The Men Who Came Home – A Memorial Part Eleven – The Royal Navy

Another postcard for you, although what you see is what you get; I have no information whatsoever about these men, the reverse of the card being blank.  Nice picture though, don’t you think? 

The Royal Navy lost nearly 45,000 men in the Great War, only a third of whom can today be found in marked graves; for the remainder, the sea would be their final resting place.

The Navy men pictured here were all hospitalised in later years – some not so long after the war ended,…

…others decades later.

Some of the survivors, just like their counterparts in the Army, would endure the consequences of their war service for the rest of their lives,…

…while others would suffer as they grew older.

These are the men who came home.

Another postcard, again with no information.  We shall never know the names of this family, and what the future held for them.

And finally, this rather strange postcard, in such poor condition that I have no intention of ‘cleaning’ it, but which shows a group of British sailors (and civilians) caught off-guard by the photographer, as opposed to the usual posed shots you are likely to find.  I have no information whatsoever on this photo, which is where you come in; if you have any thoughts on this, I’d be interested to hear them.   Things to note: military & civilian headgear, cap badges, bandolier, flag (White Ensign, maybe).

This entry was posted in Soldiers. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Men Who Came Home – A Memorial Part Eleven – The Royal Navy

  1. Nick Kilner says:

    Interesting! Had a quick chat with Ian re the bandolier. He’s of the opinion that the gentleman is holding a Winchester, which were used by the navy during WW1, and I am in no position to argue with that. The vessel appears to be merchant, and I’m guessing that tent on deck is a kitchen. I also agree that is very likely the white ensign being flown. The dark square in the top corner definitely points to that. Presumably in dock and being visited by dignitaries. Very nice postcard and a great post. The navy rarely get much of a mention, and they really should.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Thanks Nick. Funny how these things go. I hadn’t even considered the rifles – two men have them, and I will not be arguing with Ian either on this! I rather want it to be a Q-ship, with the tarpaulin hiding a nice big gun. Look carefully far left and that looks like an army cap, but the bloke in the middle with a cloth cap hardly has the look of ‘dignitary’. Maybe it’s a captured vessel, the blokes with rifles on guard? We’re never going to know, are we?

      • Nick Kilner says:

        Hmmmm, possibly, but the chimney sticking out of the top screams Kitchen to me ;-). It was actually the chap in the bowler hat I was thinking ‘dignitary’, that’s very out of place amongst the rest. As you say, we shall never know, which kinda makes it all the more interesting

        • Magicfingers says:

          It didn’t scream anything to me, because I just hadn’t noticed it until you mentioned it earlier. I reckon it’s probably a kitchen…….

  2. Margaret Draycott says:

    You are funny you two with your comments but got to say Nick your observations were excellent made me look closely and spotted the bowler and chimney. Some real old sea dog looking types on deck. Also glad the navy got a mention they also suffered severe traumas during the wars

    • Magicfingers says:

      Wait ’til you see our stage show……

      • Nick Kilner says:

        Oh no he didn’t! (This could go on a while )
        It really is a fascinating photo. I can only assume that the fact it became a postcard, and indeed that there was a photographer there at all indicates a moment of some historical significance, but just what, or who, or why, is absolutely intriguing.

  3. Nick Kilner says:

    Having given this a little more thought, I do think you might have hit upon something with your suggestion of a captured vessel. That fella in the cloth cap is perhaps the biggest oddity of all. He can only be a member of the general public, so perhaps this is indeed a captured vessel being shown off to the public. Note also the sailor serving a bottle of beer from the hold. absolutely fascinating photo!

    • Magicfingers says:

      OH YES HE DID (indeed)! I have given the photographer some thought too. The four guys looking at the camera just happen to be looking, the rest aren’t, the pic is a snap, imo, not anything official, taken by someone who felt the occasion deserved a snap. Strikes me that a captured vessel would be taken into port and presumably there’d be plenty of sailors, labourers etc working at the port who’d like to take a look. The guys on the right, at least the two with guns, are guarding the thing. Love your spot of the bottle btw, because I hadn’t worked out what it was – which leads me to the hatch that the guy with the bottle is appearing out of – do all boats have deck hatches like that, because I, who knows bugger all about ships, associate those hatches with submarines…………..and the edge of the deck very far left – there’s nothing apart from a couple of strands of wire to stop you falling off the boat. Is that normal?

  4. nicholas Kilner says:

    Oh no he didnt! I did say this could go on for some time lol.
    I would guess, though like you I know bugger all about ships, that low side allows for loading and unloading of cargo, which I now know is called a drop-down Bulwark. Definitely not a submarine, as it has a mast and those mushrooms on deck are almost certainly air vents to the cargo hold. Could well be a captured German merchant raider me thinks. The SMS Wolf was ceded to France in 1919, but I don’t think its her if I’m honest. Very good point about the somewhat casual nature of the photograph, I’d not considered that.

  5. Magicfingers says:

    I think you’ll find he did……………!
    I shall bow to your superior, if still amounting to bugger all, knowledge of ships………

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.