1. What source provided the original photograph.. War Office, Family?
2. How many publications used the same photograph?
3. Mistakes do happen, especially if the mans Surname or initials are missunderstood, and appear similar to that of another rank whos photograph is held by an official agency!
4. The photograph does not match the facts thats are known.
5. Have you tried this little test... is there any family resemblance from todays family members to the chap in the photograph?
I numbered some of your thoughts in the Quote, and this is the reply :
1. I have absolutely no idea.
2. Used by The Graphic on 29 April 1916 (DSO Award) and on 5 August 1916 (7 weeks after his death), and by London Illustrated News 22 July 1916.
(The fact that there are more than 3 months in between made me think : If in April 1916 the wrong photo was used, can't we assume that the family would have protested, and that later in August the correction would have been made, or that the mistake at least would not be repeated ?)
3. Yes, true, "Smith" is a common name, but the middle (?) name "Aldin" may guarantee something ?
4. Well, that is a problem indeed. You have some doubts about the tunic, thinking at first sight that it may be WW2. But as we know that the photos were published in 1916 I think we can rule that out.
The only (?) problem we have is the cap and the badge ? I would like to hear other members' opinions ... About the tunic and the cap and badge. Does the fact that it does not resemble a RN or RNVR badge "prove" that something is wrong with the identity of the man on the photo ? Is it totally impossible that this RNVR man, attached to 6th Division, wore an "Army" badge ?
5. Well, I wanted to mention that yesterday, but of course this is very subjective. I am in touch with Cyril Aldin Smith's great nephew Graham. As soon as I sent him the photo, his reaction was : "Yes, it is Cyril. He has the Smith mouth of determination and obstinacy and I can see the likeness to Uncle Gordon [= Cyril's younger brother]."
I will be seeing great-nephew Graham a month from now, and maybe my first reaction will be : "You and Cyril ! Like two peas in a pod !!!"