World War One Images; Help Required with Identification, Please!

I am currently writing my next book which has the working title ‘Charlie Payne’s Hatbox‘. It will be based on the experiences of my grandfather, Charlie Payne, during his wartime service (1916-1919).

I have a small number of photographs where it would be of great help if I could identify more of the individuals shown and obtain any further background information (context, translation etc).  Please check the photos out, add any comments, and  also alert any contacts that you have who may be able to help out.  Thanks, in anticipation, for your comments! Each photo can be enlarged by clicking on the image.

The photographs fall into three main categories:

1. Three photos taken during Charlie’s training (1916-1917) in the Clacton-on-Sea area, Essex, UK , as part of the 24th Provisional Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards).

2. Several photos of German origin, which I believe to have come into Charlie’s possession as battlefield souvenirs, or from German Prisoners of War during the last few months of 1918. At this time, Charlie was a Lewis gunner with the 5th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment; 62nd Division (Third Army).

3. Finally, there is a single pre-war photograph taken in Genoa in 1907 showing Charlie with two friends; all worked in the American Express Company offices in Genoa at that time.  I would like to obtain any information on these two friends.

Photographs taken in the Clacton area 1916-1917

1. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 1916, the following photo was taken of Charlie’s billet group. Charlie Payne is shown in the front row far right. I believe that the soldier on the far left, front row, was known as ‘Bill Adams’. The other two front row soldiers may have had the surnames ‘Jarvis’ (next to ‘Adams’; ‘Jarvis’ may have served previously in the Boer War as he has a medal ribbon), and ‘Jones’ (next to Charlie).  The soldier at the back, far left may have had the surname ‘Kitson’).

Billet Group

2. Training group at Jay Wick ‘Supports’ (Rifle ranges etc) taken in March/April 1917.  Charlie is in the second row from the front, third in from the left. Behind his left shoulder is ‘Kitson’, with the moustachioed ‘Jarvis’ sat next to Kitson. ‘Bill Adams’ is seated, far right, front row. The two men in white tops are the PT instructors or, as Charlie preferred to call them, the ‘Physical Torturers’.  Information on these, or any of the individuals in the photograph, would be very welcome

Jay Wick group(My thanks to Neville Sisson for greatly improving the image quality of the original photograph, as he has also done with the next photograph)

3. The Cookhouse team at Jay Wick ‘Supports’, March/April 1917.  My favorite photograph; so full of character.  ‘Kitson’ is probably third from left, back row. Can anybody name any of the others?

Cookhouse group, Jay Wick
Images of German Origin, 1918

4. Postcard taken at Easter 1918 of men serving on the German battle-cruiser SMS Seydlitz.   Can anyone help provide a partial or complete translation of the text? [See below: Translation provided via Jim Johnson; with my thanks to all involved] Does anybody know the identity of any of these men? According to the translated text, all the crew members shown on the postcard were from Binzengrund, and the writer of the card was known as ‘Joe’ to his friends.

SMS Seydlitz postcard; photoSMS Seydlitz postcard; text

Draft translation of text; showing German and English versions. Click on image to enlarge.

Draft translation of text; showing German and English versions. Click on image to enlarge.


5. German cartoon postcard. Does anyone have information of its context, or is it simply an amusing illustration that German soldiers may have sent home to their families. Is there any information about the postcard’s illustrator, ‘Hoffmann’?

Cartoon postcard of German soldiers crossing a river on a pontoon bridge

6. Unknown German Officer. Does anyone recognise the individual, or can provide some information on the uniform that may help identify the officer’s Unit, and the possible location of the photograph?

Unknown German Officer

Photograph taken in Genoa, spring/summer 1907

7. The photo shows Charlie Payne (standing), Ernest Bambridge (left) and Köth (centre; believed to be German; first name unknown but may  have been ‘Helmut’). Bambridge was born in West Ham, London and probably died in 1972, aged 89. Both Bambridge and Köth were working as Clerks at the American Express offices in Genoa,  Later in 1907 Bambridge was transferred to Naples. Köth may have later worked in the USA. Any information about Köth and Bambridge would be most welcome.

Charlie Payne with Ernest Bambridge and Koth

Even if you have no information to offer, I hope that you have enjoyed the photographs.  If you have friends or contacts who you think might possibly be able to provide some information of value, please alert them to this blog post. You may also be interested in other posts on this Blog or at my Website.





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4 Responses to World War One Images; Help Required with Identification, Please!

  1. TanteMu says:

    Well, one thing I can say right away: The German officer isn’t one. No shoulder boards, simple Litzen on the collar, cut etc of uniform… Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell anything else.

    The German cartoon postcard is obvioulsy from a series. THe child-like appearance of the soldiers was a common thing a llustraions of hat sort on all sides. The caption translates to “advance over pontoon bridge”, btw.

    As for the Sedlitz postcard: The sender seams to call himself Seppel (so likely his first name was Joseph, and he may have been Bavarian.) And it looks like he was addressing a “Lieber” soandso. “Lieber” being the male form of “dear”, he was writing to a male recipient.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for your comments TanteMu. My lack of knowledge of German uniforms is profound, so thanks for your correction of my mistaken belief that he was an officer. Someone else has offered to try to translate the German text so I will pass your comments on to them. I realise that the probability of getting any specific identifications of individuals is probably less than the chance of winning the lottery, but here’s hoping!

  3. Neville Sisson says:

    Hi Chris,

    I took up the ‘cartoon challenge’ this evening and tried ‘googling’ “Adolf Hoffmann with little success, however, if one ‘googles’ “Ad. Hoffmann” and selects images, dozens of different card images by him pop up.

    Hope this helps in some small way.


  4. admin says:

    Thanks Neville. Evidence that humour helped the soldiers on both ‘sides’ of the conflict.

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