C. Stan, the WWI era British army cadet

Photograph in tintype frame. Private Collection.

Circa 1910 British army cadet. RPPC in tintype case. Private Collection.

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.


From C. Stan to Dick.

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.)

5 responses to “C. Stan, the WWI era British army cadet

  • summertime75

    It is a sad and haunting image, it reminds me of the scene in “Goodbye Mr Chips” where the boys are dresses in military uniforms and later the pictures of each “boy” who died, apart from the ending it’s one of the saddest parts of the film; that it wasn’t just the immediate families who were grieving but the teachers who had been their surrogate parents for all those years.

    Liked by 2 people

  • summertime75

    There are a couple of versions but worth watching, sadly books and documentaries about either war and subsequent conflicts have done little if anything to prevent the indiscriminate killing by so called “civilised” societies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • bowlersandhighcollars

      The greatest human fault is our mortality. :( The younger generations have to be taught all over again the mistakes of the past ones, and if that doesn’t happen…

      But then, you know…we always have ‘interests to protect’ and wars to sell, at the price of countless young lives. I’m not going to get too political but at least WWI and WWII needed to be fought.

      Liked by 2 people

  • alanowen31

    The cap badge is that of the VDG 5th Royal Inniskiling Dragoon Guards. So he is post WW1 – the regiment was formed from a amalgamation of 2 cavalry regiment in 1922 and the new badge that you see in the photo was introduced in 1929. He is a regular solider Cadets did not wear this cap badge and it dates from the late 20s or 1930s.


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