3rd Pioneer Battalion AIF taken at Salisbury, Wilts,  WW1

The original photo is a long, panoramic item, about four feet long, so I haven't been able to photograph it in one hit.  Following
are five sections of the photo.

This photo sat on my friend Betty's grandmother's wall, and she always assumed that somewhere in the sea of faces
was her uncle, who was in the 21st Machine Gun Battalion.  However, after comparison with a table of colour patches,
it seems pretty clear that the group photographed was from the 3rd Pioneer Battalion.  In which case, Betty has
no idea who gave her grandmother the photo, or how she otherwise came by it.

In order to narrow down the field, it would be helpful if someone was able to identify one face, so that we could determine which batch of soldiers this was from - the first contingent of the 3rd Pioneers, or the 1st, 2nd or 3rd Re-inforcements.

If you can help out with an identification, please email me on lenore10@hotmail.com


Trawling through the 3rd Pioneer Embarkation Rolls, I came upon a James Lionel Robert KNIGHT in the 1st Reinforcements, whose address (70 Wilson St, Moonee Ponds) was very similar to that of  Betty's uncle, James Vallins KNIGHT (of 66 Wilson St, Moonee Ponds) who served in the 21st Machine Gun Battalion.  Betty remembered that her Great Uncle Lionel Knight has served in WW1.  He died unmarried, and presumably after his death Lionel's brother Andrew Knight (Betty's grandfather) came by the photo.

Can anyone identify someone else in the 1st Reinforcements to confirm this identification of the photo?


"Looking at the photo you posted online a few years ago, it looks to me like one of the Companies (A-D) of the original Battalion. There are 6 officers sitting in the middle, wearing Sam Browne belts, which is the quick way to tell. None of the reinforcements had more than one officer with them.

And my reply:  "Keeping in mind what you said about the A-D companies, and I think it possible that the officer in the photo on my website with the pointy beard and moustache might be  Major Herbert Peter Phillips who went off with C Company.  http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P09534.001
Some of the others in that photo could be there, but with such a low res photo is is quite difficult to be certain.  ... The thing I notice about C Company is that the overwhelming number of the men in that Company hailed from Queensland, others from NSW, and very few indeed from Victoria.

The question then arises, why did grandma and grandpa Knight have this particular photo on their wall until their respective deaths?  There is a Knight in that C Company, but his NOK is in Wales.  I don't think Betty's family was Welsh.


I think we finally have it this time.  With an identification by Ellie of her grandfather Fred Marsden, it appears that the photo is likely to be C Company of the 3rd Pioneer Battalion.  I have had another look at the six officers in the centre of the third section of the photo, and I still believe that the man in the beard and moustache is Major Herbert Petter Phillips, who again was in C Company.  I think I have further identified the man to his right as Lieutenant John Algernon Toone.

This cropped image from the third section of the 3rd Pioneer photo shows six officers.

3 John Algernon Toone

From Ancestry.com
4  Herbert Peter Phillips

From AWM DA15098
5   Charles Alfred Norman  Loftus??   Courtesy of Lesley-Anne

         Fred Marsden image courtesy   Fred Marsden in Section 2 below,
          of Ellie.                                     fourth from the left in the front row.

860 Pte Frederick Gunson Marsden, standing at the back, far left.  His mate Harry "Plug" Southerland is standing at the far right.  Photo courtesy of Ellie Tyssen.   Ellie would love the know the identities of any of the other men in this photo. Get in touch if you can identify anyone - lenore10 "AT" hotmail.com.

This Fred James, another mate of Fred Marsden, with whom he served in C Company - but not yet located in the C Company photo.

Photo Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4

Section 5