Two weeks ago I published this photo of 26 Squad, Hampshire Regiment. Not having any army experience, to me they were just soldiers posing outside Gosport Barracks in the First World War.
Then Walter Jobber got in touch with information about one of them, a corporal who is sitting in the centre of the group. Walter spent 26 years in the army.
The corporal with the swagger stick sitting third from the left in the front row was a very experienced soldier. You will notice that on his lower left arm he is wearing four Gold Wound stripes.
This indicates he was wounded on four separate occasions, not the number of wounds he suffered. It is possible he could have received multiple wounds on one or more occasions.
On his lower right arm you can see two chevrons. This indicates that he had at least two complete years of service in theatres of war. Truly a man of indomitable spirit. Can anyone tell me who he is?
The photograph shows a mixture of young soldiers and veterans (regulars). During the First World War most regular soldiers sported a moustache as per regulations.
The two soldiers not ‘geared up’ are most probably Permanent Staff of the Depot/Training Unit.
I then heard from Lt Col Collin Bullied, from Serles House, Winchester, the home of the Hampshire Regiment museum.
He said that the legend of the chevrons is a common misconception. A soldier became entitled to a first chevron (either red for 1914 service or blue for each subsequent year) the first day he stepped ashore overseas.
He then became entitled to a second chevron after a further year’s service (12 months but with an allowance of up to four weeks’ home leave).