4 inches by 5 1/2 inches (10cm x 14.2 cm)
Odd? Defiantly a novelty, this photograph shows A/Corporal Bugler W. E. Govier of the 4th Battalion, Rifle Brigadestanding next to his commanding
officer Lt. Col. the Honorable M. Curzon. Govier stood four feet, nine inches tall while Curzon stood six foot, four inches. The photograph was cut
from an album.
Walter Edward Govier was quite an interesting character. His apparent lack of physical height does not seem to have been much of a hindrance to
him during his military career or afterward. The 1901 book The Rifle Brigade Chronicle by Lieut.-Colonel Willoughby Verner mentions Govier
several times. He seemed to have had a certain theatrical bent to his nature as he is mentioned as regularly taking part in regimental stage
productions one of which included his role as Sergeant Pipo-de-Clayo. He is also listed along with his brother amongst the "Sons of the Regiment",
his father Edward Govier having served as a Rifleman in the 3rd Battalion.
Govier is pictured above as an Acting-Corporal but when The Rifle Brigade Chronicle was published in 1907 he is listed as having been promoted to
Band-Sergeant and well as being granted the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal in 1897.
Govier's service records states the he enlisted with the 1st Battalion, the Rifle Brigade on 24 July, 1879 at the age of 14. His rank given as Boy. He
transferred to the 3rd Battalion as a Boy on 24 September, 1880. He was granted his first Good Conduct Pay on 25 July, 1882.
Govier was promoted Private on 24 July, 1882 after attaining the age of 17.
Appointed Musician - 16 July, 1884
Appointed Acting Band Corporal - 14 May, 1889
Promoted Band Corporal - 11 January, 1896
Promoted Band Sergeant - 15 January, 1897
Awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal - 1 October, 1899
Discharged as Band Sergeant - 30 April, 1901
Goveir's postings included:
Home: 24 July, 1879 - 20 February, 1885
Gibraltar: 21 February, 1885 - 10 June, 1886
Home: 11 June, 1886 - 18 October, 1887
Egypt: 19 October, 1887 - 1 August, 1888
South Africa: 2 August, 1888 - 1 February, 1889
India: 2 February, 1889 - 9 April, 1901
Home: 10 April, 1901 - 30 April, 1901
Govier married Miss Ellen Mary Clarke at Christ Church, Surrey on 6 July, 1886. They has at least two children, Mabel Florence born on 26 June.
1896 and Walter Leslie born on 2 February, 18, 1900.
Another Sergeant serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade the same time as Walter Edward Govier was one No. 5525 Sergeant Harry
Govier, also a "Son of the Regiment". These two men appear to have been brothers.
After leaving the colours Govier became the principal attendant at the War Office library and authored a memoir titled Family Recollections:
Memoirs of a Victorian Soldier. This memoir was published in by Eric Price in 1993.
At the time of his discharge Govier was listed as being 35 years, 7 months old and 4 feet, 10 1/2 inches tall. He seems to have had grown a bit since
the above photograph was taken.
Govier returned to service with the Rifle Brigade during World War I. His medal index card lists him at his former rank of Band Sergeant and as
being entitled to the Meritorious Service Medal.
Walter Edward Govier passed away on 17 December 1947 in Buckinghamshire.
|Govier's officer, Colonel the Hon, Montegu "Monny" Curzon was the born on 21 September 1846 being the eldest son of Richard Curzon-Howe, 1st
Earl Howe, by his second wife Anne, daughter of Vice-Admiral Sir John Gore.
2nd Lieutenant, 98th Regiment of Foot - 10 November, 1865
Transferred to the Rifle Brigade - 10 November, 1865
Lieutenant - 19 January, 1870
Captain - 2 March, 1878
Major - 9 April, 1882
Lieutenant Colonel - 15 October, 1893
Colonel - 15 October, 1897
Half-Pay - 15 October, 1897
Retired - 25 March, 1903
The Rifle Brigade Chronicle mentions Curzon serving in Canada during the Fenian Raids and being entitled to the Canada General Service Medal with
the "Fenian Raid 1866" clasp. He was in command of the 3rd Battalion under Sir William Lockhart with the Tochi Valley Field Force and received the
1895-1902 India General Service Medal with the "Punjab Frontier 1897-98" Clasp as well as being mentioned in despatches.
Curzon married Esmé Fitzroy the daughter of Francis Horatio Fitzroy of Frogmore Park, Blackwater, Hants in 1886. They had one son and one
He served in Parliament for Leicestershire North from 1883 until 1885 when the constituency was abolished.
The Chronicle states that Curzon's health was for all intents ruined during his time in the Tochi Valley but as was so common at the time he soldiered
on and "persistently declined to admit that aught was the matter with him." He died suddenly on 1 September, 1907 at his home, Garats-Hay,
Loughborough - after attending a meeting of the County Council and playing an afternoon round of croquet.
|Above: An illustration taken form the Rifle Brigade Chronicle for 1900 showing the Sons of the Regiment for the 3rd Battalion, the Rifle Brigade.
Taken at Rawal Pindi, India in 1900, Band Sergeant Walter Edward Govier is shown seated in the front row holding a walking out stick. He wears
the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal awarded to him in 1897. Seated to his immediate left is Sergeant H. Govier, Walter's brother who wears
the 1895-1902 India General Service Medal with the clasp "Punjab Frontier 1897-98".
Source: google books
|Above: The reverse side to the Govier/Curzon photograph showing the surviving portions of two additional photographs which were glued to that page
of the original photographic album. Unfortunately both these images were cut through when the album was broken apart for sale. The top partial
image in of notable interest because it illustrates the Victorian fascination with spirituality which came into popular vogue in the late 1800s. Two
women can be seen with their hands resting on a planchette while trying to attain a reading from the spirit world. Planchettes where most often used
in conjunction with a so-called talking board which had the letters of the alphabet and numbers one through zero preprinted on them. Users lightly
placed there fingertips on the planchetts which would then under the direction of a spirit move about the board and spell out messages, often answers
to questions asked by the users. In this case the planchette has a built in pencil holder and is placed on what appears to be a blank piece of paper and
would have moved over the paper and actually spelled out any messages from the spirit realm. This photo seems a perfect fit in this Strange & Unusual
section of solidersofthequeen.com
The lower partial image depicts two young ladies the most properly pensive of Victorian facial expressions.