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General Philatelic/Identify This? : Another mystery real photo picture postcard

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roy
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21 Oct 2021
09:39:08am
Another mystery real photo postcard has crossed my desk. Here it is. Maybe together we can figure this one out too.

It appears to me to be a WWI era ceremony, based on the number of different military uniforms, presence of civilians, a large wreath(?) in the background.

There are no useful markings on the back.

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Now, the fun part, the enlargements:

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If anybody would like to play with the original 1200 dpi scan, you can grab it here:

https://www.buckacover.com/temp/unknown2-pc-1200dpi.jpg

Be aware, it's 3.5MB in size.


Roy

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DannyS
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21 Oct 2021
09:47:15am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Well more than one national military uniform and I'm guessing WWI period. Somewhere in the Balkans?

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Jansimon
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21 Oct 2021
09:57:10am

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

that was my first thought as well. The cap with the feather and the jacket that is only closed at the top all look very Balkan-like to me. Hungarian?
I also think that this is some kind of ceremony in which soldiers of different armies take part. Some of the officers in the back could be French

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Jansimon
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21 Oct 2021
10:19:49am

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

I asked a friend who is into military history and this is what he says after looking at the photo for 10 minutes:

The soldier in the middle is French, hidden behind him is an Italian. The soldiers on the left are Montenegran (or whatever one calls someone from Montenegro). On the right are a few other nationalities. I think this is some kind of ceremony after WW 1. The allies had a joint army on the Balkan consisting of British, French, Serbians and others who fought a combined German-Austrian coalition. This seems to be a medal awarding ceremony.

He also thinks this is part of a series.

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Jansimon
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21 Oct 2021
10:24:24am

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

The guy on the right with the large white shako / hat is probably Serbian cavalry or a cossack.

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amsd
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21 Oct 2021
10:54:45am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

if these are Serbs, French, Montenegrans, and Italians, unlikely we'd see Hungarians, as they were aligned with Austria and Germany.

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Jansimon
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21 Oct 2021
12:08:08pm

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

I agree. That was just my uneducated guess before I asked my far more knowledgeable friend to give his opinion.

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Sarge
21 Oct 2021
02:46:01pm
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

It is a medal for valor and promotion ceremony.

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Kapul
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30 Oct 2021
05:28:14pm
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Sarge, I hope you are right. I get a very sinister feeling from the photo as if an execution is about to take place. A lot of the background civilian personnel are holding their hats in their hands!!!.
What I can't understand is the small pile of bricks in front of the saluting soldier.
I hope I am wrong.

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smauggie
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30 Oct 2021
05:52:25pm
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Quote:

"I get a very sinister feeling from the photo as if an execution is about to take place. A lot of the background civilian personnel are holding their hats in their hands!!!."



I kept trying to think of what this could be. Once I read your post it seems obvious to me that that is what is taking place.
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Jansimon
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30 Oct 2021
06:05:20pm

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

I think that would be unlikely. Why would they all be saluting in that case, including the one supposedly being executed? And yes, some have taken off their hats, but most haven't. To me this brings up more questions than answers.
I guess we will never know all the details about this scene.

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Strider
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30 Oct 2021
06:43:28pm
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Two things suggest it's not an execution. First, so many people are smiling and looking like it's a happy occasion. Secondly there are several children or young boys present.

But it does look like the two men to left and right are preparing to grab the central figure. Has he just completed some great feat of endurance, and they think he's about to collapse?

But it looks like a happy occasion to me.

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Kapul
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31 Oct 2021
03:32:21am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

The soldier who is standing behind the main character also has an aggressive stance.
But what are the bricks in front of the soldier -- I think they have something to do with the answer.

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Kapul
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31 Oct 2021
03:43:44am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Some of the crowd may look happy especially if this soldier had aggrieved them in some way.
Also what is the pile of freshly dug earth.
If it was something of valour I would have thought the surrounding would have been better.

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DaveSheridan
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31 Oct 2021
04:26:59am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

I don't think any military execution has ever taken place where the victim is in full dress uniform with medals and insignia.

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Opa
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31 Oct 2021
06:11:19am

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Just a guess, could this be a Maypole setting festival or the like? Looking at the picture there is a
hole in the ground by the feet of the soldier to the right. There is a large wreath in the background between the two on the left that seems to be fixed to a large round wagon wheel or something similar.

Also many of the people seem to be smilling, I could not imagine them doing that if there was a exacution taking place. Ther soldiers may just have been invited to take part.


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mbo1142
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31 Oct 2021
07:06:37am

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

May be a ground breaking ceremony or such. But why the soldier saluting, may be welcoming an incoming dignitary.

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angore
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31 Oct 2021
07:36:08am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

I would guess some kind of war memorial is being started and they may have raised as flag.

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1106
31 Oct 2021
07:34:57pm
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

opening of the first starbucks.....

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sheepshanks
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31 Oct 2021
08:43:57pm
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Roy, not sure if my eyes are playing tricks but in the grass, below bricks and to the left, there appears to be some writing, not that I can properly make out any words, my brain is saying the second word is captain.
Also on the right hand side of the photo, just above the path there appears to be something that looks like two lines of squiggle extending across the border of the photo.
Have been trying to pin down the 4 stripe chevron on the soldier looking like he is falling over, but no joy.

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DaveSheridan
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01 Nov 2021
05:58:32am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

The 4 stripe chevron is chevrons d’ancienneté de présence , a French honour system to identify service, and is not rank-related. One chevron was awarded after 1 year on the front line, and one chevron every six months after that. So this soldier served 2½ years on the front line. The award was introduced in April 1916, so this image is definitely post-WW1

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Jansimon
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01 Nov 2021
06:17:36am

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

That's valuable information. It confirms some of the things my friend said, namely that the central figure is French and that it is after WW1. He would have liked to hear this, but unfortunately I won't be able to inform him of these new discoveries, because he passed away just a few days after I spoke with him about this. It was completely unexpected.
Next Thursday I have a cremation to attend... :-(

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DaveSheridan
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01 Nov 2021
06:39:52am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

I'm so sorry to hear that sad news.

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DannyS
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01 Nov 2021
08:40:09am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

That is very sad.

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Sarge
01 Nov 2021
09:31:23am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

Several things stand out to me that support my assessment of the post card. There are more than one country's service members present in the photo. France, Belgium, Britain, Luxembourg, Canada and even a service member from the United States Expeditionary Forces a Marine. There are several other counties representing their nation that I can't make out. The guide on bearer for example his hat has a feather on it
It wasn't uncommon for France and other countries during this time period to present foreign volunteer service members with medals for valor or more notably medals for extreme feats of heroism.

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Jansimon
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01 Nov 2021
09:39:53am

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

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These two were identified as being Montenegrin.

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DaveSheridan
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01 Nov 2021
09:44:15am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Maybe it could be a memorial consecration/ground-breaking ceremony? Don't laugh, but maybe each country brought a few bricks to form part of the memorial?

Something does bother me, and that's the salute from the French soldier. It seems unusual

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Jansimon
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01 Nov 2021
09:52:07am

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re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

It does explain a few things: the bricks, the dug earth.

What is so unusual about the salute? The position of his right arm?

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Sarge
01 Nov 2021
09:53:05am
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

It its very likely that he is reciting an oath to the service member being honored that the service member is repeating. When I re-enlisted for example I had to raise my had in such a manner and repeat after the commanding officer my loath to him or her and sometimes my family members along with foreign dignitaries were present at such ceremonies. I served for over 21 years in the US Army.

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pigdoc
01 Nov 2021
04:58:54pm
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Well, if you look at the ground, there's a shadow, obviously from someone standing just out-of-frame, to the left. It looks to me like many of the people in the image (including the soldier in the center) are focused on this person. I would guess, it's some dignitary leading the ceremony.

Not to distract from roy's VERY intriguing card, here's one that Tom traded to me:
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It's an interesting period piece. The crew are digging a trench for a sewer line, which can be seen lying on the ground near the edge of the street. The action has attracted quite a crowd! It looks like the engine in the track-driven machine is running, as the spokes in the flywheel and the large drive pulley are a blur. Since there is no boiler, I believe it is powered by a kerosene 'oil-pull' type engine, perhaps manufactured by Rumely, which, according to wikipedia:

Quote:

"Rumely's most famous product, the Rumely Oil Pull tractors, powered by hot-bulb engine using kerosene, was first developed in 1909 and began selling to the public by 1910."


Quite a man-eater!

You can see "DRY G" (DRY GOODS) on the sign on the store in the background, and perhaps the proprietor's name is at the top, starting with "HER..."

Any ideas about which city/town this is in?

The postcard is a divided-back, unused, by VELOX.

-Paul

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BigP
01 Nov 2021
10:34:40pm
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

Quote:

"Roy, not sure if my eyes are playing tricks but in the grass, below bricks and to the left, there appears to be some writing, not that I can properly make out any words, my brain is saying the second word is captain."



There does indeed seem to be writing in the lower left, but I haven't the eyes to make out "Captain." Perhaps a high-res scan of that portion is in order.

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Cattywumpuss
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24 Nov 2021
05:47:01pm
re: Another mystery real photo picture postcard

I'm sure somebody already thought of this, and in that case you can all have a chuckle, but have you tried a reverse image search? See if the photograph is online anywhere else? If its an old photo then its possible it may have been reproduced and explained elsewhere over time.

I'm currently on a lunch break at work so try not to do too much on the computer or I would try it myself. Just a suggestion that I didn't see in the thread already.

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