They were the officers of the 88th Battalion, the Victoria Fusiliers – all volunteers. You know one of them, anyway – Rufus is at the left end of the back row . And the CO, the big guy in the middle of the front row, was Lt Col Cullin. But I don’t know who any of the others were.
I’ve found Rufus. He looks very serious. So, these were the guys he was with, when he went to France in 1916?
Only until they got to England. There were also about 700 soldiers not in the picture. They all did more training in England, but before they went to France, the battalion was broken up to fill the gaps in BC battalions already at the front.
It’s too bad we don’t know who all the other men were. They must have been somebody’s dad, or son, or brother, mustn’t they? So there must be people who know about them – families have photographs of them, after all.
And many of them never came back. They say the expectation of survival for platoon officers – the ones with puttees instead of riding boots – was about three weeks at some stages of the war.