Who Goes There? Reverse Engineering this WW1 soldier

Please help identify this unknown soldier?

Please help this soldier’s 94-year old daughter uncover her father’s identity

This is my twenty-first Who Goes There? blog post and it’s the one I’d like to solve more than any other. The granddaughter of this unknown soldier contacted me last week in the hopes that I could help uncover his identify for her 94-year old mother. It’s a tricky one (to put it mildly) but with your help perhaps we can solve the mystery.

The story begins with a Canadian soldier who had a brief affair with a 31 year-old woman in post-war England, likely in the Orsett / Grays area of Essex. In February 1920 a baby girl was born and as was the custom in those days the whole business was hushed up. Growing up the young girl was told nothing about her father and was told not to bring up the subject at all. Her birth certificate reveals nothing of his identity and her only keepsake was the photo included above.

The cap badge isn’t sharp but it appears to me to be a Corps of Royal Engineers badge rather than a Canadian Engineers badge. It looks to be the solid economy version produced later in the war and I’m not aware of a solid Canadian Engineers badge. I could be wrong and if so I hope someone will take a moment to comment below or contact me. It’s also possible that the badge is not solid and that the photograph is just too fuzzy to discern the inset Beaver (Canadian) or stylized script (British) that would determine the nationality. Even if the soldier is Canadian he could still be one of thousands who served in an Engineering unit during the First World War.

The good news is that the original photograph included other soldiers and even though only the section showing her father has survived, it is still possible that multiple copies exist. It’s a long shot but perhaps someone will recognize this soldier in a photograph they have and be able to provide more information. Anything you can do to help spread the word would be most appreciated.

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