In April 2016 I wrote an article describing how a 1915 Christmas card posted by Sgt. Thomas Diplock from Giessen P.O.W. camp was reunited with his family. That happy outcome came about as a result of an earlier article featuring a postcard that had been in my collection for several years. If that doesn’t underline the benefits of publishing finds such as this online then the chain of events that took place this summer most certainly does.
Last July I was contacted by Austin Osman who was researching Sgt. Thomas Diplock after finding this wonderful postcard on eBay. He very kindly brought the listing to my attention which gave me time to contact Thomas’s family in Vancouver. They were thrilled to learn of another family heirloom and asked me to bid on their behalf. I won the auction and the postcard is back where it belongs, with the family.
Sgt. Thomas Diplock is standing on the far right in the top row. Unfortunately I’m unable to decipher a date from the postmark on the postcard but Thomas spent nearly three years at the camp in Giessen after his capture at Second Ypres on April 24, 1915. He was transferred to neutral Holland in March 1918 and so the photo may have been taken at any time during that period.
The wide variety of uniforms on display is fascinating. Some of the sixteen men are wearing Kitchener Blues, some without breast pockets or shoulder straps, issued by the British when supplies of khaki ran short in 1914. Do you recognize anyone in this photo? There are a lot of interesting details to study and so I encourage you to add your thoughts either by commenting below or by contacting me. I’ve not had a lot of time to look into this but here are some of my initial thoughts:
Top row (standing left to right)
1, 2 & 3: the cap badges on these three men appear very similar and their proximity to each other could imply they belonged to the same regiment, possibly the 8th (King’s Royal Irish) Hussars or the North Irish Horse
4: Prince of Wale’s Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment)
5: this Sergeant is a Fusilier but which regiment, possibly The Royal Welsh?
8: standing next to Sgt. Diplock and wearing a similar cap badge may suggest he is from the 7th Battalion (1st British Columbia), CEF
9: Sgt. Thomas B. Diplock, 7th Battaion (1st British Columbia), CEF
Middle row (seated from left to right)
10: this Corporal may be from the 27th Battalion (City of Winnipeg), CEF
11: the cap badge in this Sergeant’s glengarry is intriguing. Can anyone identify it?
14: the outline of this Corporal’s cap badge is similar to that worn by the 29th Battalion (Vancouver), CEF
Bottom row (lying from left to right)
15: a Corporal from The Grenadier Guards
A special thank you to Austin Osman for contacting me and for making this reunion possible.