? cap badge in Painting of officer

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? cap badge in Painting of officer

Postby Fathertime » 15 Oct 2017 06:38

This is a section of a portrait of Major William George Hunter, the 11th Laird of Burnside, (I do like the sound of that !) and retired officer who served with the 69th of foot, and 1- West York Militia. I have done a bit of searching for versions of both these regiment's cap badges, and can't find any like the one on the Major's saucer cap. He may well have served with another regiment. My sense is this portrait was done around the turn of the century. Any fair guesses out there?
regards
Bob
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Re: ? cap badge in Painting of officer

Postby crimea1854 » 15 Oct 2017 08:52

I would hazard a guess that it is the Prince of Wales feathers of the Welsh Regt. formed following the amalgamation of the 41st & 69th. What is surprising is that the portrait does not appear to include a medal ribbon for the Canadian General Service Medal which he qualified for having been involved in the 'Trout River Affair', May 1870, when a Lieutenant in the 69th.

Martin
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Re: ? cap badge in Painting of officer

Postby Redcoat 57 » 15 Oct 2017 15:37

I had a look at the Gazette and found the following;
1865 - Ensign 69th
1869 - Lieutenant 69th
1871 - Captain 69th
1871 - Retires 69th
1879 - Resigns from 1st West York Militia
1915 - Temporary Captain - no regiment specified

He is mentioned in Menin Gate North as the father of a casualty and described as 'late 2nd Welsh Regt.'

The Welsh Regiment cap badge would make sense!

Eric
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Re: ? cap badge in Painting of officer

Postby Frogsmile » 15 Oct 2017 16:22

He has the scarlet cap band and collar tabs (more properly ‘gorgets’) of a General Staff Officer (albeit a junior one) and would thus be wearing the cap badge of the staff (the Royal Crest of crown and lion). When the photo was colourised the artist/colouriser has mistakenly (probably in ignorance) created something else that might be based on his interpretation of the Welsh Regiment's cap badge.

In WW1 some officers of company rank (captains and subalterns) were appointed in junior roles such as Aides De Camp (ADC) or as GSO3 (e.g. DAQMG) in administrative and logistics roles. At that time they wore red tabs and, if on the General Staff, the lion and crown cap badge. This practice ceased after WW1 because of perceptions that some of these (mainly) young men led a gilded and protected life through family influence.

Your image shows him as Temporary Captain (as per rank insignia on his cuffs) and I suspect he was probably appointed as a DAQMG (Deputy Assistant Quarter-Master General), as a reflection of his long experience of Army logistics (supply and transport). Note the cross legged staff officer in the enclosed group photo, who is of the same rank.

The reason no regiment is shown for his WW1 Service is because he was too old, but there was a clause permitting re-engagement when in the interests of the Service, and he would have been registered in the ‘General List’ (miscellaneous employments, or not yet allocated) for as long as he was found to be medically fit and useful. In effect, one of the much maligned ‘dug outs’ of both WW1 and WW2 literary fame.
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Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
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Re: ? cap badge in Painting of officer

Postby crimea1854 » 15 Oct 2017 18:29

I believe I have found his WW1 medal card, this has him as a Captain in the 2nd Welsh Regiment and then 3rd Battalion KOYLI, which was a reserve training battalion.

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Re: ? cap badge in Painting of officer

Postby Frogsmile » 15 Oct 2017 19:29

That’s really interesting, Martin, and doesn't entirely make sense. He was way too old to be re-engaged with a regular battalion, as were the 2nd Welsh (late 69th - he must have pulled in some favours owed), who in 1914 were stationed at Bordon, Hants. Conversely it makes sense that he would be useful in a reserve training battalion and it’s very telling that he was taken onto the KOYLI regimental roll, otherwise he would have remained Welsh Regiment, but ‘attached’, to KOYLI. Either way, he must have subsequently gained employment as a staff officer, perhaps with a reserve training brigade, as he is not wearing uniform for regimental duty.

P.S. The 1st West Yorks Rifles Militia became 3rd (Reserve) Battalion KOYLI in the months following the Cardwell/Childers Reforms of July 1881, so again he had clear connections to influence his continued, post 2nd Welsh re-engagement, despite his advanced years.
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Re: ? cap badge in Painting of officer

Postby Redcoat 57 » 15 Oct 2017 20:56

His youngest son, the splendidly named Charles Gawain Raleigh Hunter, served with the KOYLI and was killed in April 1915, so there is a family connection there as well.

I looked up the artist; Molly Guion (1910-1982) was an American who made a name for herself with portraits of the British upper classes in the thirties and forties. As Captain Hunter died in 1936 I imagine the portrait was based on a photo taken during the war rather than painted from life - which would explain the hazy detail in the cap badge.

Bob, I would love to know more about this officer and what he did during the war - do you have anymore information on him?

Eric
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Re: ? cap badge in Painting of officer

Postby Fathertime » 17 Oct 2017 13:47

Eric,
still researching. will post when I've got something.
regards
Bob
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