A Military Mystery photo

Another of my Twitter puzzle photos I posted for VEDay.

I asked: I know nothing but the names on the back, can anyone help please?
What regiment? Can anyone ID their uniforms?
I would love to know who Charley is! Not researched.


So we have G. Dormer and D. Sutcliff and Charley?

1) Are they Street Lamplighters? Note the interesting sticks. Oh, wait!! They are Artillerymen. Those are igniters, maybe ceremonial. 2) This might help:

Military 1

3) Yes they have the cross cannons on their jackets. 4) They appear to be members of the British Army Royal Artillery. The sticks are probably some sort of ceremonial fuse lighter. The cuff ranks and fusilier collar badges also point that way. 5) What’s amazing is my Granddad was in that corps. 6) You could contact the Royal Artillery for more information. You have a unit, ranks, and surnames. They would probably love the distraction. Great idea! I have done just that, so will let you all know if they are able to help, have had a quick reply from them to say my email has been passed to the relevant department so fingers crossed.

UPDATE: Had a lovely email from the Royal Artillery Museum, huge thanks to them and their volunteers! ‘Thank you for your e-mail.  I asked one of my volunteers (kindly still working from home) to have a look at this, as he is better at uniform identification than I am.  He says: The crown above crossed guns on the left sleeve indicates that this three Royal Artillery (RA) Sergeant Majors are members of the Technical Training Cadre RA  established in 1860 – now known as Sergeant Major Instructors in Gunnery (SMIG). They are wearing RA collar badges. None of them is wearing any campaign medals.

They are wearing No1 Temperate Ceremonial uniform with shoulder epaulettes, their rank and lack of campaign medals, as well as hairstyles, indicate that the photo was taken either between 1900 and 1914 (probable) or the 1930s (possible).

I hope that this helps a little‘.

7) Almost certainly Artillery. The chap on the right has a gun layers proficiency badge, however, it looks like the photo is in reverse as it’s back to front, hold it to a mirror and it should look correct. They have gunnery arm badges. Can you read initials on their shoulder titles? (Unfortunately not) 8) Definitely Artillery – Driver and Gunner are Artillery ranks equivalent to Private. Looking at the men I would guess that this is the late 19th century. The names (even DORMER which is very much a Berks/Bucks surname) are just too common to work with. 9) The photographer is bothering me. It clearly says D M Sutta & Co- but I can’t find him… Not an English name so could this have been taken overseas? (My thoughts too) 10) Looks like Royal Artillery. Gun Layer badge with wreath and crossed canons with a crown QMS Instructor of gunnery.

Here’s some of the regiment’s history from the National Army Museum

Huge thanks to Twitter followers: @PaulSuttonKing @ShuttleAlmanac @UrbanSpaceMan64 @Dave_Lifelines @Hert_FHS

Are they your family? Do you have Dormer or Sutcliffe in your family tree?

Till next time then………






  1. I note that these artillerymen are booted and spurred which suggests to me that they are members of the Royal Horse Artillery. So would their ‘sticks’ be riding whips? I haven’t heard of ceremonial fuse lighters….

    Liked by 1 person

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