Faces of Salonika : Somerset Miners

This rather small and tatty picture – another eBay purchase – shows a group of men sitting on a quayside, which may be Salonika. The mixture of service dress (as worn in the UK and on the Western Front) with a sun helmet would certainly be appropriate for men of the BSF after about mid-1916. The extremes of the Macedonian climate make all sorts of combinations of dress possible which, for me, is one of the fascinations of the campaign.

Image captioned 'Somerset Miners' showing British troops waiting on a quayside - believed to be Salonika - in sun helmets and service dress.

The picture is labelled ‘Somerset Miners’ which, if it is correct, suggests these men were members of one of the Wessex (TF) Royal Engineer Field Companies attached to the 27th Division. Formed as the 1st Somersetshire Engineer Volunteer Corps, they later became the 1st Devonshire and Somersetshire RE (V) and, in 1908 with the formation of the Territorial Force, those in Somerset became the divisional engineers for the Wessex Division. You can read more about them on this Wikipedia page:

Author: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal - 'The New Mosquito' - a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.