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  #1  
Old 13-05-16, 06:17 PM
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Default Rifle Brigade in Peshawar - Photo

Thought I'd post this cracking picture I happened across recently during a sortie into the English countryside. A group photo depicting a number of officers of the Rifle Brigade, together with a brace of civilians. The officer seated (viewer's left) appears to have his right arm missing.

RB 1a.jpg RB 1b.jpg RB 1c.jpg
RB 1d.jpgRB 1e.jpgRB 1f.jpgRB 1gg.jpg

RB not being my area, and having had it listed for sale, I was very happy eventually to have had the opportunity to pass it on to a forum friend/RB aficionado.

Regards,

JT
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  #2  
Old 13-05-16, 06:23 PM
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Thank you JT, yes it is a fine image and one that I am very pleased to have thanks to your kindness and generosity.

I noticed this image listed for sale on EBay just over a week ago whilst looking with a view to listing some badges. The description was brief and the seller was My good friend and forum member Jelly Terror who I hadn’t happened to have been in touch with for a few weeks.

I contacted JT regarding the photo offering more information at which he most kindly offered to let me have it, knowing my main area of interest as he does.

I was able at that time to pass on to JT the identities and some details of the three officers that I recognised. I was able to identify these three members of the group contained in the image straight away upon seeing it as being officers of the 1st Battalion the Rifle Brigade serving during the inter war period with the Bn in India.

If I might digress briefly, - this Bn and its history, mainly post Great War until recently, has been of long term interest to me having been raised on stories of the Bn from my Grandfather who had served for 36 years in the Rifle Brigade between the years 1925 to 1961. Those members that recognise my user name may recall me mentioning this on the forum from time to time during my previous period as an active contributor. Having been asked numerous times by friends I made on the forum to consider a return to active membership I decided that now might be the time to do so and I set about further research to see what I could find from the regimental chronicles that I have access to with a view to posting.

Having embarked on the task of further identification of members of the group I was hard at it when I received the very sad news of the passing of long time member and good friend to many, Dave Cutforth. Dave was one of the friends who had repeatedly asked me to return to the fold and the news this week was the final decider and I asked Mike and the Mods if they would consider lifting my ban, which I am pleased to say was answered in the affirmative.
Hello again to those that know me and hello to any new comers who don’t yet. I hope you enjoy the thread.

Returning to the image in question, I was fairly confident that I would be able to identify the officers but didn’t hold out much hope of naming the Rifleman and even less of identifying the civilians, in fact no hope at all.
What follows is what I have discovered which I hope those who take the time to read it will find interesting.

Regards to all.

Ry
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  #3  
Old 13-05-16, 06:29 PM
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Default Date and Place

My first task was to try to date the image as accurately as possible and then to identify where it was taken.

The photography studio was as shown in Peshawar but the Bn hadn't been in Peshawar for some time prior to my estimated date of its being taken.

I will come back to these points later but first to the identities:

The Lt Colonel sitting front and centre is:

(1) Lt Colonel John Patrick Glandore Crosbie 1881-1951. Rifle Brigade

Lt Col J.P.G. Crosbie was a long serving RB officer who was commissioned in 1901 serving with the 2nd Bn Rifle Brigade in South Africa 1901-2 as well as in Egypt and India between 1903-11 being promoted to Lt in 1904.

He held the appointment of Adjutant of the 11th London Regt as a Captain from 1911-14 going on to command them in the Great War in France, The Balkans, Gallipoli and Egypt 1914-18 during which time he was wounded.

Promoted to Major in 1916 acting as Temp Lt Colonel 1916-19 and serving as a Brevet Lt Col since 1919. Going on to join the 4th Bn at Quetta and Gibraltar between 1919 &1922 and returning to the 2nd Bn serving at Chanak and in the UK until 1924.

Lt Col Crosbie then commanded the Rifle depot at Winchester for three years from 1924-27 prior to taking command 1RB in India in 1930, provisionally from 5th March and Officially from 1st May upon substantive promotion taking over from Lt Col H.M. (Jumbo) Wilson (Lord Wilson of Libya).

Returning to the Rifle Depot again as commandant for the years 1933-36 before retiring. His 2nd World War service between 1939 & 1945 was as Provost staff in London organising P.O.W. camps.

DSO 1917, QSAM (3), 1914-15S, BWM, VM, Def M, 1939-45 War M, MID (4).
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Last edited by Charlie 585; 13-05-16 at 09:55 PM. Reason: 11th London Regt not 24th typo error
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  #4  
Old 13-05-16, 06:38 PM
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Lt Col Crosbie was a much loved officer both by his men and his fellow officers.

Below is Col Crosbie's obituary which as you will see reflects my last statement:

Colonel J.P.G. Crosbie, D.S.O.

Colonel John Patrick Glandore Crosbie was the son of the late Captain Patrick Crosbie, of Colchester. Born 17th March 1881, he was gazetted to the Regiment from Harrow on 9th March 1901. He saw service in the South African War with the 2nd Battalion, and in 1914 - 18 he commanded the 11th London Regiment (TA), of which he had been Adjutant. Serving with them in France, the Balkans, Gallipoli and Egypt, he was mentioned four times in despatches, wounded, and awarded the D.S.O. in 1917 and the French Croix de Guerre.

I think it would almost true to say that before the last war Johnnie was one of the best known officers in the British Army, certainly in the Regiment, where he was known by every officer and rifleman.

I first met Johnnie at Aldershot in 1919 when he was second in command of the 4th Battalion, with whom he went to Quetta. We were together at the Rifle Depot when he took over command of the Rifle Brigade Depot in 1924 from Archie Tod. In 1930, when he succeeded "Jumbo" in command of the 1st Battalion at Jullundur, I became his Adjutant.

No one who came across Johnnie could fail to like him. His outstanding characteristic was his kindness. He would go out of his way to do acts of personal kindness which only the recipients ever heard of. He never said an unkind thing about anyone, and few people could have had more friends or fewer enemies. While never courting popularity, he was adored by the riflemen. Though he may not have been a good tactician, he was a great Rifleman, and no one was a stronger upholder of Regimental traditions. He set and expected a very high standard of Regimental conduct in all ranks.

However depressing the conditions, Johnnie's sense of humour never deserted him. Always gay and enjoying life to the full, he was a great tonic to all when things were going badly. Though quite a keen shot, Johnnie was no Walsingham, and it was to the horse that he really turned for his pleasure. A tremendous enthusiast as regards hunting and polo, he went out of his way to help and encourage the young officer, even to lending him his horses or polo ponies.

Throughout the whole of his time in command he did everything possible to foster polo in the 1st Battalion team, he nearly always raised a second team to take part in all the local tournaments. His faithful servant, Rifleman Amy, F., acted as his stud groom both at home and in India, where he was to be seen each morning before breakfast at the head of a string of ponies on early morning exercise. Johnnie did more than any officer to foster good relations between the Regiment and other Regiments in whatever station he happened to be quartered.

While at the Depot he kept his horses at Cowley barracks and hunted from there during his leave, with the Bicester, the South Oxfordshire, Old Berks and Heythrop Hunts.

He took great pains to revive the liaison with the 43rd and 52nd Light Infantry which had started the Peninsular War. He was the moving spirit in instituting the annual team match between the 2nd Battalion and the 43rd Light Infantry for the cup presented by the 43rd Light Infantry in 1924. He was a keen supporter of the Regimental Museum. It was during his command of the Depot that the Museum in its present form took shape. All who were with Johnnie in the 2nd Battalion or at the Depot in 1925 - 7 will remember his famous bull terrier "William" a dog which, like his master, had great personality.

In 1932 Johnnie took over command of the Rifle Depot from Eva Willan, retiring in 1936 when he went to live in Preston Candover. During the last war he served on the Provost Staff in London, organising prisoner of war camps, and was later attached to the Red Cross. He had been in failing health for the past eighteen months before his death, and would never have been able to lead an active life again. It was therefore best that he should have been spared any longer life as an invalid, a life which was so completely foreign to Johnnie's inclinations. We shall miss his stories, which still continue to be told in the Regiment.

A first rate Regimental officer, Johnnie enjoyed to the full his life in the Regiment -a life which is perhaps well summed up in the words he was himself so fond of quoting "Happy days! Happy Days!"

He died at Winchester on 29th November, 1951.

V.B.T. (Victor Buller Turner)
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Last edited by Charlie 585; 13-05-16 at 06:48 PM. Reason: 11th London Regt
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  #5  
Old 13-05-16, 06:58 PM
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Returning to the date of the photo, you will note that Lt Col Crosbie didn't assume command of the Bn until May 1930 (Officially). This gives us a provisional date range of between May 1930 and December of 1932 when the Bn left India to proceed to Sudan.

My first thoughts at seeing the Rifleman sitting on the ground was that the photo was pre 1932 due to the Bn adopting shorts in lieu of Pantaloons/breeches in that year, however, the rifleman is dressed for mounted service which ruled out this particular theory.
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  #6  
Old 13-05-16, 07:08 PM
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Absolutely outstanding, Ry. So much information from one photo.

Welcome back to the forum, by the way. Great to have you back.
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  #7  
Old 13-05-16, 07:24 PM
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Thank you JT,

I'm pleased to be back.

as for the photo there is more to come:

(2) Captain James Malcolm Leslie Renton. Rifle Brigade.

Captain J.M.L. Renton, nickname (‘Wingy’). 1898-1972. Joined the 2nd Bn RB in 1916/17, serving in France until losing his arm leading his platoon into battle attacking the Westhoek ridge at 10.15am on the 31st July 1917, this being the first day of the 3rd battle of Ypres (Passchendaele).

Promoted to Lt in October 1917 he went on to serve as Adjutant to the 3rd Bn in the UK and Ireland from 1920-22. He served as the DAAG Iraq Levies from 1922-27 becoming a Captain in 1924. Joining the 1st Bn in 1928 serving in India and Sudan before returning to the 2nd Bn at Malta in 1932, going on to serve with them in India, Palestine and commanding them in the western desert in 1941 having been promoted to Major in 1938 (also serving a term with the Burma defence force in this year). (A/Lt Col in 1940) serving as Commandant ME OCTU 1941-2, reaching Lt Col in 1943 (A/ Brigadier 1942) in Command of the 7 Motor Brigade [7th Armoured Division] & (A/Major General 1942) Commanding 7th Armoured Division prior to El Alemein. Promoted substantive Colonel whilst acting as (T/Major General) 1945 and gaining substantive rank of Brigadier in 1947. Renton served as Commander of the senior officer school in the UK during 1943-44 and as head of the British Mil Mission Iraqi army from 1944-48 retiring that year as Hon Major General.

CB 1948, DSO 1941, Bar to DSO 1942, OBE 1927, K st J, BWM, VM, GSM Kurdistan 1923, Iraq 1924-25, Palestine 1936-39, 1939-45 S, Africa S(8), Def M, War M, Foreign Decoration Order of Rafaidan. Deputy Lt Sussex 1956, JP 1949.
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Old 13-05-16, 07:27 PM
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Good stuff chaps!

Alli
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Old 13-05-16, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerlily View Post
Good stuff chaps!

Alli
Thank you Alli,

I'm especially pleased to have the image of Captain Renton, they are few and far between. With regard to his arm being lost it is reported in his Wikipedia listing that he lost the arm in 1942, I am pleased to be able to correct this and was extremely pleased to have found the account of the battle in the 1916 RB Chronicle.

Regards

Ry
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Old 13-05-16, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie 585 View Post
Thank you Alli,

I'm especially pleased to have the image of Captain Renton, they are few and far between. With regard to his arm being lost it is reported in his Wikipedia listing that he lost the arm in 1942, I am pleased to be able to correct this and was extremely pleased to have found the account of the battle in the 1916 RB Chronicle.

Regards

Ry
Its fantastic, thanks for sharing all that information. And JT as ever your a good lad

Alli
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  #11  
Old 13-05-16, 07:42 PM
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The next officer to be featured was known to me only in name, having been the Coy Commander of B Coy 1 RB, which was my Grandfather's Company. I am again pleased to have been able to put a face to the name, he was:

(3) Captain Ogilvie Blaire Graham. Rifle Brigade.

Captain O.B. Graham 1891-1971. An Ulsterman O.B. Graham Joined the Regt in 1912 Serving with 1RB in the UK and France from 1913-15 before a period with 5th Reserve (Militia) Bn at home (possibly wounded) until he went back to France in 1916 as an acting Lt Col (Substantive Rank Captain 1915) and served with 7th & 13th Bns winning the DSO in 1917.

He was Ch instr at IX Corps school & V Army school in 1918-19 before joining the 4th Bn as Adjutant serving in UK Quetta and Gibraltar 1919-22. From 1922-25 he was Adj of The LRB before re-joining 1RB commanding B Coy in India, Sudan, UK from 1926 until 1934 apart from a two-year stint at the depot 1928-30 being promoted Major in 1934.

He retired in 1935 as Hon Col but was active again as a TA Lt Col by 1937. He was recalled for war service at the outbreak of WW2 but not with the RB.

Lt Col O.B. Graham raised and commanded the Antrim coastal defence Battery RA (TA) going on to command 525 coastal defence Regt RA (TA) and all the fixed defences in N. Ireland for the duration of the war. Hon Col 429 (Antrim) coast Regt RA (TA) 1946-52. Married 1919 Winifred Harford MBE.

DSO 1917, OBE 1944, TD 1945, 1914S, BWM, VM, Def M, 1939-45 War M, MID (2) Deputy Lieutenant Co Down 1944, High Sheriff 1946.
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Old 13-05-16, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jelly Terror View Post
Absolutely outstanding, Ry. So much information from one photo.

Welcome back to the forum, by the way. Great to have you back.
I'll second that, on both counts
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Old 13-05-16, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nozzer View Post
I'll second that, on both counts
Many thanks Andy, that's very kind of you, on both counts. Our fine friend JT though deserves equal credit for his part in enabling me to post the info. I missed out on a cracking RB photo album from the period on EBay a while back which contained some fantastic images of the Bn in India which would have helped no end with my studies, I am glad to have had the opportunity that JT has put my way with this photo to carry out this research.

This leads me on to the next member of the group. A very well known officer of the Rifle Brigade and reportedly a true Gentleman, oh and also war hero:

(4) Lieutenant Victor Buller Turner V.C. Rifle Brigade.

Lt V.B. Turner 1900 -1972. Commissioned as a 2nd Lt Victor Turner joined the 1st Bn The Rifle Brigade in Iraq in 1919, being promoted to Lt in 1920 whilst serving as Instr school of Musketry Baghdad before relocating with the Bn to India in 1921. He was adjutant of the 1st Bn from 1931 until 1934 when they returned to Gosport having achieved the rank of Captain in November 1932. He then served as Adjutant of the London Rifle Brigade from 1934 to 1938 joining the re-formed 1st Bn in UK and the early western Desert Campaign until 1942, the original 1stBn having been decimated in the defence of Calais in 1940. He went on to Command 2 RB during the battle El Alemein in October 1942as A/Lt Col. He won his V.C. for ‘The Snipe’ action in the area of kidney Ridge at El Alemein for his part in the famous stand made by the Anti-Tank Gunners of 2RB & 7RB (1st Bn London RB) + RA A/T att’s who against overwhelming odds halted a series of heavy counter attacks by the Germans and Italians on the 26th&27th October. Fighting to the last round of the last gun and almost to the last man the anti-tank gunners manning their 6 pounders accounted for 57 enemy tanks knocked out with high numbers of light armoured and other enemy vehicles being destroyed.

His Victoria Cross Citation reads:

“For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the 27th October, 1942, in the Western Desert.

Lieutenant-Colonel Turner led a Battalion of the Rifle Brigade at night for 4,000 yards through difficult country to their objective, where 40 German prisoners were captured. He then organised the captured position for all-round defence; in this position he and his Battalion were continuously attacked from 5.30 a.m. to 7 p.m., unsupported and so isolated that replenishment of ammunition was impossible owing to the concentration and accuracy of the enemy fire.

During this time the Battalion was attacked by not less than 90 German tanks which advanced in successive waves. All of these were repulsed with a loss to the enemy of 35 tanks which were in flames, and not less than 20 more which had been immobilised. Throughout the action Lieutenant-Colonel Turner never ceased to go to each part of the front as it was threatened. Wherever the fire was heaviest, there he was to be found. In one case, finding a solitary six-pounder gun in action (the others being casualties) and manned only by another officer and a Sergeant, he acted as loader and with these two destroyed 5 enemy tanks. While doing this he was wounded in the head, but he refused all aid until the last tank was destroyed.

His personal gallantry and complete disregard of danger as he moved about encouraging his Battalion to resist to the last, resulted in the infliction of a severe defeat on the enemy tanks. He set an example of leadership and bravery which inspired his whole Battalion and which will remain an inspiration to the Brigade.”

Serving in staff appointments in the ME in 1943 he took command of 2Motor Trg Bn at Ranby UK in the same year that it was re-designated as 9RB [Trg Bn] in 1943 in recognition of the Bn which was formerly 1st Bn Tower Hamlets Rifles who were disbanded due to the losses they sustained in 1942 prior to Alemein never reforming as a fighting force. Their second Bn 10 RB going on to be brigaded with the 2nd and 7th Bns as 61st Infantry Brigade serving in the 6th Armoured Division in Italy 1944-45.

From 1945-46 Lt Col Turner was in command of the Green Jacket Training Bn in the UK having been promoted to substantive Lt Col in 1945, he resumed command of 2 RB in Germany from 1946-48 and retired from the army in 1949. He was Exon Yeoman of the Guard in 1950, Ensign 1952, and clerk of the cheque and Adjutant from 1955. Also holding the appointment Hon CO RB Cadets 1949-59.

VC 1942, GSM Iraq 1919-1920, 1939-45 S, Africa S (8), Def M, 1939-45 War M, Cor M 1953.
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Last edited by Charlie 585; 13-05-16 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 13-05-16, 07:58 PM
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Welcome back Ry, great to see you on here again Outstanding stuff mate, I can appreciate the good feeling identifying faces in photos, very rewarding work & a job well done, good old JT, he does turn up some wonderful photos, what a top bloke he is. Keep on posting Ry & hope to catch up again soon,
Best wishes,
Wilf
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Old 13-05-16, 08:03 PM
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Ry,

I cannot help but wonder about poor ol' matey down in the dirt. Do we know anything about this rifleman, other than he has had to learn to know his place?!


RB 1a.jpg
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