|The above two photographs chronicle the loss of two brothers in India. The cabinet photograph dating from the late 19th or early 20th Centuries shows
private Joe Stretton of the 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment). An inscription on the reverse mentions him as
"Uncle Joe Stretton" and that he passed away from yellow fever in India. Stretton had served some time in the military by the time this photograph
was taken - his left sleeve showing him with two Long Service & Good Conduct Stripes and well as being a qualified marksman and signaler.
The carte de visite, inscribed on the reverse in the same hand was I believe misidentified as James Stretton. This same inscription states this soldier
had also died in India but gives no additional details. I believe that this carte de visite actually depicts John William Stretton another brother of the
Joseph and John Stretton were two of four sons born to Joseph Stretton and his wife Betsy of Stockport, Lancashire. The eldest brother Richard was
born around 1869, John William was born around 1870, Joseph around 1871 and the youngest James about 1873. There was also one daughter Eliza
Ann born about 1875.
As stated above I believe that the family member who had inscribed these two photographs apparently many years later confused two of the Stretton
brothers when they identified the soldier depicted on the smaller carte de visite. The youngest of the brothers, James (whose name adorns the reverse
of the photograph) also served in the army, he attested with the 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards (No. 3643) at London on 5 April, 1892. The first
key is that the young soldier in the carte de visite is not wearing a Guards tunic but instead that of a post-1881 regular line battalion. The tunic's white
cuffs and collar confirm this. The second key point is that James Stretton's service papers confirm that he never served in India or over seas at all. He
in fact only served 1 year, 186 days with the battalion before being discharged in consequence of "frequent acts of committing nuisance and
The only other brother that this carte de visite could depict would be the youngest of the brothers, John. While no service papers for John Stretton
have been found the Army Death Register Index for 1891 lists John Stretton (no regiment listed) dying at Amritsar, Punjab, India in 1891 at the age of
20, which ironically was the youngest age allowed under the Cardwell Reforms for service in India.
The cabinet photograph at the top of the page would appear to have been correctly identified as Joseph Stretton. His uniform badges link him to the
Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) the 1st Battalion of which was stationed at Jubbulpore, India from around 1903 until about
1905. While once again no service papers have been found for Joseph Stretton the Army Death Register Index, this time for 1905 lists Joseph Stretton
dying at Jubbulpore in that year. Joseph Stretton had previously served with the South Lancashire Militia attesting on 10 February, 1892 as No. 3243.
His militia statement of services show him enlisting with the Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) on 7 August, 1894. At the time
of his death he would have served around 10 to 11 years with the colours. Additional confirmation at to Joseph Stretton's identity is provided in Army
Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929 which stated that No. 4452 Private Joseph Stretton of the 1/South Lancashire Regiment died at Jubbulpore on
7 September, 1905 with his next of kind being listed as his mother Betsy. The register also states that he attested with his regiment at Stockport on 7
I plan on obtaining death certificates for both men which may confirm the cause of Joseph's death as yellow fever and will shed light the cause of John
Stretton's death as well as his regimental affiliation.
|Private Joseph Stretton - 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment)
Brown & Sons - Photographer
C. P. Studio & Warehouse, Jubbulpore, India
|Private John Stretton - unidentified regiment
Carte de Visite
Jameson - Photographer
The Rembrandt Studio, 18 Friarsgate, Bridge Street, Warrington, Cheshire, England