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WW1 Uniform question, 50 Battalion Calgary

rick7475

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Hello, I have some photos of my wife's grandfather who fought through WW1 and at Vimy Ridge wounded twice and lived until 89. There are 2 photos taken of him and some other fellows, but they are not wearing cap badges or shoulder insignia. He joined in 1914 in Calgary as a private, and these photos show him as a corporal. I have identified the uniform as the 1903 Canadian pattern. Now, I would have thought that perhaps these gentlemen are new recruits in training and have not received their cap badges or insignia yet. However, some of them are displaying stripes on the right arm, corporals and sergeants. My wife's grandfather is showing corporal stripes. So I am confused as to why they have rank, but no cap badges or shoulder insignia. I have his military records but they do not show his promotions. I am also wondering where the picture might have been taken, I am guessing at Camp Saracee in Calgary. If anyone recognized the location, I certainly love to know! Thank you everyone for your help!


https://imgur.com/gallery/1XA4p4w

https://imgur.com/8tBAHBv
 

exspy

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rick7475 said:
...but they are not wearing cap badges or shoulder insignia.

So I am confused as to why they have rank, but no cap badges or shoulder insignia.

Rick,

To what shoulder insignia are you referring? Division patches? These did not come into use until late in the war. These photos could very well pre-date their introduction.

Now the lack of cap badge is interesting. Possibly a lack availability at the time. I would suggest posting your very detailed photos in the Canadian section of the British Military Badge Forum https://www.britishbadgeforum.com/forums/. They have members with very detailed knowledge of such things.

Cheers,
Dan.
 

rick7475

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Thank you very much for your reply, I will check out your link. I also understand that the Canadian 1903 uniform shoulders did not have the extra material to support shoulder flashes such as Divisional patches. I guess I did not realize they were later in the war as they are evident in this photo of my wife's grandfather taken in late 1917 in Fredericton garrison on a Lewis gun course.

https://imgur.com/a/qSMjJUS





 

Michael OLeary

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Units being formed would not have had unit badges ready immediately, they would come later through a supply system  overwhelmed with the requirements of a rapidly expanding CEF.

As new units were formed, the shortage of experienced soldiers meant that any prior experience in the Militia, previous British Army service, etc., and possibly even involvement in cadets or rifle associations could see a man promoted to NCO ranks early in the unit's formation.

My pages here may be useful: Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War
http://regimentalrogue.com/misc/researching_first_world_war_soldiers.htm


 

exspy

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rick7475 said:
I guess I did not realize they were later in the war as they are evident in this photo of my wife's grandfather taken in late 1917 in Fredericton garrison on a Lewis gun course.

Rick,

Maybe it's my old eyes, but I don't see any insignia on the shoulders of the soldiers pictured. Divisional patches were only worn overseas. Sometimes returned veteran soldiers doing recruiting wore them to impress any potential recruits. But patches were not authorized in Canada.

These are great photographs you have. You should get them professionally scanned. They're history.

Cheers,
Dan.
 

rick7475

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Thanks, I will have them scanned as soon as we can get more information, such as the location. We have more of photos of him and I want to ensure they are preserved. In the last picture some of the soldiers have insignia, and some do not, but you have to blow it up and look really close.

Here: https://imgur.com/gallery/446IkU1

Thank you Michael for your informed reply. I have researched my Civil War ancestors and found it to be similar with ranks and mustering in new units in Canada. Possibly veterans from the Boer War and the United States that came up and I know there were various loosely organized militia units in Alberta. I am looking into the 50 battalion records for more research.

I am still hoping someone might recognize the location. Thanks again!

 

Blackadder1916

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This is likely what 50th Bn lines (and most all of the Sarcee Camp) looked like at the time your wife's grandfather was there.

Sarcee_camp_50th_Batt.jpg


There are more images here to give a sense of what Sarcee Army Camp and its environs looked like during the Great War.  Most of them are from the Glenbow Museum collection.


And a few other 50th Battalion photos are scattered among these. http://contentdm.ucalgary.ca/digital/collection/glenbow/search/searchterm/50th%20Battalion
 

Blackadder1916

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rick7475 said:
. . .  I am also wondering where the picture might have been taken, I am guessing at Camp Saracee in Calgary. If anyone recognized the location, I certainly love to know!

If I hazard a guess, I would say that those photos were taken at "Sarcee City".  Sarcee City was a one street hamlet (and not really a hamlet or even one street) that grew up just outside Sarcee Camp to service the entertainment needs of the soldiers.  It was a collection of buildings on the north side of what is now Glenmore Trail between 45 Street and Sarcee Trail.  It is not inconceivable that a photographers studio would have done a good business located there.

In the background of both photos one can see electrical utility poles and similar utility poles are seen in photos of Sarcee City.  Sarcee Camp, on the other hand, was a tented "temporary" camp with few permanent buildings or utilities.

Sarcee City is described in this Calgary Herald article of the period.
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/35236586/calgary-herald/

Sarcee City disappeared after the war and no trace (historical or otherwise) of it remains -  it sparked my interest to do a little research (I had never heard of it before responding to your post) because I live in that neighbourhood.
 
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