Hello from Mark (Forum Administrator & Owner)

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Re: Hello from Mark (Forum Administrator & Owner)

Postby jf42 » 22 May 2017 18:03

mikeholness wrote:
Henry Shelley Tower Keeper Eastbourne small.jpg
Hi Mark and all

My interest starts a little earlier with my multi-great grandfather Henry Shelley/Shilly, who rose to Second Corporal in the Royal Sappers & Miners, and became a Chelsea Out-Pensioner in 1816 at the end of the Napoleonic War. He aced it by living through to 1869 and achieving the grand old age of 87.

The relevant issue is that in 1851, then aged 69 he was Tower Keeper of the Eastborne fortification, a role presumably within the Corps of Engineers.

We have a photograph which we are reasonably certain is of him and a grandchild, at about that time - he in a uniform dress. We would value any advice/opinion about identifying the uniform and the badges - as a means of confirming the photo as being of him.

Mike Holness



Greetings Mike. I can't offer any suggestion as to the identity of the uniform in the photo, but if I understand your post aright, I think most members would agree that the date of the photograph has to be considerably later than 1851. The quality of the image, the gentleman's hair and whiskers, the informal pose, the cut of his tunic, all point towards a date much closer to the end of the C19th century, if not later. In an image made in 1851, the restless child would probably have been nothing but a blur.

The cap is interesting since it looks like a flat, Scotch bonnet as much as anything else (It's much too early for a military beret). The badge, though, is in a strange place- unless he has slid the side of the bonnet around to face the front and that is a ribbon tied in a bow visible at the side, which should be to the rear.

Given the playful 'quiff' sticking out from undeneath his cap, that is a possibility, adding to what seems a playful moment to entertain a grandchild - who remains somewhat unconvinced! What the headgear signifies in terms of identifying the uniform, I shall leave to other to tease out.
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