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bpc59

Frederick Curragh - what clues can be deduced from this photo?

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bpc59   
bpc59

I have a puzzle that I would be grateful for any thoughts on - why, when he was refused a commission, would my grandfather have a photo taken of himself in full uniform?  Is there anything in the uniform detail that give any clues as to what the unit was?

 

Basic background information is that he was 21 in 1914, living & working in Belfast as an apprentice manager in the linen industry, he had signed the Ulster Covenant in 1912.

 

So Alan & I would be very grateful for any of your comments or suggestions!

 

Best wishes,

Brian

525980443.917552.jpg

IMG_8221.JPG

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voltaire60   
voltaire60

  Well, let's raise the hackles of the cap badge fraternity- is that perchance the cap badge of the Royal Irish Constabulry?

 

       A Black and Tan?   

No medal ribbons- did he serve in the Great War?

Edited by voltaire60

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bpc59   
bpc59
24 minutes ago, voltaire60 said:

No medal ribbons- did he serve in the Great War?

 

Not as far as I am aware.

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jay dubaya   
jay dubaya

...and a black button?

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rob elliott   
rob elliott

BPC,

 

Why do you say he was refused a commission, is this family lore or do you have details. Possibly he never got overseas  having reapplied later in the war.

 

The badge did look to me like RIC, however he would not be a 'Black & Tan', there really is no such thing. What are referred to as B&Ts are men who joined the regular RIC, large numbers of Irish as well as English joined 1920-21, not all ex-service.

 

If anything he would be an auxiliary cadet RIC, mainly, but not exclusively drawn from ex-Officers of the three services.

But if he didn't serve in the war its unlikely he would wear the uniform, when he could wear the police uniform.

 

Also no cuff ranking and the shoulder tabs look to be a different colour.

 

Belfast University OTC?

 

Rob

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bpc59   
bpc59
10 hours ago, jay dubaya said:

...and a black button?

 

I hadn't spotted that - what could that be about?  Taff Gillingham has seen the photo & is uncertain as to what it is; he had suspicions it wasn't a British Army uniform.

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bpc59   
bpc59
9 hours ago, rob elliott said:

Why do you say he was refused a commission, is this family lore or do you have details. Possibly he never got overseas  having reapplied later in the war.

 

Belfast University OTC?

 

Rob

 

Rob

 

Somewhere I have a copy of a register from Kew (I think or possibly PRONI) that records his name amongst other commissions but then notes his being unsuccessful.  I need to check what exact wording was used.

 

Queens University OTC - not seen that crop up anywhere; would he not have to have been connected to the University to get into the OT?

 

Brian

Edited by bpc59

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squirrel   
squirrel
47 minutes ago, bpc59 said:

 

I hadn't spotted that - what could that be about?  Taff Gillingham has seen the photo & is uncertain as to what it is; he had suspicions it wasn't a British Army uniform.

The black button usually denoted that the wearer had lost a relative during the war - worn unofficially.

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John_Hartley   
John_Hartley

The first thing that struck me was that the right sleeve seemed oddly ruffled up - not quite how it might be if he had just put his arm round his back.. Had he lost part of the arm?

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Susan Tall   
Susan Tall

Well you did ask for any thoughts ..... what about him being a member of a Volunteer Training Corps (VTC)?

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bpc59   
bpc59
30 minutes ago, John_Hartley said:

The first thing that struck me was that the right sleeve seemed oddly ruffled up - not quite how it might be if he had just put his arm round his back.. Had he lost part of the arm?

 

John - no, his arm is quite normal in a later photo.

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bpc59   
bpc59
18 minutes ago, Susan Tall said:

Well you did ask for any thoughts ..... what about him being a member of a Volunteer Training Corps (VTC)?

 

Yes, that was suggested to me elsewhere - not an organisation I know a lot about.  I still think the cap badge looks like an Irish Harp with the apparently prominent left hand side as we look at it.

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Susan Tall   
Susan Tall

Belfast had a Volunteer Defence Corps but it is definitely not their badge.  Queen's University also had a 'Veterans' Volunteer Group - can't find a photo of their badge but have been looking at picture of the Queen's University OTC badge and I think this is a possibility.

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rolt968   
rolt968

The black button would suggest not. However could it be the uniform of the pre-war Ulster Volunteer Force? (Are the collar badges red hands?)

RM

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regimentalrogue   
regimentalrogue

The possibility exists that it's simply not his uniform, but that of a relative or friend he is posing in.

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rob elliott   
rob elliott

Definitely not pre war Ulster Volunteer Force, would be more Boer War style.

 

The side pockets have things in them which seem to indicate it is a jacket being used rather than one as a prop that may have been at a photographers or such.

Loaning a uniform off a relative is a possibility but to get it to fit that well, boots as well, maybe not.

Looks like the picture was taken in a garden......the flowerpot on the ground.

Do the marks on his knees indicate anything, riding a horse perhaps, or is that just the light on the photo? A gentleman would take his spurs off but not his trousers to go in a house!!

What school did he go to, Campbell College had a Volunteer Section. He had a good job so presume good education.

 

I think we may be looking at the badge as a harp as we condition ourselves to think he's Irish so must be! The cap badge does look like it could be symmetrical like a shield.

Have I missed his name? Also what is his religion, this is not for the Irish angle, you've already said he signed the Covenant, just that the Presbyterians have their roll of honour on which he may appear even if he didn't go overseas.

Need Nigel Henderson to have a look too, he is very knowledgeable on Belfast soldiers.

 

The only other thought and one I have seen before is an 'A' or 'B' Special [RISC-note, not USC] Officer before Officer uniforms were issued from late 1920.

 

Rob

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rob elliott   
rob elliott

Another thought. Could all the buttons be black? The top jacket button is square on so not affected by the light whereas the others, like the top pocket buttons are at an angle catching the light. The one below the cross belt looks dark too. Royal Irish Rifles [Belfast recruiting area] would be all black buttons. Did the reserve Btns have a cadet school late in the war as the RIR had 3 reserve Btns for the Ulster Division so maybe 40-60 officers in training at any one time, many rejected men reapplied later to be accepted so he could be a late joiner.

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johnboy   
johnboy

does he have a name?

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AlanCurragh   
AlanCurragh

Frederick K Curragh - we believe the K to stand for Kennedy (but aren't 100% certain)

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bpc59   
bpc59
27 minutes ago, AlanCurragh said:

Frederick K Curragh - we believe the K to stand for Kennedy (but aren't 100% certain)

 

Just checked his birth certificate - he is just Frederick.  The "K" comes from the 1901 Census entry so may not be correct!

Screenshot 2017-09-05 14.59.28.png

Edited by bpc59

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bpc59   
bpc59
1 hour ago, rob elliott said:

What school did he go to, Campbell College had a Volunteer Section. He had a good job so presume good education.

 

Have I missed his name? Also what is his religion, this is not for the Irish angle, you've already said he signed the Covenant, just that the Presbyterians have their roll of honour on which he may appear even if he didn't go overseas.

 

Rob - we don't know his school.  In 1901 he was living on Bray St, in the Shankill; ten years later the family had moved to Kinallen St, in the Cromac area of Belfast  Religion was Presbyterian.

Edited by bpc59

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voltaire60   
voltaire60

 

     Let's try the Ulster Special Constabulary- better known from the events of the late 1960s as the B Specials. Although associated with the Protestant  Stormont regime in pre-Troubles Northern Ireland, they were in fact formed in October 1920- before the Treaty and partition - so the "RIC" cap badge would be correct up to the Treaty.

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rob elliott   
rob elliott

Brian,

 

Did you know his brother William joined the 14th RIR the YCV is Sept 14 but was discharged after 46 days due to TB, so early October 14 was out yet in 1916 the army [Dublin records office] is saying please issue William Curragh with the enclosed armband to the Police, so what roll would the army have for William in Belfast in 1916.

Could this be something for Frederick too, home defence?

 

Also on the 'B' Specials front do I see that Frederick was down in Glenkeen Tyrone, in 1921, this is near Aughnacloy.

Very active area during the 1920s troubles, so being a B Special Officer would not be unusual.

The three most senior Londonderry B special Officers were not ex-servicemen when they were formed, in fact the majority of the City B specials were not ex-servicemen until later. Mainly young guys who had not seen war service at the start.

 

There are photo you can google that appear to show British Officers with the Special constabulary, but they are not soldiers.

 

Rob

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rolt968   
rolt968

Some Volunteer Training Corps battalions became Volunteer battalions of local infantry regiments. (I believe that it was intended that they all would but the war ended before it happened in many cases.) Did any of the northern Irish VTC battalions become Volunteer battalions of infantry regiments?

RM

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rob elliott   
rob elliott

Just found second file for William on ancestry explaining the armband. It is to allow his recognition as a discharged serviceman.

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