Photo Quiz

The Great War: Vimy Ridge
George Van Wyck Laughton, M.C.

Canadian - Serving in the British 3rd Army, 34th Division,  
26th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (Tyneside Irish)


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This page last updated on February 01, 2013




Here are three different photographs that I have of Grandfather George Van Wyck Laughton, M.C. in his glory of surviving WW1.  I wish it could have been the same for all Canadians, but it wasn't.  Every time I work on this project, I think of the men and women (and the others, as my wife tells me) that did not come home.  I am just a grandson, and it brings tears to my eyes some 90 years later, so I can't imagine what it must have been like for the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children!

Grandfather Laughton left Canada in the CEF and later joined the BEF as an officer.  Some training in England apparently occurred after the reorganization of the CEF (they dumped a lot of officers in the 8 for 4 split) and the drop in the Canadian officers in training from the University Corps.

I am fortunate that I have somehow ended up with key components of his memorabilia, as my parents house burnt to the ground (with me in it) in 1967 and most of the items were destroyed.  My grandmother. apparently if not fortunately, kept key items that were not passed on to my father, others I have but they are in ruins (medals, souvenirs, etc.) yet in some sense still valuable.

As the CEF Study Group has progressed I have learnt more than one could imagine.  One recent example is what you can learn from a photograph.  What one initially sees is a mere fraction of what the photograph presents.  That sent me back to look at what photographs I had and what "I" and "We" could learn from those relics.  I would have never looked at these in the same light, and now I look forward to what others can say, tell, describe, depict, predict, hypothesize, summarize or guess.

Here is what I have and what little I can tell you to start.  Whatever you tell me will go on the web page to document this adventure, so here we go .... what do you see that I don't see! (click on the photos for the original size)


Photo 1


This is a cropped photograph of a much larger picture that I had thought was part of a sequence with Photo 2 as they were filed together, I assumed that they were of the same day.  As time went on I realized that the background was a statue of Queen Victoria.  

I also note from this photo that grandfather Laughton has different cuffs on this jacket and does not have the marks on his left sleeve that are in Photo 2 and Photo 3.  He also appears to have a CEF cap badge, not the 26th NF badge show in the other photos.  Perhaps this perhaps was taken when he was in England at the time he was moving from the CEF to the BEF and was at Officers Training in the UK?  

Time for a trip to our Parliament Buildings in Toronto to see if there is a statue of Queen Victoria in the area.  If not, where was this taken and when?


Photo 2


This is my Avatar and the one that I always prized as the grandson, as it depicts Grandfather Laughton outside the Ontario Legislature on the day he was presented the Military Cross by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.  Only in colonies do we carry on those traditions.

Different from the photo that follows, you will note that he is wearing his MC.  I have the papers that go with this photo that do indicate that this picture was taken outside the Ontario Legislature Building in University Avenue in Toronto (Ontario, Canada).

From what I can see in this photograph, George now has his cap badge of the Tyneside Irish, 26th Northumberland Fusiliers.  I am fortunate that I have all his badges and buttons (but not the uniform) so I can do my best to match what is in the photos as compared to what I can hold in my hand.  I wish I had a better photo of the shoulders and what is placed in that location ... and the buttons... I have more than what he is wearing?

Photo 3


My initial thought was that this was a Pre-War picture of George, as it is from London, Ontario (close to the family home in Parkhill, Ontario).  To me he looked younger than in the other photos, and more if he was dressed to "go away", perhaps the family never expecting him to return.  

The CEF Study Group taught me not to "take what you see for granted" and so after further review I noticed that my initial thoughts were incorrect.  I believe he has the NF 26th Cap Badge and I know for a fact that over his left pocket he has the 26th NF bars (I fortunately have those so I could confirm them as exact items).  He could not have had those in a pre-war photo.  

The other items that may be buttons and badges are posted her in further detail "Buttons and Stuff" in response to an earlier CEF Study Group inquiry.

Looks like leather boots and not puttees, as in the other two photos, but perhaps the same cane?


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