Friday, February 22, 2013

Sepia Saturday: The unknown diggers

The theme for this week's Sepia Saturday is a photo of unknown people, those unidentified photos we all have in our family albums. And yes we have a few of those unfortunately.

Usually I look for clues - the photographic studio, the clothing style, the number and sex of the children, background scenery, house or building styles, furniture styles - but it doesn't always work. In this case, I have to admit defeat. I've got no ideas.

My guesstimate is World War 1, Australian soldiers (diggers) from the AIF, their upturned slouch hats being worn by the children of the family they are visiting (or vice versa) , somewhere in England while they are on leave. The men appear to be wearing armbands - does that indicate they are injured? Could it be a hospital? What do you think?


  1. Intriguing ......the grouping suggests those on the left are visiting the single chap on the right?Is that a stick of some sort in the hands of the soldier on the left? And is that the corner of a bed i see?

  2. Could well be a military hospital of sorts but if in England the family would have had to travel a long way and not likely in those times.

  3. I was going to suggest some sort of visit as well. They seem pretty happy. The young boy is barefoot, so I am guessing he did not travel to make the visit.

  4. It does look like the family is visiting the wounded soldier. Maybe the soldier in the middle is his roommate and he's joining in on the friendly visit.

  5. I would agree that it is WWI AIF. Have you checked your relatives for war injuries on ? I read somewhere once that injured diggers wore different colour arm bands depending on the severity of their injury? I think that runners/messengers also wore arm bands?
    Perhaps put the photo on Facebook - Australian Genealogy and tag Sandra Playle. She is an expert in war and is helping with identifying the Diggers of Frommelle. She has helped me previously.

    My initial thoughts were that it is at a home (no shoes on the child and the bird cage). The lighting appears natural and the ladies are wearing their hats so it indicates that it is outside, perhaps on a verandah? I had relatives who were nurses during WWI and the dresses are similar but not the hats. It is likely that the ladies would be wearing these hats if they were visiting?

    Sorry - more questions than answers

    Good luck.

  6. Large shady hats might suggest they are somewhere sunny. They look like Australian women to me and the kids also are very casually dressed. Not like English children of the time?

  7. The man on the left seems to be "looking" but not "seeing" like a blind person. Maybe he has a stick because he is blind.

  8. Is the guy by the window holding a cane? It sure looks as if it could be in a rehabilitation center somewhere. Nice picture.

    Kathy M.

  9. It's an interesting photograph, but I have nothing to offer.

  10. I don't think they're wounded or sick, more likely on leave and visiting family or friends, as you've suggested.

  11. An interesting puzzle. I hope you manage to find out more.

  12. My first impression was hospitalised Australian WW1 soldiers. After reading the comments and looking at the picture in greater detail, it appears that the party are visiting the guy with the cane. He has a frozen smile and staring eyes (being brave for his visitors?)and no other obvious injuries - is he blind? The boy on his left as similar facial features and so too the older woman with a concerned look. I wonder if she is his mother and the bare foot bot his younger brother. If so this suggests that he has been repatriated.

  13. An intriguing photograph. I don't know why, but there is something about the room they are in which doesn't say England to me. Something about the size of the window and the amount of light coming in. But don't ask me to suggest where it could be.

  14. A great picture indeed, and it does seem to be like a hospital.

  15. Is it customary for Australian hospitals at the time to have birdcages in them?
    The place looks bare enough for it but it doesn't look clinical.
    Perhaps a convalescent home? Or a place for the veterans?
    They seemed...happy?!?

  16. I would guess the lovely large window indicates a convalescence home in a large house, just the place to run around barefoot.

  17. Looks like my comment never made it through so I'll try again.

    What I especially like are the broad smiles of the fellas. It's always nice to see actual in the moment smiles and not forced for the camera.

  18. Your Great Uncle David Ray Leed and some other soldiers are being commemorated with a display in the window of the Pyramid Hill IGA Supermarket. The display is being prepared for ANZAC day by the Pyramid Hill historical Society

    You have some great family memorabilia !!



I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.



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