5TH ROW, 1918 COLCHESTER MILITARY HOSPITAL PHOTOGRAPH

5th/Back Row Nos. 1 – 29 : PRIVATES

Royal Army Medical Corps Privates. General Military Hospital, Colchester. July 1918.

Royal Army Medical Corps Privates. General Military Hospital, Colchester. July 1918.

‘Private’ is the most junior rank in the Army.


5th/Back Row Nos. 30 to 37 : RETIRED  SERVICEMEN VOLUNTEERS (?)

Retired Servicemen. General Military Hospital, Colchester. July 1918.

Retired Servicemen. General Military Hospital, Colchester. July 1918.

The eight civilian-dressed older gentlemen, shown above, are probably retired servicemen who have volunteered to “do their bit” at home, in any way they could.   The men are probably retired ‘rankers’ …. Privates.

Two of the men (numbers 32 & 34) are wearing a regimental lapel badge which does add weight to this ‘retired soldier’ theory.      Although images are not very clear, they suggest that number 32 man is wearing a Royal Army Medical Corps badge and number 34 could be wearing an Army Catering Corps badge.

During WW1, quite a few military establishments in the UK employed ex-soldiers in all sorts of jobs e.g. clerical; store-keeping; maintenance; catering etc.


5th/Back Row No. 38 : MILITARY  PROVOST  STAFF  CORPS – Security

Military Provost Staff Corps member. General Military Hospital, Colchester. July 1918.

Military Provost Staff Corps member. General Military Hospital, Colchester. July 1918.

The gentleman, shown above, is probably a member of the Military Provost Guard Service.  The M.P.G.S.  is a unit dedicated to the guarding of military sites, allowing the army to replace civilian guards with trained soldiers.  The M.P.G.S. has responsibilities at sites belonging to all three services.

The Provost branch within the Army also has two other sections:-

Military Provost Staff:  The M.P.S. is the element of the provost branch responsible for administering military prisons.   The M.P.S. is one of the few sections within the army that does not recruit directly – its members are volunteers from other branches of the Army. The M.P.S. retains the cap badge and traditions of the Military Provost Staff Corps.

Royal Military Police:  The R.M.P. provides the army’s policing services, both in peacetime and in wartime.  Units of the R.M.P. are trained to deploy with the Field Army in the event of mobilisation.


5th/Back Row Nos. 39 to 63 : PRIVATES

Royal Army Medical Corps Privates. General Military Hospital, Colchester. July 1918.

Royal Army Medical Corps Privates. General Military Hospital, Colchester. July 1918.

‘Private’ is the most junior rank in the Army.


NEXT:  BELTS : worn by the men in the 1918 photograph

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