W & S Nelson - Photographers
Fleet Street, Torquay, Devonshire, England
1900 - 1903
Every so often a British Tar finds his way into the ranks of Soldiers of the Queen. In these rare few occurrences this due to
the remote corner of the world where the photograph in question was taken or because the pictured seaman is wearing a
medal or medals showing him to have seen some active service as a member of an armed landing party of Naval Brigade.
This example falls into the later category
This man wears the badge of a Chief Petty Officer on his left sleeve with two good conduct chevrons below. These two badges
would signify at least 8 years of exemplary service at the time this photograph was taken. On his right sleeve he wears the
badge of a Leading Torpedo Man. This specific design consisting of a star above a crossed gun and torpedo was in used
between 1890 and 1903 which helps to bracket a date for the image
He also wears a single clasped East and West Africa Medal on his jumper. This medal was issued for smaller actions and
punitive expeditions in as the name implies East and West Africa between 1887 and 1900. This also helps to narrow down a
possible date for the image of probably between 1900 and 1903.
Unfortunately the man chose not to be photographed without his cap which would have told us on which ship he was serving -
possibly the one of which he was a crew member when he earned the campaign medal. There would also have been a good
chance of identifying him.