Sapper GW Flanagan's WW1 snaps

Discussion in 'Talk' started by Overseer, 23 February 2015.

  1. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    I came across some interesting photos taken during 1917 and 1918 by Sapper George Flanagan in the The State Library of Victoria collection. "George Downey Flanagan enlisted on 27 September 1916 and served as a sapper, initially in the 2nd Division Signal Company before transferring to the 4th Division Signal Company. He was repatriated to Australia on 1st July 1919."

    Leaving Port Melbourne, January 1917.
    Flanagan PM.jpg
    Any ideas for the location of this photo? Note the saddle tank on the train in the background.
    download-91 crop.jpg
    Presumably the Australian soldier guarding the milk can was not on official duty. The station looks familiar but where is it? There are a number of photos taken in Biggleswade and around Bedfordshire, as well as around East Anglia.
    GNR station.jpg
    George served in France and Belgium. This double headed high horsepower train trundles along beside a duck boarded path.
    Flanagan lr.jpg
    As well as taking plenty of photos of churches and other buildings there are a number of nice street scenes which would be useful for modelling.
    Flanagan shop.jpg
    These photos and the rest of the collection are available through Trove ( with high resolution scans. The quality of the images is not great although impressive considering the conditions they were taken in.
  2. jamiepage

    jamiepage Western Thunderer

    Superb find, thank you for flagging it up.
    The saddle tank may be working the Fovant Military Railway, and the photo could therefore have been taken from the footbridge at Dinton station (Salisbury to Yeovil). I can't confirm it because I can't for the moment find another photo which shows the waiting room. However, visible track plan, the coach, and the saddle tank suggest Dinton during the period the military railway was open (1915-26). If it is, the saddle tank still exists in preservation, I believe.
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  3. auld_boot

    auld_boot Western Thunderer

    One of his other pictures is of Hitchin shows Halseys which is now a Deli in the same building.
    And the street scene you have posted above is likely Hitchin as well (Paternoster and Hales were from that town) so could the station be Hitchin?

    Edited as I had overlooked that the street scene picture had been included in this thread (I got carried away viewing the pictures of Sapper Flanagan).
    Last edited: 23 February 2015
  4. jamiepage

    jamiepage Western Thunderer

    Still haven't googled up another photo of the Dinton waiting room, but herewith a snap of its 1915 trackplan which fits very well with the photo. (Not sure whether there is a copyright issue for the illustration?).
    The wagons would be sitting in the WD depot and the train arriving(?) from Fovant camp.
    Superb photo irrespective of location.
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  5. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    It's true that at least one of the locos is in preservation, Peckett, 1378 'Westminster', but not the one in the picture which, I'm reasonably certain, is a Manning, Wardle. I would agree that this picture shows Dinton, however.

  6. auld_boot

    auld_boot Western Thunderer

  7. auld_boot

    auld_boot Western Thunderer

  8. jamiepage

    jamiepage Western Thunderer

    Ah yes, good picture, thanks.
    Adam, thanks for the info
  9. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Letchworth Garden City makes sense, specially designed to suit the Garden City and only 4 years old at the time of the photo. Dinton and the Fovant Military Railway look right for the other station, not one I was familiar with. Thanks for the information.
  10. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    I was looking through some more online WW1 photo albums while searching for something else and came across these photographs which may be of interest. They were taken by AWL Ellis who seems to have been a mechanic with No 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps. The NSW State Library has three albums of Ellis's wartime snapshots including Egypt, Britain and the Western Front - lots of damaged biplanes and truck journeys through destroyed French towns.
    Ellis armoured train 1.jpg
    An external view of one of the armoured trains on the Suez Canal to El Arish railway across the Mediterranean end of the Sinai, built mostly in 1915. Note the Manning, Wardle petrol locomotive in the centre of the train. The Australian War Memorial has a number of photos of this (or very similar) train over a couple of years. The other photo is much more unusual as it shows the interior of the end armoured wagon complete with the gunners in position.
    Ellis armoured train 2.jpg
    I am not sure if the rolling stock is modified Egyptian Railways stock or War Department stock. Egyptian Railways had similar wagons with Fox patent bogies and pressed steel underframes.

    It amazes me how many of the Australian soldiers and support staff had cameras with them while they went to war and how freely they seem to have been able to photograph the action around them.
  11. jamiepage

    jamiepage Western Thunderer

    Excellent, thank you. Very interesting .
  12. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Another WW1 album appeared in a search for something totally different. This time it is an album of photos taken between 1916 and 1919 by Cecil Valrent de Putron Hitchcock, now held by the State Library of Victoria and available on line in high resolution, not sure of the link but a search for Cecil Hitchcock album on Trove should find it. Amongst the scenes of devastation there are a few rail subjects. Not exactly sure where these ones are, they are labelled 'La Flaque' which may not be the French name for a place as I think it means puddle. From other photos in the album I think it is east of Amiens. These images seem to be of German facilities left behind after a retreat, the ng track in the blacksmith shop does not look British and the sign in the second image says DURCHFAHN VERBOTEN which google suggests means no way through.
    Hitchcock 1s.jpg
    Hitchcock 2s.jpg
    I don't recognise the truck, is it a Hindenburg? or is the chap in front Hindenburg?
    Hitchcock 3s.jpg
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  13. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    I hope I am not boring people with these WW1 images but I keep finding more albums online and think they are amazing. It takes a special type of person to keep taking photographs through terrible conditions and to get them home at the end of it all. This time it is four albums of photographs taken by Lieutenant John Lindsay Ross of the 27th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force. They left Australia towards the end of 1915, stopped first in Egypt then to Gallipoli followed by France. Ross was injured and spent time recuperating in London and back in Melbourne before heading back to France to see the end of the War. He was in France well into 1919 then to England. Before returning to Australia he visited Wales, the Lake District and Scotland, including visiting relatives at the north tip of Skye. The albums are in the State Library of Victoria and are available in high resolution online through Trove.

    These are a selection of the photos, mostly with railway content. The first five are on the Suez Canal in February 1916.
    Ross ng suez track.jpg
    Ross suez ng.jpg
    Ross ng suez.jpg
    Ross ng2.jpg
    Ross ng1.jpg
    Looks like 750mm gauge equipment from Egypt. If anyone has more information on the trains and locations I would appreciate it.

    A couple that look like British carriages in Palestine.
    Ross Sinai 1.jpg
    Ross Sinai 2.jpg
    Has the glass been taken out of the windows? Or are they carriages from Egypt with drop lights?

    Anzac Cove.
    Ross Anzac Cove.jpg

    The things one finds in France-
    Ross Tank.jpg

    And in Wales in 1919 -
    Ross Snowdon.jpg

    I had hoped to find some Highland Railway detail photos but no, only some more distant views. First, Fortrose at the end of the Black Isle branch.
    Ross Fortrose.jpg

    Heading to Kyle of Lochalsh for Skye.
    Ross Loch Carron1.jpg
    Ross Loch Carron2.jpg

    Some of John Ross's relatives seem to have still been living in a black house on the north tip of Skye.
    Ross Skye.jpg
    This image interests me as it shows one of the traditional and distinctively Scottish style of stonework, large stones with small 'gallets' to fill the spaces between the large stones, which is not so commonly seen in black houses. Gallets are more common in mortared walls in Scotland. One of my reasons for interest in this style of wall building is that it is one of the identifying features of stone buildings built in Victoria by Scottish immigrants.
  14. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    A lovely selection of pictures there, Fraser. The carriages with the officers must have been built for Egypt, I think. The officers have their elbows resting on the tops of the drop lights and the carriage appears to have a double skinned roof, both features suggesting UK practice for stock built for warmer climes as does the absence of ventilator hood over the doors. The petrol-powered 0-4-0 is possibly by Hawthorne Leslie:

    there are more details halfway down this page: (and this tells us where the line was: This First World War view was taken on the 2ft 6ins gauge Port Said (east to) Mahembiya military line built by the British in 1916 as part of the Suez Canal defences. There were 23 of these 0-4-0P 55hp locos built by Hawthorn Leslie B/No. 3107-29 in 1915 as part of the RE "siege packs" and were ROD Nos. 61-83. All of these worked on various 2ft 6ins gauge lines in the Middle East in Egypt / Sinai / Palestine. The Port Said line was exclusively worked by petrol locos, including some by Avonside.)

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  15. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Another early WW1 photo which may be of interest. The caption says possibly Egypt but has no other information.
    Egypt glengarry s.jpg
    And a detail crop of the loco.
    Egypt LSWR s.jpg
    I was surprised to see the LSWR lettering on the tender, couldn't see a number but there is a stencilled Z on the lower corner of the cab.

    Can anyone identify the location, loco, the car (with wide rear wheels) or the uniforms? From the other photos in the collection the photographer was probably a pilot.
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  16. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    No idea, apart from the class of loco. Even without the tender lettering I could tell you that it's an LSWR 0395 class. Reference to the SEMG site shows that in war service most went to Palestine or 'Mesopotamia' rather than Egypt if that helps at all and most seem to have remained there. We can probably rule out Serbia, which had three of them, however.

    The chap in the car bearing a passable resemblance to Groucho Marx certainly has wings (of what appear to be Royal Flying Corps style) on his tunic and it seems the chap in the back seat does too which would support the pilot theory.

  17. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    Interesting. The three characters with the car seem to be wearing army kharki, but with differing insignia and head dress. The two in the car have pilots wings, the one standing has an observer brevet. I cannot positively identify the type of wings but they give me the impression of RAF wings rather than RFC. Because of the bonnet, the observer is clearly in the uniform of one of the Scotish regiments, but the observers brevet is RAF only. So they are dressed in army uniform but their insignia is RAF. Hence the photo has to be taken shortly after 1st April 1918.

    At first I thought the car might be a Bean 11.9 or more likely it's predecessor a Perry 11.9, a car that was supplied as a staff car. Now I'm not so sure. There is a lot of scrub grass for Egypt! The dog is a mutt. You need a Steph for the loco.
  18. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    The car is probably a Crossley tourer. The RFC, later RAF, was a big fan of Crossley motors, and many were used as runabouts and tenders from World War One right into the 1930s. The doubled rear wheels helped with traversing indifferent ground surfaces.

    The RAF continued to use Crossley vehicles into World War Two, most notably perhaps being purpose-built airfield crash tenders.
  19. Bob Reid

    Bob Reid Western Thunderer

    In that last shot could the regimental insignia be the Royal Flying Corps - the (I presume sapper / driver) chap on the left wearing an observers wing? and attached from one of the Scottish regiments judging by the Glengarry cap.... It could of course be the Australian Flying Corps in Egypt.

    Sorry Simon & Heather - cross posting there.....
  20. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    I'll bow to Simon on matters RFC/RAF. The scrub grass proves absolutely nothing, as a mate who does a lot of archaeological work in Egypt could tell you but there's an awful lot of land that could look like that all over the temperate zones. Still, since it probably isn't Egypt...