I am trying to identify the person in this WWI era photograph. I believe it may be my great great uncle John Hunt Marshall born Dec 29 1893 in Motherwell, Scotland. He graduated with a BSc from the University of Glasgow in 1913 and after the war was an engineering draftsman. I am not certain that this is him, however.

As such, is anyone able to identify the rank and regiment from the cap and lapel badges in the photograph taken at Romney, 534 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow?

enter image description here

  • 1
    Not he (almost certainly), but enough similarities to be of possible interest. universitystory.gla.ac.uk/ww1-biography/?id=2315 | University of Glasgow ... Engineering degree. ... passed his exams in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry in 1913 and volunteered for service, ... temporary 2nd Lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry. ... later transferred to the Regular Army, entering Woolwich Military Academy ... became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery. ... death at the Battle of Passchendaele on 22nd October 1917. A shell landed on his battery position Jan 22, 2020 at 8:29

3 Answers 3


I agree with Kobunite, but by a different route. I can't make out the cap badge well enough to identify it positively, but the collar badges are either Royal Artillery or Royal Engineers, which are quite similar. The cap badge definitely isn't Royal Artillery, which looks like this:

Royal Artillery cap badge

So he's Royal Engineers. The uniform is that of a commissioned officer: the diagonal strap is part of a "Sam Browne" belt, which were only worn by officers in the British Army.

The rank insignia would be on the jacket sleeves (until 1920), and we can't see them. Several things indicate the subject is likely a newly-commissioned officer, including his age, the poor fit of the uniform around the shoulders showing that it is not tailored for him, and the lack of any decorations or campaign ribbons. So he's probably a Second Lieutenant, the starting rank for officers. The style of the photograph looks like the ones that soldiers often had taken to send to relatives, but that's an impression, rather than hard fact.

It's very plausible that any one with a B.Sc. in an engineering-related subject would be commissioned in the Royal Engineers during WWI.

  • 1
    Thank you kindly Jan 20, 2020 at 20:06
  • 5
    Until around 1920, most officers' rank badges were worn on the sleeves, not the shoulders. Jan 21, 2020 at 17:35
  • 1
    @MichaelHarvey: Thanks, fixed. Jan 21, 2020 at 19:46
  • 1
    @MichaelHarvey If that's so, what is this person carrying on his shoulders? It definitely looks like a slip-on for rank.
    – Mast
    Jan 22, 2020 at 9:56
  • 1
    @LаngLаngС: Removed that. Jan 23, 2020 at 20:19

Starting with the regiment - looking at the cap badge (see below), I believe that he was in the Corps of Royal Engineers.


The uniform appears to be that of a commissioned officer, however the exact rank will be difficult as the British Army wears rank insignia on the shoulder boards and sleeves.

  • To me the lapel badge looks a bit like a fuisilier's badge, or a grenadier's badge. Interpreting the blob on top as a bunch of flames instead of a crown. Jan 20, 2020 at 19:26
  • @kimchilover Both Engineers and Artillery wear a very similar bomb (in various locations) and also share the same motto: "Ubique".
    – MikeB
    Nov 7, 2023 at 17:05

I would agree with Royal Engineers. The lapel badge of the Royal Fusiliers, although similar to the RE, is more "splayed - eg

enter image description here!


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.