Jump to content


Photo

What Uniforms are These?


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 Charlie Flick

Charlie Flick

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 68
  • 2,587 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sunny Florida, USA

Posted 01 September 2008 - 05:13 PM

Gentlemen:

I like photos of USGI weapons, holsters and accoutrements. I ran across this one which seems very strange. The guys on the right and left are wearing M1912 holsters, but different belts. The guy on the left seems to have a Mills pocketed pistol belt. The cannon seems to be way outdated for use after 1912, and why does the guy in the center have a scarf on? The long gun on the left looks antique, and unlike the others in the photo. The kickers for me are the shoulder boards--what is up with that?

I am wondering if this is an early movie photo with bogus uniforms and props, maybe a gag photo, state militiamen, or something else. Can anyone decipher the uniforms and who these guys are? I don't know much about uniforms but these seem strange.

Thanks for any help.

Regards,
Charlie Flick

M1912_Holsters_and_Cannon.jpg

#2 jerseygary

jerseygary
  • Members
    • Member ID: 3,698
  • 170 posts

Posted 01 September 2008 - 08:06 PM

Shooting from the hip here, but my wild guess is Philippines Constabulary. The shoulder boards resemble the type worn 1901-06. The uniforms should be a grey color (later olive or khaki surplus US) and the boards and trim red. The wore some surpluss US gear and infact the officers were mostly ex-US NCO's or junior officers. They were heavily involved in jungle fighting and thier gear was more utilitarian than regulation. However by the time the 1911 pistol was issued the officers had switched to convention US Army rank insignia.

Edited by jerseygary, 01 September 2008 - 08:10 PM.


#3 Gary Cain

Gary Cain
  • Members
    • Member ID: 96
  • 1,651 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Carson City Nevada

Posted 01 September 2008 - 08:36 PM

Hi Carlie,

Can you get a larger image? The cannon has a recuperator so it is at least post 1897, so that is not a problem. I am curious about the long arm on the left of the image, is it a shotgun? A bigger image would b a great help.


Cheers
Gary

#4 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 26,584 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 September 2008 - 09:25 PM

There was a J.H. Aigner serving with the Navy. In the 1900 Census he was stationed aboard the hospital ship USS Solace, which did visit the Philippines in the late 1800's and in the pre-WWI era, according to Wikipedia, "She joined the Atlantic Fleet on 6 December and served it as a hospital ship at ports along the eastern seaboard of the United States from Newport, R.I., to Key West, Fla. She also operated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; in the Panama Canal Zone; and at other ports in the Caribbean. " In the 1910 census he was stationed on the USS Nebraska.

Matching the 1900 census with some other census data, it seems his name was Joseph H Aigner and he was from New Jersey, born 1872. I was able to find more info by using his wife's name and sure enough, it appears that in 1900 while he was at Mare Island on the Solace, his wife was living in New York City, along with their son, four-year-old JH Aigner Jr.

In the 1915 Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy Joseph H Aigner was a Chief Gunner on the USS Arkansas. That record says he had been in the Navy for 16 and a half years as of 1915 and was born 3 March 1872. The Arkansas went to Cuba and the Panama Canal Zone, among other places.

#5 Charlie Flick

Charlie Flick

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 68
  • 2,587 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sunny Florida, USA

Posted 02 September 2008 - 03:26 PM

Thanks, guys, for all of your very helpful and informative replies. I was starting to think that this pic, which was an RPPC, was totally bogus.

Cary, I will try to get a larger image. I hope that my rudimentary skills will allow me to to so. If so, I will post back here.

Thanks again.

Charlie

#6 craig_pickrall

craig_pickrall

    Deceased Forum Co-Founder

  • IN MEMORIAM
    • Member ID: 5
  • 11,253 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Central Virginia, USA

Posted 02 September 2008 - 08:12 PM

Until Charlie can try his hand at improving the details of the pic I took the one we had and blew it up.

test_1.jpg

#7 QED4

QED4
  • Members
    • Member ID: 55
  • 2,158 posts
  • Location:Orlando, Fla.

Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:33 AM

OK, I guess I will take a stab at this too. First the artillery piece may not be theirs but just an available prop for the picture. The shoulder boards sure look like Navy, one stripe and the corps mark. The guy on the left is holding what appears to be an old outside hammer shotgun, these were standard issue not as a weapon but a fowling piece to gather fresh meat for the mess hall. The other two rifles do not look like Krags or 03 Springfields but could be Navy Lee Straight Pulls or maybe captured Spanish Mausers. The side arms would place it some time after 1912 but not much. The uniforms appear to be Army but I guess they could be Marine. Now, for the speculation, they could be Navy observers during some Army or Marine action wearing Army or Marine uniforms with their Navy rank (shoulder boards). It was also common before WWI to send observers to other countries wars and there was no shortage of wars then. It could be any of the early Banana Wars or the Mexican Punitive Expedition or any number of foreign wars. Or if you don't like that how about Navy doctors or some other specialty attached to the Marines.

#8 Wailuna

Wailuna
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,963
  • 2,392 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Overlooking Pearl Harbor

Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:18 PM

Based on Forum Support's finding that J.H. Aigner was a Chief Gunner in 1915 (i.e., a commissioned warrant officer), a shoulder board with one stripe (gold with a blue bar at its center) and the gunner insignia (a gold flaming shell) would be consistent with what we seem to be seeing here (and assuming the officer on the right is, indeed, Chief Gunner Aigner). Link here to see the Chief Gunner shoulder board illustrated. Otherwise, I agree with QED4 that this picture could have been taken anywhere in bananaland ca. 1912 - 1917 and probably well beyond that and perhaps part of a Naval landing force (but the two officers pictured are commissioned warrant officers, not doctors). Regardless of exactly who, where, or when, this is another great picture...thanks for posting it Charlie.

Edited by Wailuna, 03 September 2008 - 02:22 PM.


#9 Dirk

Dirk

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 171
  • 3,204 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:45 PM

Charlie: Allow me to return the research favor with these two images (a big thanks on the Lee info).....a 3" Naval Landing gun (note the chest's position and the bucket below) and a ID'd Naval Passed Surgeon assigned to the Marines in the PI c1901-02. I am in agreement these are a part of a Naval landing party (but not Marines), wearing marine field uniforms with Navy rank, somewhere in the tropics...note the scarf on the Surgeon. BTW the Marines had these these field pieces in Peking until 1936-37.

Attached Images

  • peking14A.jpg
  • navPI.jpg

Edited by Dirk, 03 September 2008 - 02:58 PM.


#10 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 26,584 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:53 PM

Based on Forum Support's finding that J.H. Aigner was a Chief Gunner in 1915 (i.e., a commissioned warrant officer), a shoulder board with one stripe (gold with a blue bar at its center) and the gunner insignia (a gold flaming shell) would be consistent with what we seem to be seeing here (and assuming the officer on the right is, indeed, Chief Gunner Aigner).


He was apparently on the Arkansas during this period and history shows that there is a good chance he could have been part of a landing party in Veracruz, Mexico, wearing a Marine uniform. Another Chief Gunner's Mate received the Medal of Honor for the so-called "Mexican Campaign" in Veracruz.

Earlier, in October 1913, a coup in Mexico had brought to power a dictator, Victoriano Huerta. President of the United States Woodrow Wilson disapproved of the way in which Huerta had come to power, and insisted on a representative government, rather than a dictatorial one, south of the American-Mexican border. Mexico had been in turmoil for several years, and the United States Navy maintained a force of ships in those waters ready to protect American lives.

In a situation where tension exists between two powers, incidents are bound to occur. One such occurred at Tampico in the spring of 1914, and although the misunderstanding was quickly cleared up locally, the prevailing state of tension produced an explosive situation. Learning that a shipment of arms for Huerta was due to arrive at Veracruz, President Wilson ordered the Navy to prevent the landing of the guns by seizing the customs house at that port.

While a naval force under Rear Admiral Henry T. Mayo was already present in Mexican waters, the President directed that the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, under Rear Admiral Charles J. Badger, proceed to Veracruz. Arkansas participated in the landings at Veracruz, contributing a battalion of four companies of bluejackets, a total of 17 officers and 313 enlisted men under the command of Lieutenant Comdr. Arthur B. Keating. Among the junior officers was Lieutenant (junior grade) Jonas H. Ingram, who would be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at Veracruz, as would Lieutenant John Grady, who commanded the artillery of the Second Seaman Regiment.


That's from http://en.wikipedia....overseas_cruise

We do know that sailors wore Marine Corps clothing during the Veracruz occupation. This is from an official US Navy website:


U.S. Navy Landing Party

Photographed on board ship, probably at the time of the Vera Cruz incident, circa April 1914.
These sailors are wearing Marine Corps flannel shirts and khaki trousers, with dyed "white hats". They are posing with M1903 "Springfield" rifles and at least one man is wearing an ammunition belt.
The ship may be USS South Carolina (BB-26).


vercruz.jpg

#11 Dirk

Dirk

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 171
  • 3,204 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 03 September 2008 - 03:03 PM

Veracruz is a very good guess for location...could the longer rifle be a battle field pick up?

#12 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 26,584 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 03 September 2008 - 03:48 PM

Veracruz is a very good guess for location...could the longer rifle be a battle field pick up?


I think someone above mentioned that weapon as an old issue shotgun.

My money is on this photo being Chief Gunner Joseph Henry Aigner Sr and shipmates in Vera Cruz in 1914.

He retired in 1922 as a Lt. By the way, his son Joseph Henry Aigner Jr. retired as a Lt. Commander, after also serving as a Chief Gunner: for a while they were on active duty at the same time.

#13 Charlie Flick

Charlie Flick

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 68
  • 2,587 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sunny Florida, USA

Posted 04 September 2008 - 08:40 AM

Boy, you guys are good! Thanks so much for the additional information. I would never have figured this one out on my own.

Regards,
Charlie Flick

#14 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 26,584 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 September 2008 - 09:26 AM

Boy, you guys are good! Thanks so much for the additional information. I would never have figured this one out on my own.

Regards,
Charlie Flick


To add one more thing: I downloaded an image of a WWI-era Chief Gunner shoulder boards, put them next to and enlarged section of your photo and then rotated the downloaded image to match the photo. I noticed that the downloaded image had the "bomb" in a different axis than the one in the photo. I did some searching around online and found enough evidence to make me believe that whomever created the downloaded image made a mistake. I then changed the downloaded image to make it match the photo. It now sure seems like a match.

gunnercu.jpg

I think the guy in the left (as you look at the photo) is Chief Aigner and the one on the right is a Lt., with two gold stripes on his shoulder boards.

gunnerlt.jpg

Which brings up he question: is that Lt one of these Medal of Honor winners from the Arkansas' landing party at Vera Cruz:

Among the junior officers was Lieutenant (junior grade) Jonas H. Ingram, who would be awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at Veracruz, as would Lieutenant John Grady, who commanded the artillery of the Second Seaman Regiment.

Ingram also worked with the artillery: "He was conspicuous for skillful and efficient handling of the artillery and machineguns of the Arkansas battalion, for which he was specially commended in reports".

Those shoulder bars look like one wide and one narrow, for a Lt. JG.

There are no photos of Grady that I could find, but there is one of Ingram when he was at West Point and many from when he was an Admiral and commanded the United States Atlantic Fleet during World War II.

ingram.jpg

#15 Wailuna

Wailuna
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,963
  • 2,392 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Overlooking Pearl Harbor

Posted 04 September 2008 - 02:06 PM

...I think the guy in the left (as you look at the photo) is Chief Aigner and the one on the right is a Lt., with two gold stripes on his shoulder boards...Which brings up he question: is that Lt one of these Medal of Honor winners from the Arkansas' landing party at Vera Cruz:

"[Lieutenant (junior grade) Jonas H. Ingram] was conspicuous for skillful and efficient handling of the artillery and machineguns of the Arkansas battalion, for which he was specially commended in reports".

Those shoulder bars look like one wide and one narrow, for a Lt. JG....Ingram when he was at West Point [Annapolis?] and many from when he was an Admiral and commanded the United States Atlantic Fleet during World War II...

A brilliant work of detection, Admin. Based on the circumstantial weight of your findings, I would agree that these men were Chief Gunner Aigner and Lt. (jg) Ingram (and an unknown shipmate) at Vera Cruz. This is great picture and a great story, thanks to some exceptional contributions from members of the Forum.

#16 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 26,584 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 September 2008 - 03:10 PM

A brilliant work of detection, Admin. Based on the circumstantial weight of your findings, I would agree that these men were Chief Gunner Aigner and Lt. (jg) Ingram (and an unknown shipmate) at Vera Cruz. This is great picture and a great story, thanks to some exceptional contributions from members of the Forum.


Yes, this could be an historically significant photo. Charlie, do you have the original print or did that come from something you fond online?

#17 USMCRaiderGirl

USMCRaiderGirl
  • Members
    • Member ID: 3
  • 700 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 September 2008 - 06:10 PM

Great picture!

Just a quick correction to Forum Support's post. Ingram actually went to the Naval Academy and not West Point. :)

#18 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 26,584 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 September 2008 - 06:24 PM

Great picture!

Just a quick correction to Forum Support's post. Ingram actually went to the Naval Academy and not West Point. :)


Yes - I should not post before my morning coffee.

#19 Justin B.

Justin B.
  • Members
    • Member ID: 3,982
  • 1,459 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Posted 05 September 2008 - 03:08 PM

To add one more thing: I downloaded an image of a WWI-era Chief Gunner shoulder boards, put them next to and enlarged section of your photo and then rotated the downloaded image to match the photo. I noticed that the downloaded image had the "bomb" in a different axis than the one in the photo. I did some searching around online and found enough evidence to make me believe that whomever created the downloaded image made a mistake.


As the person who created the image, please allow me to defend myself a little!

The USN uniform regulations of 1913 do not illustrate gold lace shoulder marks because at that time the regs specified the short-lived metal pin rank and corps insignia. However, the metal gunner device illustrated is in the "horizontal" orientation. When the shoulder boards were reinstated a few months later, they reverted to the 1908 configuration, with the WO/CWO corps device on the shoulder marks given the same orientation as on the service coat collar, that is, with the flame horizontal.

The 1917 UR update does show photos of the CHGUN and GUN shoulder boards with the "sideways" bomb:

gunner_boards.png

In 1919, when corps devices were moved from the collar to the sleeves of blue uniforms, the bomb device was oriented with the flame vertical.

That is not to say that shoulder boards with the flame-up configuration would not be worn, I would not be surprised at all. The "sideways" bomb does look a little odd.

Nice detective work on the photo, very impressive!

Best regards,
Justin B.

#20 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 26,584 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 05 September 2008 - 08:13 PM

As the person who created the image, please allow me to defend myself a little!

The USN uniform regulations of 1913 do not illustrate gold lace shoulder marks because at that time the regs specified the short-lived metal pin rank and corps insignia. However, the metal gunner device illustrated is in the "horizontal" orientation. When the shoulder boards were reinstated a few months later, they reverted to the 1908 configuration, with the WO/CWO corps device on the shoulder marks given the same orientation as on the service coat collar, that is, with the flame horizontal.

The 1917 UR update does show photos of the CHGUN and GUN shoulder boards with the "sideways" bomb:

gunner_boards.png

In 1919, when corps devices were moved from the collar to the sleeves of blue uniforms, the bomb device was oriented with the flame vertical.

That is not to say that shoulder boards with the flame-up configuration would not be worn, I would not be surprised at all. The "sideways" bomb does look a little odd.

Nice detective work on the photo, very impressive!

Best regards,
Justin B.


Thanks Justin for the comments and for the Navy insignia resource. To a certain extent, it's all guesswork trying to figure out from that photo which was the bomb is pointing and whether those are Lt or Lt JG shoulder boards on the other guy.

One of our forum members owns some uniforms that belonged to Ingram and pointed out that the Lt in the photo looks too old to be Ingram who would have been under 30 at that time. On the other hand Lt Grady was 48 at that time (are there any over-40 Lt.;s in any service today?). Of course we'll never know who it is unless perhaps someone finds a photo of Grady to compare it with. I do feel pretty confident about the Chief Gunner's ID.

#21 gwb123

gwb123

    ADMINISTRATOR

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 1,506
  • 17,142 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Omaha, Land of the Free

Posted 05 September 2008 - 09:24 PM

Of course we'll never know who it is unless perhaps someone finds a photo of Grady to compare it with. I do feel pretty confident about the Chief Gunner's ID.


Unless... someone can come up with other photos from the same event for comparison! If one photo was taken, there are bound to be more somewhere.

#22 Problemsmith

Problemsmith
  • New Members
    • Member ID: 4,936
  • 3 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Caracas, Venezuela

Posted 13 December 2008 - 02:33 PM

The guy on the left (looking at the photo) is Joseph Henry Aigner, Sr. He was my great grandfather and a Chief Gunner, he stood 6'2" tall.

A sword which I gave to my son Nicholas Aigner last year in Kentucky, was given to my great grandfather while he was a Gunnery Instructor in 1907-1908. I am not sure exactly where or when the photo was taken, he was in the Boxer Rebellion, the Spanish American War and of course World War I. He was involved in Mexican affairs and had some contact with Pancho Villa in 1914, the photo may be from the Veracruz occupation of Mexico against Huerta. He was in the Orient, Venezuela, Panama, and the Philippines as well, he met Theodore Roosevelt on several occasions.

He worked as a consultant for the War Department in the Second World War handling domestic defense. He was born in Egg Harbor, New Jersey in 1872 and died in Hammonton, New Jersey in 1960 at the age of 91.

His son Joseph Henry Aigner, Jr. not in the photo was one of the first submarine commanders according to family history. But I have no further information about him and met him once in 1972 at his home in San Diego.

If anyone can help me find out more about him please write me, I want to know who his father was. Family member have told me he was a Freemason and that his mother was a DAR.

-David, the Problemsmith

Edited by Problemsmith, 13 December 2008 - 02:37 PM.



0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users