The Westley brothers, 62 Coy, Imperial Yeomanry

Posted on: 11, February, 2018

The Westley brothers, 62 Coy, Imperial Yeomanry

The photograph above was published in The Navy & Army Illustrated published on 5th May 1900. The caption reads, “THE BROTHERS WESTLEY. A family which has a corporal and five troopers at the Front.” A quick search of records on British Army Ancestors  folowed up with click-throughs to Findmypast to view their records quickly reveals the brothers’ names, ages, places of birth and next of kin. I have uploaded the same photo for all six men but at this point in time I am unsure who is who.

Westley brothers rememembered

On each of the captions I have included the following information, “The six Westley brothers, 62nd Coy, Imperial Yeomanry. Herbert Oscar, Gerald Wilfred, Harold Charles Percy, Arthur John, Francis Joseph, and Cecil Thomas. Gerald died of enteric fever in South Africa on 02 March 1901.” Although the man seated centre wears a corporal’s stripes, all of the men are recorded as privates on their surviving Imperial Yeomanry attestation papers and on their medal roll entries in WO 100. The seated man certainly looks to be one of the older brothers and could be Harold, born in 1873. Mind you, there are only seven years between all six brothers and they had another seven siblings.

The Westley brothers in The Graphic

A search online reveals that as well as featuring in The Navy & Army Illustrated, the brothers were also mentioned in The Graphic; the edition published on the 7th April 1900. The following text, transcribed from The Graphic, is a straight lift from the Abroad in the Yard website:

“The remarkable incident of the six sons of Mr John Westley, of Lee, Kent, who enlisted together last month in the 3rd Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry, is but another proof of the strong patriotic feeling shown throughout the country in consequence of the present war in South Africa…

“The brothers, whose ages range from twenty-one to twenty-seven, have been liberally educated in England, and all have had the advantage of finishing their studies abroad, either in Germany or France.  They are keen sportsmen, football being their special forte.  Four of the brothers are members of the West Hampstead Football Club, Joseph being considered one of the finest goalkeepers the club has ever had, and well worthy of county honours.  Arthur has done good service for the club as ‘back’, and Percy is a smart outside-left.  Oscar (the youngest) is the seventh son in succession without the intervention of a daughter.  He has spent two years studying mechanical engineering at Messrs John Penn and Son’s works, Greenwich.  The other five are leaving good positions in the City, and their employers, in nearly every case, have behaved most generously towards them.”

I am pleased to have been able to add these men’s faces to the names on British Army Ancestors and would welcome further information on identifying who is who.


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