Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Salvage Sailor

Three Mysterious Buddies - Can you figure this one out?

Recommended Posts

Aloha Everyone,

 

This is a studio portrait on a RPPC with no information as to where it was taken or who these three WWI or Interwar era soldiers are.

 

The soldiers on the left and the right are wearing standing collar tunics with US Army buttons on their uniforms and hats, leather belts, jodphurs, similar puttees and similar (but not identical) army shoes. The only real difference is that the man on the left has pointed pockets and the man on the right has rounded pockets.

 

The soldier in the center is also wearing a standing collar tunic with pointed pockets but has different domed buttons and a domed US Collar Disc. He has round patches on both sleeves and is also wearing long pants and different shoes.....

003.jpg

004.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This one is easier to figure out, a Hawaiian Department 1916-1920 (maybe Hawaiian Division circa 1921) Infantry man?

 

Looks like he's wearing an Infantry HQ collar disc and that's definitely an early wool HD patch on his shoulder. He also has a flat US collar disc and Army button. Is that a WWI victory ribbon or something else?

Mystery C.jpg

Mystery C 001.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But who is this mysterious fellow in the center in the long pants.

 

I cant make out the left collar disc but the right side is a US disc. The buttons are really throwing me off - any ideas? What are the rank/specialty patches on both sleeves?

Mystery B.jpg

Mystery B 001.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The soldier in center appears to have the round Infantry PFC chevrons and vegitable ivory US Army buttons on his coat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The soldier on the left is wearing a private purchase uniform, plenty of enlisted men did this.

 

Steve


What dreams he made for us to dream

Spanish skies Egyptian sands

The world was ours we marched upon

Our little corporal's command

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The soldier in center appears to have the round Infantry PFC chevrons and vegitable ivory US Army buttons on his coat.

 

You may be correct about the vegetable ivory buttons, I'm just not seeing the eagles clearly on them like the other two soldiers.

 

Looking closely when I enlarge the scans on my end, I believe the round ranks patches are Quartermaster Private First Class. I can make out the wheel and the wingtip on the right arm patch. (photos added)

 

The collar disk looks like a Flaming Bomb (Ordnance) to me. Would they have been attached to the Quartermaster in the Great War?

Mystery B.jpg

Mystery B 001.jpg

Mystery B 002.jpg

Mystery B 003.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the vegetable ivory buttons; that was my impression too. The tended to have thin detail on them.

 

I'm thinking this is early interwar. The hats seem to have more of an interwar look to me for some reason (that I can't quite put my finger on), and the double enlisted ranks were rarely seen in 1917/18. It's hard to tell with images like this, but the 31st Infantry collar disc of the gentleman on the left looks like it might have had the finish removed. I don't think it's gilt, but it doesn't look as dark as the buttons for example and seems fairly bright. However that is really hard to be sure of, since it could simply be the lighting. The use of wool puttees also indicates 1918 or later. The man in the middle appears to have some form of trouser (not breeches) on, so again 1918 or later.


"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif
donation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the observations Rusty,

 

It's quite possible this is a 1920's photograph taken after the 31st returned to the Philippines. That adds up with the Hawaiian Department patch and the 20ish uniform puttees. I'd also expect the Infantry HQ disc to have a regiment number (19, 21, 27, 35) if it was later in the 1920's so early 20's before the Hawaiian Division was formed makes more sense to me. Other clues, no overseas service stripes or other ribbons or division patches. Anyone know what the ribbon is?

 

A random thought, perhaps the 31st guy was heading out to the Philippines to join his regiment or to Hawaii to join the HD and the QMC soldier was part of the 11th Division (stayed stateside) which was being used as cadre to form the Hawaiian Division. Many units were drawn from the assets of the 11th, including the 11th Ordnance Company, and assigned to the HD.

 

On the disc finish, (US over 31), it appears to be a type 1 but not very dark and you're right, it could be from the lighting and or flash.

 

On the vegetable buttons, did the Quartermaster Corps have their own buttons (as did the Engineers) rather than the standard Army eagle buttons? The US disc is odd too as it's smooth and rounded, never seen one like it. If that is an Ordnance disk on the left and QM PFC patches, could he also be wearing some type of QMC buttons?

 

 

That's enough of my amateur guesswork for now, I'd like to hear from the WWI uniform collectors on the shoes, puttees, cut of tunics, etc.

 

Ottodog - what details tell you this is a private purchase uniform on the 31st soldier?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Salvage Sailor,

 

Those observations would make sense on the timeline. Regarding the collar disc, I also thought the set on the man in the center looked unusual. Again it could be lighting and film, but it does look weird from what we would expect in this period. About the buttons, they should be the standard US Army national eagle. I think because of the thin detail and their composition (which rendered them shiny enough to reflect some light) it is washing out the detail from the better lit areas.

 

It is a great photo, especially with the combination of Hawaiian Department and 31st Infantry together!


"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif
donation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.