Charles Ryland

Believe he was in the Somerset Light Infantry based at Jellallabad camp Taunton sometime between 1890 and 1914. Any help from anyone appreciated. We cannot find his birth or death as he used different names so we are trying to pinpoint his army record. Thank you for any help


3 Answers 3


This is a Private of the 13th Regiment of Foot (1st Somersetshire) after 1881. He is a qualified marksman with two Good Conduct stripes and has been in the service for at least six years.

The logo on the helmet and lapel does look an awful lot like a rather blurry Somerset Light Infantry badge known at various times as the 13th Regiment of Foot, 1st Somersetshire, and Prince Albert's Regiment Of Light Infantry. You might be interested in The British Empire's history of the Regiment and could perhaps get your hands on The History of the Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's) 1685-1914.

The crossed rifles indicates he's a qualified marksman.

The trefoils on his sleeves are, I believe, purely decorative.

The medals are too blurry to make out.

Two stripes on the left sleeve are Good Conduct stripes. Two indicates he's been in the service without being subject to formal discipline for at least 6 years and not more than 12. That they're on the left sleeve indicates this photo is after 1881.

Introduced in 1836, they were originally worn on the lower right sleeve and were worn by Privates, Lance-Corporals and Corporals. On 1 March 1881 a General Order moved them to the lower left sleeve.

As for his rank... he's not a commissioned officer. Good Conduct stripes were only given to Privates and Corporals. He has no rank chevrons so he's not a Corporal. He's a Private.


The photo shows him in India. The 2nd Battalion was there from 1881 until 1894. The 1st Battalion from 1893 until 1908. He’s wearing an ‘India Pattern’ 5-button frock, which was used in lieu of the full dress tunic towards the end of the 1890s. The 1st Battalion wore a red pagri (folded wrapping) around their helmet, which is what you see here.


I concur with most of the above but would add that the private soldier shown is a member of Prince Albert’s (Somersetshire Light Infantry) and wearing an unlined 5-button India Pattern frock (loose fitting jacket) as worn by British infantry in India and associated hot weather overseas garrisons. The trefoil cuff knot was a feature of that uniform. His two good conduct badges (stripes) indicate 5-years blemish free Regular Army service. The regiment had two such battalions and one served at home in Britain and Ireland and the other in garrisons overseas. Around every twenty years or so (it varied according to unforeseeable priorities at the time) they switched over. At that time the regiment’s 1st Battalion favoured a dark green pagri (wrap) around its white helmet, which can be seen on the chair beside him. He has a pocket watch fob hanging from the second button hole of his frock.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.