Author Topic: Possible member of 20th Battalion 5th - Can anyone help with this photo please?  (Read 112 times)

Offline H P B Corlett

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Dear Manchester Regiment Forum,
I am seeking help in confirming which regiment my grandfather served in during the Great War. The only evidence I have is this photograph, which is on magazine-style paper. He is James Hooper, and is on this groupd picture in the centre of the back row, looking typically unassuming.

I thought his cap badge looks like Manchester Regiment, and I have found a J Hooper (17657) on forces-war-records who shows as in 20th (Service) Battalion (5th City) Manchester Regiment, 91st Infantry Brigade. This is plausible: I note that these battalions were “raised by the Mayor and Industrialists of the City of Manchester from the clerks and warehousemen of the city” – my grandfather came from the area and would probably have worked as an accountant in Manchester or Stockport at this time.
 
I would love to add his picture to livesofthefirstworldwar, but would hate to attribute it to the wrong J Hooper. (I note the deadline for that is looming – Monday!)

Unfortunately J Hooper is listed as not present on his Platoon’s photograph. I can see somebody on the supplementary photo who might possibly be him, but that could be wishful thinking.

If anybody in the Manchester Regiment community has a view on my tentative Manchester Regiment attribution, or any insight on this photograph, I would be really interested to hear. [I'm struggling to upload the full picture, so am trying with a compressed version, then a close up of the faces.]
Many thanks.
H Corlett

Offline charlie

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Hello and welcome to the forum.
There is a service record for 17657 James Hooper which records that he was discharged to commission in the Machine Gun Corps on 09.10.1918. It also records that he was a costing clerk, born 1883 and his NoK were his parents James and Elizabeth Hooper of 2 Grange St, Bradford, Manchester.

The photo you have posted suggests that 17657 is your Grandfather but not while he was serving with the 20th Bn. The persons in the photo are a General Officer, a Staff Officer, an officer of the North Staffordshire Regt and a Sgt of the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regt. The cap badge worn by your Grandfather and the soldier to his right in the photo does look, at first glance, similar to the Manchesters cap badge but the scroll at the bottom is too straight and the central emblem looks to be backed by crossed flags. At a guess could be an Officer Cadet Battalion cap badge or it could be Manchesters which has been distorted in the photo. Your Grandfather looks to be wearing a 2/Lt‘s pip on his left shoulder, could the photo be when he and the others received their commissions?

Charlie
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 06:05:55 AM by charlie »

Offline H P B Corlett

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Thank you so much for that, Charlie. It’s really helped me piece things together. I’ve found my grandfather at last!

The background details (parents, place, occupation) all fit, and his parents are shown as living in Bradford, Manchester in the 1911 census. The only thing that doesn’t align is that I believe he was born in 1893: 1883 could perhaps be a transcription error (I’ve seen some loopy 9s that can look like 8s??). 

Anyway, I’m confident this is he, thanks to you, and I’m in awe of your expertise in badges! James Hooper 17657 is shown as a Second Lieutenant in the Machine Gun Corps after his Manchester Regiment service, so your suggestion that this could be a commission photograph makes sense.
Thank you once again for your time and swift response.
Helen

Offline charlie

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Helen,
My mistake, he was born 1893 and not 1883.

Charlie

Offline mack

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I might be wrong,but I think this photo may have been taken in early 1915,pte hooper is still wearing his tram drivers type tunic and the tunics of the sgt and both ptes are the pre 1916 type[they still have pleated breast pockets]if this was a 1918 have pleats.
photo its unlikely they would still

mack

Offline charlie

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Mack,
The only thing that made me think the photo dated from 1918/19 are the people in it. It can‘t have been an everyday occurence to have a General, a GSO3, another Officer, a Sgt and two Ptes posing for a formal photo.

Charlie

Offline mack

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Mack,
The only thing that made me think the photo dated from 1918/19 are the people in it. It can‘t have been an everyday occurence to have a General, a GSO3, another Officer, a Sgt and two Ptes posing for a formal photo.

Charlie
your right Charlie,it wasn't a everyday thing,but it was in 1915 when there was a lot of hype about the raising of the pals battalions,the background in that picture looks an aweful lot like heaton park.

mack

Offline Tim Bell

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I also wondered about the Tram Guards uniform in 1914, but the cap is khaki, so more likley 1915. 
It may be wishful thinking, but I'm pretty sure I can see the older Staff Officer in the 20th Bttn Officers photo. Possibly the other senior officer too http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php?topic=4686.0
I'd suspect one of these two was Lt Col A J Arnold DSO.
As 20th Bttn trained in Morecambe, I'd thought their platoon photos were taken there. They probably went to Heaton Park in March 1915, but I think they would have had khaki uniforms then. I also feel I recognise that barbed wire fence though.
Good puzzle...
Tim
Following one Platoon and everything around them....
http://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/about/

Offline mack

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tim.non of the officers are from the manchesters
with regards to uniforms,when all the pals battalions arrived together at heaton park,the vast majority were still in their civvies,the issueing of the blue uniforms were completed by January 1915,they began issueing khaki uniforms in February 1915 and on 21st march they were issued with their leather equipment,the general consensus says the platoon photos were taken in the first weeks of april,the 20th battalion moved to Morecombe soon after then moved to grantham on 10th august.

mack

Offline mack

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could the general officer be brigadier francis james kempster,i cant find a photo to compare.CO of 91st brigade

mack