Every day on the British Army Ancestors Facebook page I take time to commemorate a British soldier. This post will look at some of the men I have remembered recently.
2881 Corporal Thomas Baker of the 17th Lancers appeared with the regimental mascot, Lizzie the Bear, in The Navy & Army Illusrtated in
The photo originally appeared in The Navy & Army Illustrated edition published on the 21st February 1896. The caption underneath the photo ran,
“Her mother was shot in Cashmere, eight years ago, by Prince Adolphus of Teck, who brought the cub to Lucknow, where the regiment was stationed, and gave her as a present to his troop. Shortly after this the cub was lost for a year. Then one day a man came round with a performing bear, which was recognized as ” Lizzie ” Since then “Lizzie” has remained with the 17th, with whom she came to England in 1889. She is a great pet with all ranks, for her own part reciprocating the affection, specially in favour of Corporal Baker, her particular guardian, who is shown in the illustration…”
Thomas Baker’s service record confirms that he held the rank of corporal shoeing smith between July 1894 and February 1896 when he was promoted to sergeant farrier. I was delighted to have identified this man who, along with Lizzie, later appeared on a cigarette card, part of a Wills series of army mascots published in 1911. Thomas Baker served in the cavalry between July 1882 and December 1901, ending his career as a staff sergeant farrier.
This photograph was taken in France in August 1916 and shows men of ‘A’ Special Company, 1st Battalion, Special Brigade, Royal Engineers; a gas company. All of these men had transferred into the Royal Engineers from infantry battalions and the man I was researching is Samuel Athron who stands on the back row, far left. Thanks to Sameul’s diligence in recording the names of his friends I was able to positively identify all of the men in this group shop. They are:
128749 2nd Cpl Samuel Athron; formerly 21844 York & Lancaster Regiment
128748 Pioneer Horace R Webster; formerly 24053 York & Lancaster Regiment
128729 Pioneer Arthur Hudson; formerly 24043 York & Lancaster Regiment
128336 Pioneer John A Murray; formerly 24391 Worcestershire Regiment
129349 Pioneer Larrat W Sarcan; formerly 22240 York & Lancaster Regiment
129599 Sgt John Stronach; formerly 1411 Gordon Highlanders
128747 Pioneer Harold F Walby; formerly 24056 York & Lancaster Regiment
128574 Pioneer Peter Makin; formerly 26946 KOYLI
129073 2nd Cpl Gladstone Stoker; formerly 27677 Northumberland Fusiliers
128742 Pioneer Leonard Smalley; formerly 24047 York & Lancaster Regiment
You can read more about this piece of research on my Army Service Numbers blog.