Story from a Photograph – (Un)known Soldier 3
Unknown Soldier 3
No information on the following photograph, other than that it was part of the estate of Harold Stewart and purchased at the same time as the photograph of Gordon Dewar.
Cardboard 9″x 6″ (rounded corners) and the photograph itself measures
5.5″ x 4″ with embossed frame border and leaves around the picture.
There was no other information regarding Ed. Sharp, only one other photograph with the same studio mark on the following site:
The children of William and Eliza Hall
This address is in London, England, almost on the corner of Westminster Bridge Street and Kensington Street. It is no longer a photography studio, but a restaurant and inn called “Horse & Ranch”.
This information will not help us to identify the person in this photograph.
This soldier is wearing a
WW1 British Army Soldiers Tunic/Service Dress – British Uniform, Pattern 2.
2 chest pockets box pleated, with straight cut flaps secured by a button.
2 lower skirt (hip) pockets with flap and a button.
5 General Service buttons
He is wearing a leather belt.
Stand and fall collar. This was often tailored by Canadians, however, by the addition of hooks and eyes that closed the front of the collar, giving the appearance of a Canadian stand up collar.
This jacket had “rifle patches” on the shoulders above the chest pockets , which consisted of an extra layer of wool which resisted the wearing out of the shoulders due to field chafing from the field equipment.
Checking with “The “British & Commonwealth Military Badge Forum” – page 3 – there were not too many possibilities.
These were the closest matches:
The left is a General Service Cap Badge worn by the Canadian Field Artillery, the right is a Canada CEF General Service collar badge.
Shoulder straps were originally designed to keep backpacks, ammunition pouches or bayonets from slipping off the shoulder. They often displayed badges of rank, shoulder marks and regimental insignia.
This one is fastened by one button. There is a badge on the strap – very possible – C.F.A. (Canadian Field Artillery)
Pre WW1, lanyards were used by the Gunners to hold a fuze key for setting time fuses and also for all mounted troops to keep the clasp knife handy (hooves, horses, stones for the removing of).
On WW1 mobilisation all soldiers, infantry included, were issued with a lanyard for the clasp knife.
Lanyards were worn by officers so that they may suspend a whistle, compass, or other similar item in a practical way, attached to the shoulder via the lanyard and closed within a pocket; this would ensure that the item would not be lost if dropped. Lanyards were often of a regimental pattern, ensuring that the colouring remained continuous throughout the unit. On active service such lanyards were often a standard khaki
The Good Conduct Chevrons were worn on the left sleeve of the Service Dress uniform, with each 1-bar chevron representing two years of service.
Good Conduct Chevrons
It granted a pay bonus as a sort of “carrot” to get non-promotable enlisted men to behave. As the “stick”, a stripe would be removed for an infraction (a write-up in the Regimental Conduct Book) and a Court Martial would forfeit all of them. The soldier would then have to start from the last stripe earned and work his way up again
Carrying a swagger stick, and wearing a ring, almost looks like a signet ring, on his right hand.
A swagger stick was a short stick or riding crop usually carried by a uniformed person as a symbol of authority. Swagger sticks were carried by all other ranks when off duty, as part of their walking out uniform
Boots and puttees, which were strips of cloth that were worn wrapped around the lower leg in a spiral pattern, from the ankle up to below the knee. They provided ankle support and prevented debris and water from entering the boots or pants.
The oval of leather covering his laces indicates that he is wearing spurs.
Now that we had “dissected” the photograph and the uniform, we came to the following conclusions.
– Since we purchased this photograph On Prince Edward Island with 2 other photographs of Island soldiers, we can somewhat assume that this soldier was also from PEI.
– Because his picture was part of the estate of Dr. Harold Stewart we can assume that this soldier is somehow related to Dr. Harold Stewart or his wife Margaret Stewart (McLure).
– This soldier was at one point in England to get his picture taken, which is nothing out of the ordinary, since all Canadian troops were all shipped to England first. And if they had an extended leave, they’d most likely go back to England too.
– The fact that he is wearing a “Good Conduct Chevron” (1 bar) on his left sleeve would suggest that he has been serving in the army for at least 2 years.
– There is a high possibility he was a member of the C.F.A. (Canadian Field Artillery)
– Because we did not have enough information to find this soldier’s identity, we started to research from the other side. We decided to find out how many member of Harold Stewart’s and Margaret McLure’s family were enlisted during WW1, and which of these, if any, would meet our search criteria.
We started this search at Ancetry.ca
There were many young men that set out to England and to the front to fight for freedom – many never came back, the ones that came back were never the same.
Many of Margaret’s McClure’s and Harold Stewart’s family went, many second and third cousins.
We only named the closest relatives here.
… and so the search continues:2
Margaret McLure's family
Father: Chester Gavin McLure – b. Feb. 15, 1899 – Aug. 31, 1979
Mother: Agnes Loretta Llewellin – b. Oct. 23, 1901 – May 9, 1993
(John) Charles McLure (brother of William David McLure (soldier 2) brother of Chester McLure, uncle of Margaret McLure, born Dec. 11, 1895 in Murray Harbor, PEI.
Enlisted: May 27, 1918 in Charlottetown
Almost 23, 5’5″, 133 lbs., carpenter by trade
Rank: Private; No. 3204459
1st Dpo Bn. N.S. Regiment (102nd Draft)
Arr. in England Aug. 15, 1918
C.A.M.C. – Canadian Army Medical Corps
Theater of War – England, Canada
Discharged: Aug. 28, 1919 (Demobilization)
He died in 1966
The 1st Depot Battalion, Nova Scotia Regiment with headquarters at Halifax was authorized as a training and administration depot under General Order
57 April 15th 1918.
Harold Clarence Stewart's family:
Father: Carl Sinclair Stewart (4 Oct 1902 – 23 feb 1973)
Mother: Florence Evelyn Dewar (12 dec 1903-26 apr 1987)
First we have William Weston Dewar (Dr. Harold Stewart’s uncle) Not only was he the brother of Florence Dewar Stewart, he was also the father of Gordon Albert Dewar, our first soldier who was killed in action in 1944.
He was born in Brudenell, PEI – Sept. 17, 1892, the son of Albert James Dewar and Levinia Catherine MacDonald.
William W. enlisted in Fredericton NB – on Dec. 21, 1914 into the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (CEF) – service number: 85939
(with him was his friend and neighbour Beacher Dewar (according to the 1901 Canada Census he lived 2 doors down, even though they had the same last name, so far we could not establish family connection . Beacher, who’s service number was 85940 – was not the only one of his family at the front in France. 3 brothers and one brother-in-law were also there, fighting for freedom. )
William W. (21) a farmer by trade, was 5’6″, 140lbs and declared fit for service.
He was transferred to the 24th Battery, 6th Brigade, CFA (Canadian Field Artillery) with an assigned pay of $20 a month. His rank was “Gunner” and often his rank is marked as “Driver”. According to the papers he transferred to the
9th Battery, 3rd Brigade overseas and served in France and Belgium for 3 years.
He was slightly wounded, was hospitalized a few times, mainly with rheumatism and some other contractible disease, which was quite common in those days of war. He received a “War Service Badge” Class ‘A’ – No. 146843
Officially discharged (demobilization) on April 11, 1919.
(information from Fold3)
Ancestry.ca is a great tool for me to plant my family tree online, but the best part is that you get to see other people’s family tree (depending on settings) As I was browsing and researching these soldier’s lives I stumbled upon William Weston’s picture (photos that were originally shared by Kerry White).
I did contact Kerry White via Ancetry.ca, and she was quick to respond:
“I can’t really confirm that this is Wm Dewar but the facial structure etc looks very like pictures I have when he was older.
I have, however, forwarded all your info & pictures to Preston MacDonald who was married to Wm’s son, Ken’s wife, Thelma. He would have known Wm and I hope he can confirm the identity of the soldier in your photo.
I will let you know when I hear back from him”.
Next we have William Weston Dewar’s brother Elvin Albert Dewar (Dr. Harold Stewart’s uncle) born Feb. 9th, 1892 in Brudenell, PEI.
Elvin (25), by trade a locomotive engineer, enlisted Feb. 14, 1917 in Regina, Saskatchewan. He was 5’9″, 194lbs. service number: 2188406; Rank: Sapper
He joined the Sask. Railway Construction Co. CEF, overseas.
He served with the C.R.T. (Canadian Railway Troops) in France and Belgium.
He left Canada Feb. 16, 1917, arrived in Liverpool Feb. 26, and on March 18, was transferred to Purfleet, the C.R.T Depot. On May 28th arrived in France, where he was part of the 6th and 7th CRT (no 85th – Canadian Engine Crew Co.))
He received a “War Service Badge” Class ‘A’ – No. 218398
Officially discharged (demobilization) on May 19th, 1919
The Badge Registry: The Canadian Expeditionary Force. Page 3
This page (half-way down) shows the badges the Canadian Railway Troops wore.
(information from Fold3)
Elvin belonged to the Railway troops, and badges do not match, not even close.
We are not certain, and we have not heard back from Kerry regarding identification of possibly William Weston Dewar.
But we are about 75% sure, by the uniform and the photograph from Kerry, that this was indeed William W. Dewar.
Update – Dec. 6, 2019 – message from Kerry:
“Preston agreed that he thinks you are correct. He sent the photo on to a closer relative to confirm but I haven’t heard back yet.”