During January I have been sharing some of my Hand Tinted/Hand Coloured old photos every day on Twitter and Instagram and also a few on my Facebook page. These beautiful Military photos are two that I haven’t shared as I thought I would try to identify this smart young man in his uniform. I had spotted these two CDVs firstly because of what they have stamped on the back. “Painted by Miss Bond, Artist, Southsea” is a very unusual find, as normally the Artists at studios seem to have no credit for their work. It was then when I looked closer I spotted the name Mrs Bedingfeld pencilled at the top, proud Mother? He looks very young, doesn’t he?
I have pencilled in the ‘Norman Bedingfeld’ on the bottom of the cards as the small slip of paper with this name came with the cards from the seller. These were originally taken from a Victorian Album and this was the name written beneath these CDVs.
According to what I have found out about the Photographer’s Vandyke and Brown, they were operating at these two studios, 31 Bold Street, Liverpool and 34 Castle Street, Liverpool between 1868 and 1875 but they also took on 3 other studios in Liverpool from 1871, 1872 and 1873, so as these other studios are not printed on the backs of these CDV’s, I have to assume that these photos were taken right at the beginning of the 1870s, that also matches with the design on the backs of these Carte de Visite too. Or was the photo taken later and they were just using up a surplus of old CDV cards?
They are quite striking photos, aren’t they?
As a novice looking at both of these photos, I notice firstly the name pencilled at the top of each one, so you assume it to be a member of the Bedingfeld Family. Then looking at his uniform, it’s a dress uniform, white gloves, furry hat/fur busby with hat badge, not at all clear, and with a white plume. Trousers have a wide side stripe. Jacket sleeves have entwined lace/cord design. Eight buttons on his jacket and a sash across his chest, the jacket also has a stand up mandarin type collar. He is also holding a sword.
I am like a fish out of water when it comes to Military Uniforms and photos. I looked at various dress uniforms, with my limited knowledge, and also compiled a small family tree for the Bedingfeld Families of Norman Nevill Bedingfeld and also Norman Bernard Bedingfeld, who I discounted fairly quickly when I discovered he was in the Navy and too old I thought, being born in 1824. But it could be a family member of either of these two families?
As Norman Nevill Bedingfeld was in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps I sent an email to The Royal Green Jackets Museum Curator Christine Pullen saying: “I am a collector of old photos and this beautiful hand-coloured CDV is a recent find. I am not very knowledgeable about Military uniforms but have tried to narrow this uniform down and I wondered if it might be the Kings Royal Rifle Brigade. The seller gave me a bit of the paper album frame with the name Norman Bedingfeld with it. Having researched as much as I am able, I have come up with Norman Nevill Bedingfeld who was born 25 November 1864 and died 11 August 1905 while visiting his brother at Windsor Castle where he was a Military Knight. I have quite a bit more about the family too. But…..In the 1881 census, this Norman was still a scholar and only joined the KRRC about 1884. Now the thing with this CDV is that the design and photographers details of address etc point to a date late 1875-1880! Of course, they could have just been using up old cards to attach the photos too or have I got all this totally wrong and found the wrong man? Or the wrong uniform? The colours of the uniform would have been coloured in after as it seems the colouring was done in Southsea and the photo taken in Liverpool. It’s all getting more confusing, sorry! If there is any help that you could offer me I would be very grateful. Here are both the CDVs with the backs. ‘Mrs Bedingfeld’ (Mother who had the colouring done?) is original writing and I have myself pencilled the ‘Norman Bedingfeld’ on the bottom of each carte de visite“. The Royal Green Jackets Museum: https://rgjmuseum.co.uk/
I had a swift reply from a lovely chap Blair, who is a volunteer researcher for the Museum “
“It is not, I am afraid, of a soldier/officer in either the King’s Royal Rifle Corps or the Rifle Brigade. The colour of the uniform for both of these regiments would be dark green and the lacing would be black. I have tried to enlarge the image to identify the badge on the officer’s collar and it looks as if it may be a ‘staff and serpent’ which is now incorporated into the badge of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). This was established in June 1898 incorporating an earlier Army Medical Department. I cannot be certain however that this correctly identifies the uniform. I am a member of a Facebook Group interested in military uniforms of this period and if you agree I could post the images there and see if someone can make a positive identification. Let me know if you are content for me to do this? Bedingfeld (Norman Nevill) was commissioned, as you say, into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and later he served with a volunteer unit, Queen Victoria’s Rifles. I have not researched him further as I am confident he is not the subject of your image, unless he served elsewhere before joining KRRC“.
So after posting on the Military Facebook group Blair replied back to me “Further to my reply yesterday, I posted your images on a Facebook page and a provisional identification of an officer of the Lancashire Volunteer Artillery has been suggested. The evidence suggests: busby with a ‘flaming grenade’ is Artillery, lace on uniform is silver, therefore a Volunteer unit, blue uniform is also worn by Artillery. The Lancashire connection comes from the photographer being based in Liverpool. Commissions in the Militia were often a route to a commission in the regular army” Then Blair very kindly checked other sources for me: “I have now examined volumes of the Army List for the period c1883-1885. The first occurrences of the name NN Bedingfeld appear in the third volume for 1885 with dates of May and June 1885 as a lieutenant in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He was appointed to the 1st Battalion and I suspect the first date in May was the date of his commission and the second the date he arrived at the battalion. There was no occurrence of his name in previous years in the lists of Militia officers e.g. artillery volunteers“.
Blair and myself have exchanged several messages and he has been such a wonderful help to me and I’m very grateful to him for the time he has spent researching to help me with this photo puzzle.
So now I’m going to have to spread my net a bit wider with other members of different branches of the family. Because as these photos were in the family album, I’m suspecting the album tag had been put on the wrong photos? But the ‘Mrs Bedingfeld’ on them both is original writing.
While researching the names of the family I came across these photos of the family attached to a previous auction back in 2011 for medals of the family, they were all part of a huge collection being sold as separate lots. (These are all screenshots below of the pages in PDF form that are available publically)
As you can see above Norman Nevill Bedingfeld does look similar to the chap on my CDVs but not the same, this is not a brilliant photo above but you can easily see the uniform is very different.
Now the fascinating thing about this last find of mine above, the marriage of Ernest Gordon Bedingfeld to Teresa Mary Bedingfeld, was that I realised that the two Norman’s were actually part of the same family because of this marriage of cousins! So that gives me many more ‘Mrs Bedingfeld’s’ to research now as they could be one by marriage and this may be a husband or a son?
Apart from joining up my two Bedingfeld family trees, I have also been able to put a previous photo find of Francis Philip Bedingfeld on this tree (This was returned to its family in 2016!) Here’s my Blog about that one in 2015: https://lynnswaffles.com/2015/11/12/francis-phillip-bedingfeld-born-1817/
Of course, none of these finds help me with identifying the chap in uniform but at least I have them all on the same family tree now! Here’s the link to the public family tree (I shall keep adding and researching) on Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/tree/180301891/family/pedigree?cfpid=372347534038
Any help or suggestions would be very welcome.
Till next time then……..
How about this chap, in Lancashire in 1871 census aged 10
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Thanks Blair, I will check on that tomorrow when I have PC on. I see he was born in Norfolk, so maybe from the Oxburgh Hall Bedingfeld family? Will get back to you, Lynn
It seems to me that the most useful dating information is that of the photographers. So, I wonder if they had ‘outfits’ in which their clients could dress up when having their portraits taken. If this was a uniform of a volunteer unit, it would be readily available locally in Lancashire and would not necessarily imply the sitter was anserving officer?
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Certainly something to think about Blair, thank you.
Lynn, I am a uniform historian of over 50-years now and I think your subject is a Lieutenant of the Royal Lancashire Militia Artillery from the Liverpool garrison. These were a form of auxiliary military force along with the separate volunteers, but with a much older history (the militia were older than even the regular army). You can read about the Royal Lancashire Artillery Militia here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Lancashire_Militia_Artillery
His rank as lieutenant between 1864 and 1880 is determined by two features, a single crown on his collar and the style of his cuff knot. He wears the fur cap worn by artillery between 1860 and 1878 whose grenade badge and white horsehair plume can be clearly seen. The tunic is the type worn between 1864 and 1880, with gold round cord shoulder straps. The lace worn by all auxiliary artillery, militia and volunteers, was silver until 1880, when the militia reverted to the gold lace they had originally worn years before. The officers of militia tended to come from the gentry whereas the officers of the volunteer artillery were more middle class. Ergo the young man shown was a civilian and would only appear on militia lists. I hope that helps.
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Hello Bob. Wow! Thank you so very much for contacting me. What an incredible amount of information, I can’t thank you enough, wonderful to be able to add all this information to keep with the photos. Huge thanks, Kind Regards Lynn
Correction to my last: the shoulder cords are in round silver rather than gold, which latter colour at that time was for regulars only.
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Thank you so much Bob, it’s amazing to have all this. Lynn
Thank you for your reply Lynn, I’m pleased to have been of help. Liverpool had a strong presence of garrison artillery back then (and until the 1880s) who manned heavy guns to defend the port. As well as Militia and Volunteer Artillery (who were in Mason St, Edgehill, the regulars were in Seaforth Barracks, Merseyside, where boy trumpeters were also trained. In the 1880s the barracks was handed over to the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment to become their headquarters and training ‘depot’.
I forgot to mention that in both the colourised photos he wears the same militia artillery uniform, but in the image where he is standing he has been promoted to captain, with extra cuff lace and a star (pip) added to the crown on his collar, so he must have served with the militia for some years. The rank markings all changed in 1880 when the insignia was moved to shoulder straps.
Morning, I think I sent an email to you some time back concerning the Bedingfelds, now I have had time to sort through the Carte Visites please find attachments to turn your hair “orange” with your research, I know this will be a big help but cause you further research, regards John