Saturday, 25 July 2015

When Rosie married Roy

The wedding of Rosie and Roy. Courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

In June 1992 someone found this photo at a Coburg Trash'n'Treasure sale and donated it to Coburg Historical Society. 

On the back are written the words 'To dear Auntie Annie. With best wishes from Rosie and Roy.'

But who are Rosie and Roy? And what is their connection, if any, to Coburg?

There are three men in uniform in the photo. Roy and one other are wearing officer's uniforms and a younger man, centre back row, is wearing a slouch hat. 

Roy has stripes on his uniform sleeve, and someone with a better knowledge of patches will be able to tell me who he served with. This detail from the larger photo shows the patch and stripes quite clearly:

The woman on the left of the photo is wearing some sort of service badge. I think she must be the mother of either Roy or Rosie, so I'm guessing it's a mother's badge, but I'm sure someone will let me know!

No one in the photo seems very happy, so perhaps Roy was about to sail for the Front. 

I have already eliminated all the servicemen with Roy in their names who had connections to Coburg.

They are:

6470 Private Roy Beattie, 14th Infantry Battalion. KIA, 11 April 1917, France.
8166 Private Percival Roy Bridger, 2nd Australian General Hospital.  Member of Coburg Harriers Club. 
7549 Sapper Roy Marcus Bright, 2nd Divisional Signal Company.
2813 Acting Corporal Roy Phillips Bromley, 29th Infantry Battalion, D Company. KIA 26 Sep 1917, France. Memorial service for the fallen, Coburg, February 1918. Memorial Avenues of trees, Coburg Lake. Memorial Avenue of Trees plan. Tree # 9.
2342 Albert Royston Chapman, 21st Infantry Battalion, 5th Reinforcements then 67th Infantry Battalion.
7362 Roy Rupert Davis, 8th LIght Horse Regiment.
Roy Cavanagh Downs.
16332 Private Alan Samuel Roy Ferguson, Hospital Transport Corps.
3390 Private Cecil Roy Hambridge, 58th Infantry Battalion..
5153 Private Alexander Roy Main, 8th Infantry Battalion.
626 Sapper Roy Gustav Nilsson, Tunnelling Company.
Roy McCowan Russell.
2nd Lieutenant (MGS) Roy Blamire Sewell, HQ Staff of 22nd Infantry Battalion.
Roy Booty (or Botty) Watson.
1187 Private Alfred Roy Werner, 38th Infantry Battalion, D Company.
2476  Private Walter Roy Wilson, 5th Infantry Battalion. KIA 18 August 1916.
2920 Signaller Roy Yorke, 6th Infantry Battalion. 

I am hoping that I will eventually be able to identify this couple, and the other servicemen in the photo, so any help you can offer will be very much appreciated!


  1. Hi Cheryl,

    Roy has been to the front and returned. The chevrons on the lower sleeve are years of service chevrons, and with so many, he must have embarked in 1914. I'm no expert in patches, but I think it is 4th Division Signal Company. 4th Division had the round patches. He has three pips on his epaulettes denoting Captain. So Captain Roy Something.

    The woman is wearing a Female Relative Badge. At the bottom of the badge is a bar which has a star for each relative involved in the war, but I can't distinguish that at this resolution. Maybe a good magnifying glass would help. I can imagine it would be very difficult after the war to be part of a celebration when you have lost someone in the war.

    I wonder if something could be dredged out of Trove with "Captain Roy" and Rosie, Rosemary, Rosalea, Rosina, Rose?

    1. Fantastic! Thanks, Lenore. You and Colin have added some valuable new information.
      I do have a high res copy of this image, but even so I couldn't make out the number of bars on the Female Relative Badge.
      Now that I know that the marriage must have taken place some time in 1919, I've got a little more to go on.
      I'm going to try my luck with Trove!
      Thanks again,

  2. The lieutenant on the left is wearing 5 chevrons. the darker blue ones represent years of service from 1914 and the paler red one is current year. I put the year of the photo as 1918 or even 1919 if these soldiers have just been demobbed just before the wedding. That could mean April 1919 at the earliest. the officer on the right looks to be in the 24th Battalion going by his shoulder patch.

    1. Thanks again, Colin. I didn't know about the chevrons, so thanks for that information. And it does look as though the wedding took place as late as 1919. I'll keep on looking for clues!

  3. 2nd Lieutenant (MGS) Roy Blamire Sewell, HQ Staff of 22nd Infantry Battalion. he married a Dorothy Skewes Opas in 1923.

    1. Hi Colin,
      I'd actually ruled him out as he didn't marry a Rosie/Rose/Rosalie and returned too early, but he is the only officer in the list I gave.
      I suspect the family either came to Coburg later or Auntie Annie lived in Coburg.

  4. The officer on the left. His shoulder patch resembles one from the 49th or 50th Battalion. I can't make out the insignia inside the patch.

  5. Looking at the bottom right corner, I'm pretty certain it says the photo was made by 'Dease Studios', Perth (Western Australia). Based on that, I'd say it's likely the 51st Bn which was a WA battalion (brown over light blue patch). The 51st was created in early 1916, after Gallipoli, from half new recruits and half 11th battalion men.

    However this man has the five service chevrons - the red one at the bottom, indicating he enlisted in 1914 and the four light blue ones indicating each year thereafter, 15, 16, 17 & 18. He also has the brass 'A' on his colour patch showing he served at Gallipoli.

    Therefore it's certain he must've originally enlisted in 1914 and served at Gallipoli with another unit - -possibly the 11th Bn from which the 51st was formed but that's not necessarily the case.

    1. Great observation Tim. I think this case will be closed in a reasonable time..

  6. Thank you so much for your response, Tim. So many people have helped out on this one and when you read the latest blog entry, you'll see that most of the mystery has been solved! Thanks for your contribution, especially regarding the 11th being reincarnated as the 51st. It's all starting to make sense now.