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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree May 2019 > Your questions answered

Your questions answered

With our panel of experts Jayne Shrimpton, Steven Smyrl, David Annal, Tim Lovering, and Christine Wibberley
When deciphering old family military pictures always check out the cap badge first. In this instance, it clearly shows the flaming grenage and image of the Sphynx – revealing that this chap served in the Lancashire Fusiliers

Q Joseph Harding was born on 7 February 1873 in Opershaw/Gorton, and died on 31 October 1923 age 50, and I think this photo must be Joseph. I don’t know why my gran would have kept a photo of a soldier other than a family member. I have no details of his service records, however, my gran used to talk about the 8th Ardwick Regiment in Manchester. Is it possible to find out more about his Army life and regiment?

Maureen Craword

AThe gentleman holding the seal is wearing the standard khaki service uniform used by the British Army throughout the First World War.

The identifying feature is his cap badge, which is that of the Lancashire Fusiliers – a flaming grenade bearing the image of the Sphynx, above a distinctive angular scroll. The ‘8th Ardwick Regiment’ is a reference to the 8th Ardwick Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, a different regiment from the Lancashire Fusiliers. However, it was not unusual for men to serve in more than one regiment during the war, so it is quite possible that Joseph served in both the 8th Ardwick Battalion and in the Lancashire Fusiliers at different times.

I have searched the surviving Army service records, available online on Ancestry.co.uk, and found one Joseph Harding who served with the Manchester Regiment and another with the Lancashire Fusiliers. However, neither of these is a match for his date or place of birth. It is not unusual to find no record, as well over half of all First World War British soldiers’ service records were destroyed during the Second World War.

I also searched records of First World War campaign medals and found no likely candidates in either the Manchester Regiment or the Lancashire Fusiliers. This may indicate that Joseph did not qualify for any campaign medals, which would typically mean that he did not serve overseas during the war (unlike the Second World War, home service did not qualify for the War or Victory medals). Without any accessible record it is difficult to speculate further about Joseph’s service based on the photograph.

It is worth considering the possibility that he continued to serve after 1920, in which case his service record may still be with the Ministry of Defence. To check this, you can apply to the MoD by completing a request form and a search form which can be downloaded and printed from

https://www.gov.uk/get-copymilitary- service-records/apply-forsomeone- elses-records TL

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Discover the rich records of the golden era of family history, as we trace our ancestors from the Victorian age. Reflect on your roots and sense of identity. And make use of 25 fabulous free resources to learn more about your kin. From DNA sleuthing tips to document research skills, and family stories - find all this and more in Family Tree...