Isle of Wight Rifles Photographs

The following photographs are mainly of individuals and groups belonging to the Isle of Wight Rifles - the 1/8th Bn Hampshire Regiment - and some other units

The photographs are reproduced from postcards sent to us shortly before he died by Mr Edward Edmunds of St Helens. They were originally in the possession of Mr Edmunds' uncle, Frank Hills, who served with the Isle of Wight Rifles, and later the Machine Gun Corps, before and during World War I.

We would be pleased to hear from any one who can help to identify the men depicted. Thanks to Gareth Sprack of the Isle of Wight Rifles Living History Society, and Stuart Hersey, for additional information. The Watford postcards were published by Harry Robert Cull, who was born in Ventnor in 1868 and who moved away with his family to the mainland as a child.

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Card 1:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles at Newtown Camp dated June 8th 1912

No-one yet identified



Card 2:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, possibly pre Great War, at Newtown Range. Range House can be seen behind the tents at the right.

Rfn Douglas Edmunds (Edward Edmunds' father) is second from the right in the front, kneeling, row.

It is believed that the faces of men deemed to be cowards were scratched out in cards such as these - as has happened with the man in the middle of the kneeling row.

   

Card 3:

Inscribed "With love from Sam & Allie [or Alice]" and addressed to

F Hills 330053
163rd M.G.C. Coy.
D Section
E.E.F.
Egypt

The stripes on the soldier's arm indicate 3 wound stripes and 2 good conduct stripes, indicating at least 8 years' service and therefore a regular soldier who enlisted prior to the Great War.

I am certain that this is Alice Louisa Hills (sister of Frank Hills) and her husband Samuel Arnold. They married in 1918, when he was serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who were stationed in Parkhurst at that time. He enlisted in Newmarket in 1908 and served as a Private with the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry before transferring to the Warwickshires. He saw service in France during the Great War, and was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. He left the Army in 1919, and the couple went on to have 4 children, living at Villa Nova, Haylands, Ryde. I have a copy of his Service papers showing entitlement to "one red and one blue chevron, and three wound stripes" - just as depicted in the photograph. - Geoff Allan



Card 4:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles

Rfn Frank Hills is second right of the seated row, holding a black and white cat

The card is published by G & H Ancell, Sandown, I.W.



Card 5:

A Rifleman of the Isle of Wight Rifles

Not yet identified



Card 6:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, probably at Cassiobury Park, Watford during training prior to embarkation to Gallipoli. 1915

An alternative location might be Newtown Range, the trees possibly being Locks Copse

No-one yet identified, apart from one :

Sara Davis (née Donovan) writes in Feb 2013:

I am 95% sure that the man kneeling at the front of the right hand group (as you look at it) is my grandfather. I have shown this photo to two of his surviving children, one being my father, and they are also very sure. The family resemblance is striking.

Rfn Peter Michael Donovan 10154
Landed at Suvla Bay Gallipoli 05/08/15.
He was taken sick with dysentry early 1916 and discharged June 1916.
I have photos of him in his WWI uniform and hospital fatigues as he was sent to a hospital in Manchester for some time to recover.
He was born in Southampton of Irish descent and lived in Chapel and then Wimpson (before it became Millbrook)
He went on to marry in 1918 and have 9 children, my father being the youngest. He died in 1957 and still wore his silver war badge on his suit lapel to the very end. We have his WWI medals too and I have read much about his time in Gallipoli from the war diaries held at the Hampshire Regiment archives. It was thrilling to see his photo.

   

Card 7:

Two men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, at a training camp (probably Yaverland). The card is dated 24 July 1911 and is from Rfn Frank Hills, addressed to E Hills, Villa Nova, Haylands, Ryde, I.W.

Rfn Frank Hills on left, the other man is not identified.



Card 8:

A group of four men, three Lance-Corporals, and a Corporal, of the Royal Engineers, possibly a Territorial Unit

No-one yet identified



Card 9:

A Rifleman of the Isle of Wight Rifles

Not yet identified



Card 10:

A Private of the Machine Gun Corps, in tropical uniform

Not yet identified



Card 11:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, at the gates to Cassiobury Park, Watford during training prior to embarkation to Gallipoli. 1915

No-one yet identified

Card published by H R Cull of Watford



Card 12:

A group of men of A Company of the Isle of Wight Rifles, marching along St Alban's Road, Watford during training prior to embarkation to Gallipoli. 1915

No-one yet identified, but the Captain at the head of the column is probably John Francis Harrison Marsh (born Ventnor 1883)

Card published by H R Cull of Watford. His shop, at 169 St Alban's Road, is the second beyond the church (now Watford Elim Church) at the left of the picture.

   

Card 13:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, at a training camp in Shrewton. The card is dated 16 June 1910 and is from Rfn Stanley Edmunds, addressed to his grandmother Mrs G Edmunds, West Street, Sea View, nr Ryde, Ile of Wight [sic].

Rfn Stanley Edmunds is presumed to be in the group but has not been identified. No one yet identified.



Card 14:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, pictured in Watford during training prior to embarkation to Gallipoli. 1915

No-one yet identified

Card published by H R Cull of Watford



Card 15:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, pictured in Watford during training prior to embarkation to Gallipoli. 1915

No-one yet identified

Card published by H R Cull of Watford



Card 16:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, at a training camp prior to the Great War (possibly pre 1908)

No-one yet identified



Card 17:

A Private, possibly of the Machine Gun Corps, in tropical uniform

Not yet identified



Card 18:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, at a training camp (probably Yaverland).

Rfn Frank Hills is seated front centre, the other men are not identified.



Card 19:

A group of men of the Isle of Wight Rifles, at Sandham Grounds, Sandown

No-one yet identified.

The card is published by G & H Ancell, Sandown, I.W.



Card 20:

A group of men of the Machine Gun Corps, possibly in Palestine, towards the end of the Great War.

Pte Frank Hills is possibly the man seated front right, the other men are not identified.



Card 21:

A Corporal of the Machine Gun Corps, in tropical uniform

Not yet identified