This postcard is the most expensive I’ve ever purchased at $11.00. It is unique in my limited experience and I could not let it go.
The card is not dated but given the subject matter I’d estimate the date of publication to be 1914 at the start of the Great War in Europe.
The front of the card shows a column of British soldiers in 1914 uniforms parading down what I’m assuming to be an English street. The card is partially colorized giving the card a modern look.
The card was published by Underwood and Underwood. Underwood and Underwood was an American company and an early producer and distributor of stereoscopic and other photographic images, and later was a pioneer in the field of news bureau photography. Wiki
The most interesting feature is the one-armed officer leading the column of soldiers.
The flip of the card tells the story of the one-armed officer. It reads: Regiment of the Prince of Wales on way to the Front. The Grenadier Guards to which to the Prince of Wales is attached are led by Major Trotter, who lost his left arm in the service in South Africa.
Although I am not absolutely certain I believe that Major Trotter is one of the four sons of Major-General Henry Trotter who died in 1905. I believe that the Major pictured is Lt. Col. Edward Henry Trotter who commanded the 18th Bn. of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment during the early years of WW1. I do not have an explanation as to why the card says the Prince of Wales of Regiment as opposed to the King’s Liverpool Regiment on Wiki.
Trotter did have a commission in the Grenadier Guards so perhaps that explains the discrepancy or perhaps the caption simply misidentified the unit.
I do believe that Major Trotter and Lt. Col Edward Henry Trotter are the same persons given this clip from Wiki:
“After the outbreak of the Second Boer War in October 1899, a corps of imperial volunteers from London was formed in late December 1899. The corps included infantry, mounted infantry and artillery divisions and was authorized with the name City of London Imperial Volunteers. It proceeded to South Africa in January 1900, returned in October the same year, and was disbanded in December 1900. Lieutenant Trotter was appointed Staff captain to the corps on 1 January 1900, with the temporary rank of Captain in the Army, and served as such until it was disbanded. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his services in South Africa on 29 November 1900. In April 1902, Trotter returned to South Africa with a detachment of men from the Guards regiments.“
Trotter’s regiment took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Trotter estimated that his regiment suffered 500 casualties on the first day! The British suffered 58,000 casualties during the Battle of the Somme, 1/3 of them on the first day. Trotter would later die as German artillery shell landed near his command dugout.
The card is a reverse image of the below photograph. Fascinating little piece of history and the story of a British officer who served in two wars.