Does Anyone Know this WWII Soldier? Woman Searches for Unknown Identity in Old Photo

A woman from Limerick, Ireland wants to know the identity of the unknown WWII soldier (photo up) that she found hidden at the back of another picture she bought from an Irish junk shop.

According to reports, the mother of the current owner of the photo bought a framed image, a cutout from a 1949 magazine, in Limerick City’s Williams Court Mall in the 1990s. To her surprise, the frame yielded a surprise when she opened it. Behind the cutout as was a black-and-white photograph of an unknown WWII soldier.

However, the frame and that image of the mysterious WWII soldier was forgotten until recently. Claire Barrie found the frame while she was rummaging through her mother’s belongings. She, then, remembered the unknown photo in it and sought out to discover the identity of that unknown WWII soldier.

Claire and her 9-year-old daughter Elliemae have taken to calling the WWII soldier in the photo as “Uncle Sam”. But up to this point, the nationality of the WWII soldier and the hos and whys his photo ended up in a junk shop elude them.

In her search for the identity of the unknown WWII soldier, Claire posted the black-and-white photo on her Twitter account. Ever since its posting, the photo has had over a thousand views and retweets. Several individuals also gave Claire bits of information that have helped her narrow down her search for the identification of the WWII soldier.

According to military enthusiasts who helped Claire in Twitter, the unknown WWII soldier was probably a member of the Royal Artillery based on the uniform he wore in the photo. “Uncle Sam” had an artillery stripe on his arm. Additionally, the military decoration on his shoulder resembled a crown. These enthusiasts also informed Claire that the shirt and uniform tie of the WWII soldier were khaki in color denoting that he served in a desert unit.

Close-up look at the face of the unknown WWII soldier (photo color altered).
Close-up look at the face of the unknown WWII soldier (photo color altered). Claire and her daughter took to calling him “Uncle Sam”.

Furthermore, reports say that the symbol of the silver oak leaf seen near his collar looked to be a MiD (Mentioned in Dispatches) award for a commendable act of bravery when faced with the enemy. Meanwhile, some observers have suggested that, while the uniform of the WWII soldier looked British, the buttons and weave on it were possibly made in the US.

The photo of the WWII soldier bore a stamp indicating that it was taken by Jean Weinberg and had a number 22496 marked on the back. Mr. Weinberg was a photographer of Romanian-Jewish descent who was based in Cairo between the years 1938 to 1948 and had taken photos of the members of the Egyptian royal family.

On the other hand, the light green-hued wooden frame that held the photo of the WWII soldier was from framers Charles & Co., Practical Framers and Guilders, Pembridge Frameries based in London.

The magazine cutout which hid the photo of the WWII soldier was a picture of what looked like a coastal town. At the back of it was the date September 3, 1949 with a snippet mentioning the town of St. Anthony in Roseland, UK. Interestingly, St. Anthony was a town during WWI for military training. Gun batteries were also stationed there during the Second World War.

Claire has high hopes that with its exposure, she will eventually find out the identity of the WWII soldier in the photo. Recently, Claire tweeted that she will be having an interview on BBC News, UK on Wednesday in connection to this.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE