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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Andrew

Yes, what a good photo. However, I must correct a small point. It was Hamish's first cousin (also an H.M. Ewart) who distinguished himself on the Western Front exactly as you decribe, as my grandfather did not serve in France. (cf. Col Lowther, the eccentric landowner who enthusiastically raised three service Bns in 1914 in eastern Sussex - the "Southdowns", or "Lowther's Lambs" - which the WO took over in 1915 and enumerated as the 11th, 12th & 13th Royal Sussex (116th Bde, 39th Div) and politely but firmly declined Lowther's offer to take to France under his command! I suspect something very similar happened to Hamish).

RK: Again, what a find! In fact, we already have the top picture of these four but have never seen the others, which are marvellous. Once more, I have to disappoint with regards to identification, but your assumption was understandable. This chap is Hamish's twin brother - another soldier but with a slightly less distinguished career. In the family, recent generations have usually only been able to distinguish between Hamish and his twin (Duncan McTaggart Ewart) by the slightly different way in which they waxed their respective moustaches. I believe that if you look carefully you'll notice this difference.

When I was a very young boy I thought great-uncle Duncan was brandishing a cricket bat in this photo, and shamefacedly felt I had to excuse his clumsy grip by virtue of his Scottish background. (Despite providing England with at least two or three of their MCC touring captains over the years, the Scots are no force in the cricket world). Only later did I realise it was a rifle.

Despite the rather "camp" demeanour demonstrated in the second photo, as far as I know there were never any rumours in circulation, so his career was perfectly safe. And I'm pretty sure he never even met "Fighting Mac." The third photo is an absolute gem and reflects an important period in Duncan's life. It is certainly not a Russian, and your date is just a little out. When Duncan was sent to serve under Allenby in the Middle East in 1918 he arrived too late to be of any practical use, as Baghdad & Jerusalem had just fallen. He was, however, instrumental in alleviating some of the suffering endured by the surviving POWs who had earlier been captured under Townshend at Kut. Far more worrying for him, however, was that all his luggage, containing every item of kit, had been despatched in error to Russia, instead of Mesopotamia (now Iraq) as a result of a mixup at Southampton docks!

He rapidly extricated himself from Mesopotamian responsibilities and journeyed at his own expense to Russia to retrieve his (hot weather!) togs, meeting up with the British forces who'd been sent there in 1919 to interfere between the Whites & Reds. Here, he got caught up with the Menscheviks and got into quite a lot of hot water. The 3rd snap shows him during this period - family lore links him with efforts to rescue the Romanovs but I have found no proof. Mind you, he called one of his daughters Anastasia. He ran some little private army for some months during all that Bolshevik confusion.

On returning home, he became owner of a regional newspaper, the Aberdeen Angus (sorry, Argus) which did its best to break the National Strike of 1926, and remained a major shareholder of this for the rest of his life, along with his involvement in the Haggis Marketing Board. He fired off long letters to The Scotsman protesting vehemently against the RAF's bombing of the Kurds in northern Iraq in the early '20s.

Although I've never seen the 4th photo, I really don't think it is either Hamish or Duncan. The lady is a dead ringer (and may actually be her) for the (later) Duchess of Argyll, which would suggest the gentleman may just be Douglas Fairbanks junior, but I'm making no claims and am not inviting a libel action.

Hope this helps.

Peter
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R. Kitchener


Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 31
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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Andrew,

It couldn't be the same Duncan MacTavish Ewart who led only his officers over the bags at 5th Ypres singing One Staff Officer Jumped Right Over The Other Staff Officer's Back, could it? It would explain a great deal.

Andrew,

I would never have been able to tell the difference between the twins had I not followed up your information by checking methods of mustache waxing! Spot on! You're absolutely correct. But could you add some further information on his Irish experiences? Is he the same Duncan that IRA leader Tom Barry refers to as 'The Devil Of Dublin' and "The Monster Of Munster'? Well, as John Ford would have said, 'When Legend becomes fact, Print the Legend'.

As to the photo of the Imperial Cossack Officer, that would explain the following photos which were also in the collection, and clearly show the same man (Duncan?) in Russian uniform with Tsar Nikolai II (it couldn't be HM George V, at another fancy dress. But maybe it could. See John Ford quote above). If so, it would explain your reference to the Romanov Rescue Mission, but these are clearly pre-war. I hope you will enlighten us. Indeed, I believe your readers would demand it, Sir!




Which brings me round to the last photo in this particular group. I now recognize the officer on the left in full dress as your grandfather (or maybe it's Duncan?). The Pipe Major I realized immediately was the world renowned PM Sandy MacAbre, who composed the interminably long and grace-note laden phiobroch which was turned into the quick march of Princess Zoe's Own 'The MacCaroon Highlanders Debark on Princes Street' (or, as it was known colloquially 'Gie o'er ye keelie', but I don't understand the Glaswegian reference to what is obviously a street in New Town). The other officer is unidentified, except by his trews and glengarry as either an officer of the HLI or the Seaforths, but now that I see it plainly, it appears he's a Seaforth.



I look forward with eager anticipation to your next post, and - pardon the somewhat feeble attempt at humor - hope indeed it is not your Last Post.

R. Kitchener


Last edited by R. Kitchener on Thu Feb 14, 2008 5:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1418
Location: Wales
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Perhaps I should start a 'Mad as a Hatter" section in the forum.

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R. Kitchener


Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 31
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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Why on earth would you do that, Alan? I - along with the majority of other members, I hope - are fascinated by the remarkable set of historical coincidences being exchanged. I was rather hoping you had some hitherto concealed insights that you might like to share.

R. Kitchnener


Last edited by R. Kitchener on Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:01 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Mel


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 345
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I once asked a Scotsman where he lived and I now realise he said Auchtermuchtie. At the time I thought he was just clearing his throat.

Great photos. You could age them more by using Photoshop to add a noise filter and a yellow warming filter. Then lower the opacity a little to simulate ageing.

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Mel
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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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RK:

Curiouser & curiouser! The latest batch serves only to confuse.

In the top picture I think the chap on the right is making a very poor impression at impersonating the Tsar or his cousin George V, if that is his intention. It is all quite suspicious as he clearly has no conception of military bearing, looking rather dishevelled in that scruffy greatcoat, in which he appears decidely uncomfortable. I think you'll find he's a gypsy. I suspect great-uncle Duncan (not grandfather) has just arrested him.

If the next snapshot depicts Duncan's "private army" - well, what a shower! I did realise they'd have been a motley crew but it is still a bit of a shock. Why the horse-thief takes centre stage in the middle I don't know, but Rasputin appears to have been on hunger strike for six months. The tabarded peasant on the right resembles Little John in the middle of Sherwood Forest, the rifle & bayonet rather incongruous. The only man missing seems to be Tom Courtenay (Strelnikov).

In the last pic I really don't think it's grandad. It is certainly not the uniform of Princess Zoe Margaret's Own (completely wrong tartan) and although I know little about uniforms or decorations, is that a VC he is wearing? No VCs in my family.

As Alan says, this lot are as mad as a hatter.

Yes, it is a bit of a mouthful, isn't it Mel? Besides the Aberdeen Argus, Duncan owned the Auchtermuchtie Globe, a title which belied its insularity. When news of the Titanic disaster arrived in April 1912, it ran its front page banner headline as "Auchtermuchtie man drowns in Atlantic." The sub-heading was "Emigration plans cruelly dashed." Only in the small print of the report did it casually infer that around 1500 others may have been equally unfortunate.

Peter
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R. Kitchener


Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 31
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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Peter,

Is it possible your great-uncle used this fellow to imitate the Russian Emperor during the Russian Civil War, perhaps to confuse the somehwt ignorant peasantry that he was, in fact, the patrushka, the 'Little Father'?He would have been able to influence the esnes and gain their support.

Also in this box is. I believe, a previousl unpublished memoir of Princess Zoe's Own MacCaroon Highlanders. It makes for very interesting reading, being a regimental history for the raising of the Regiment in the late 18th century to the Great War. What I've been able to decypher so far makes fascinating reading.

There are some other photos which I shall be posting shortly, and, as always, I heartily look forward to your enlightenment and the input of others.

Cheers,

R. Kitchener
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Mikey29211


Joined: 26 Aug 2006
Posts: 226
Location: Central Nebraska, USA
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Peter,

Did he also own a newspaper called the Auchtermucthie Angst? I believe there might be a couple of old gazettes or broadsheets in this seemingly bottomless box of goodies.

Mike Very Happy
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More Gifts from Pandora's Box
R. Kitchener


Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 31
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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Peter, Mel, Alan et al,

As threatened, I now offer these photos from the box. Perhaps Peter can shed some light on the first one.

It is a photo from the Auchtermuchtie (gezundheit) Argus, and while the caption is mostly obliterated, I can make out the following: . . . Colour-Sergeant . . . . , a veteran of South Africa, leaves from Portsmouth on the 12th of April by White Star steamer, to take up his new post as Asst. to H.H.'s Military Attache in Washington, D.C., as directed by the War Office. we shall . . ." I couldn't make out his name, but my first assumption, given his location, was that he was Scots. However, on second examination, and realizing there are no vowels in the name, I realized he was Welsh. Could this be the man who sailed on Titanic?



The second two are interesting as well, as they are from a much later publication. The man is identified as Oberstleutnant Richard von Kleintje-Ewart, an ADC to Field Marshal Hindenburg. He thought the Heimlich Manuever was a key element of the Von Schlieffen Plan. Perhaps he is best know as the composer of the hit, 'I Was Kaiser Bill's Whistling Batman'". Any ideas, Peter? With that name and the resemblance?



The last offering is from a little-known Glibert&Sullivan operetta, entitled The Reluctant Colonel I thought it a ripping good yarn, typical G&S. Amyone seen it?



Finally, for now, I offer this photo, with a question for Peter. Could this be the lower part of one of those photos that you mentioned?

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From the Mad as a Hatter Collection
R. Kitchener


Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 31
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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Right, chaps. Three more, and as usual I invite coments. I believe the first one is an officer's mess with attendeant OR's, perhaps in Canada or maybe T'Bognland, c. 1879-1895. I didn't see any medals, but the uniforms are the usual interesting mixture.


These final two are a bit of a mystery, and while not Victorian, they are curious enough that I thought I'd post them. Does anyone know what's going on? Was this part of some conspiracy? And Peter, are any more of your relatives portrayed herein?





Enough for now. I hope everyone's having a good weekend.

RK
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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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RK

Apologies for not responding to your latest batch. Have had my head down for a week or so working frantically on a couple of brand new talks, one at short notice, so rdvc has passed me by for a spell.

I'll add only that the family likeness is apparently not quite so unique as I thought!

P.
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