One of the advantages and joys of running this blog is that from time to time I get amazing pictures sent to me. This picture is a prime example of this, sent to my by Dan Jackson (@northumbriana) on Twitter.
It shows the officers of the 2nd battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment in India 1908.
(With all pictures please click on them for a large view)
This is one of the best pictures I have seen of British officers from the Victorian period, each face tells a story. As an added bonus it also listed the name and rank of each man, now this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss so I decided to find out what I could about each man.
My first port of call was the 1911 census (1). I found the The North Staffordshire Regiment stationed in Peshawar India. Eleven of the officers were still with the regiment. This now gave me there ages, year of birth and where they were born.
The Great War
My next area of research was the Great war (2), being that the picture was taken only six years before the start of the war it seemed a given that most of them would’ve seen service in the conflict.
A quick look at the history of the 2nd battalion showed that it spent the duration of the war on the North West Frontier in India. It seemed sensible to assume that losses on the Western front and the ambition of some officers would’ve of driven some of these men to transfer to units in the thick of the fighting.
Looking on the Commonwealth War Graves website (3) I found out that six of the men pictured above perished during the War.
Being officers, three of them are included in the De Ruvigny’s Roll of honour (4). This is a detailed biography of over 26,000 soldiers of all ranks who died fighting for their country. The records include more than 7,000 pictures of those men featured.
A quick search of the National Archives website (5) found the record of Officers sevice book 83. This book from 1907 shows the service record of all officers attached to the 2nd Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment for that year.
This invaluable record has been digitalized so I could search it without leaving the comforts of home. Obviously this record is from five years before the picture was taken so some men are missing or of a different rank.
It gives information on the men’s DOB, Place of Birth, height, languages spoken and qualifications. On page two their service up to 1907 is detailed and any medals and honours awarded.
All of this information adds a personality to the men pictured and a great picture gets an added dimension when you add this to it.
Part Two to Follow soon
(1) & (4) Findmypast.co.uk
(3) Commonwealth War Graves Commision