This circa 1910 British cadet who can’t be more than 12-13, is proudly posing in his green wool uniform with peaked cap and sword by the side.
I find this photograph quite beautiful yet sad and haunting. This boy went on to fight in the First World War at a very young age, of this there’s no doubt.
I also find interesting that his paper picture was framed in a tintype case.
So I asked myself, “is there a name or note hidden to the back of the picture?” I opened it.
Well, it wasn’t all for nothing (I think I would have kicked myself if I found nothing but something told me). It did reveal a note, the partial name of the boy and that this is a RPPC with the divided back, which dates the picture to around 1907-1914; it fits the era of the uniform.
I think his surname was either Stan or Stanley, and his given name most likely Carl or Charles.
Of course I put the case back together and wrote the name in pencil on the outside.
Those cases are fragile but this one had already been meddled with by someone who removed a tintype and replaced it with this RPPC, so I took a chance. I can imagine a family member lovingly doing this or the boy himself to give as a keepsake.
One million British soldiers and allies died during World War I. I set to research some for a match and got sidetracked reading the many individual stories of those who fell. I won’t lie, as an army wife it was particularly emotionally exhaustive, and a partial name isn’t enough to come to a definite conclusion, but I tried. I did find two soldiers by the shared name of Charles Stanley who died in 1917 and 1918 at the same age (19). No one by the name Stan Carl or Charles died during the war is all I can say for sure.
(On Netflix in the U.S you can catch Our World War, a three part BBC docu-series of particularly powerful individual stories of British soldiers who experienced those truly horrible years. If you can get past the choice of music for the soundtrack I highly recommend it. The husband says it is to relate to younger audiences.)