am assuming that the cross Brophy wears next to the Fenian Raid Medal is some sort of shooting award, as that 'iron cross' configuration seems to have been popular for both military and civilian shooting awards on both sides of the Atlantic. Anyone else have thoughts on that?

Edited by peter monahan

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The flag or banner seen in the photo was given to the Army and Navy Veterans Association by Queen Victoria on her Diamond Jubilee [1897]. According to The Globe [Toronto], Dec. 2, 1916, p9, It bore the names of campaigns from Navarino to the Crimea, Baltic, Indian Mutiny, Abyssinia, Burma, Canada (Fenian Raids), South Africa (three campaigns), Afghanistan, Punjaub (sic), New Zealand, Ashanti, Egypt (two campaigns) and the northwest frontier campaign of Chitral. Its present whereabouts are unknown.

Continuing the list of Crimean veterans living in Toronto in 1902 (who in theory could have been in the photo) please add: Frederick Nibbs, British Navy (Sebastopol); Capt. Charles Gesner, 66th Regiment; William Sumbling, 85th Regiment of Foot (Alma, Redan, Indian Mutiny); George Jenkins, (crimea, Indian Mutiny); James R. Brown, 71st Highland Light Infantry; Sergt. Thomas Tyler, 30th Cambridgeshire Regt. (Alma, Inkerman, Sebastopol); Sgt.-Major William D'Arcy, 47th Regiment (Balaclava, Alma, Inkerman).

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Here is another photograph of the flag to which Stephen refers above, which was of course in the previous photograph as well.

Edited by peter monahan

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To correct the information I provided on 19 December (above), the flag wasn't given by Queen Victoria. While the words "Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flag" were embroidered on it, further research has shown that money to purchase the banner was given by officers in the different regiments to which the members of the Army and Navy Veterans' Association belonged. (The Globe [Toronto], July 19, 1898, ibid., p8; Aug. 1, 1898,p6) Made in London, England, at a cost of ₤45 (and $12 more for shipping). the flag was presented by Lady Kirkpatrick to the Association at a ceremony on July 30, 1898, in Queen's Park, Toronto.

The photograph in Peter Monahan's post of 20 December shows it being deposited for safe-keeping in St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church ('The Garrison Church'), Portland Street, Toronto on Nov. 21, 1922, Until the church was demolished in 1963 it stood directly across the street from Victoria Memorial Square where the cornerstone-laying ceremony in the picture I posted on 17 December took place.

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In an effort to shake out more information on Brophy a search of the archives of the Toronto Star was requested, which produced nothing more than the several 'hits' found already through Proquest that operates the electronic search function for past issues. The newspaper's librarian, however, was kind enough to send along pdfs of two pages where Brophy's picture and some related text appears. Normally a subscription is needed to obtain pages in a format that can be printed out. As a bonus, people may be interested in the extent to which Canada was immersed in the Great War which permeated the pages of the newspapers then.

Brophy December 2, 2016.pdf

Brophy February 22 1919.pdf

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