|Above: This carte de visite bears an ink inscription on its reverse that reads "Thomas Gale" He seems to be dressed in the
uniform or the Royal Artillery.
Looking into the service records for men name Thomas Gale I have come across two possibilities as to who the soldier in this
carte de visite may be: Thomas Ely Gale (b. 1860) and Thomas Millard Gale (b. 1866) both of the Royal Artillery. After
looking through each of these men’s papers I tend to believe that he is more likely to be the former – Thomas Ely Gale.
My decision is based primarily on two things. The first is the physical attributes of the carte de visite itself which lends itself to
the earlier birth year of Thomas Ely Gale and the second which is the location where the photograph was taken, in this case
London which was the hometown of Thomas Ely Gale, Thomas Millard Gale having been born in Bath, Somerset.
Unfortunately once having made this choice between these two men one is faced with the situation of Thomas Ely Gale’s
service papers being incomplete with both his Statement of Service and Military History Sheet missing. In fact most of the
pages of his records list the births of a number of his children and his marriage to Miss Harriet Browning 1887.
Thomas Ely Gale was born in mid-1860 at Plaistow, London, Essex to William Gale and Alice Bodman. He attested with the
10th Brigade as Gunner No. 3094 on 24 September 1880.
Looking at his Medial History Sheet it can be determined that Gale served for around 10 years in India. The first dated entry
is on 6 January 1883 and the last was at Karachi on 4 November 1891.
Gale had married the afore mentioned Miss Harriet Browning on 16 February 1887 at Saint Thomas Mount, India. By now he
was attached to “I” Battery/ 3rd Brigade as No. 249 and had already been promoted to Corporal.
On 11 November 1889 the couple’s daughter Hilda Sophia Harriet Gale was born at Saint Thomas Mount. Her baptism record
shows her father as being attached to the 20th Field Battery at that time. On May 1891 their son William Henry Thomas Gale
was born at Trimulgherry. Now he was shown as being a member of the 79th Field Battery.
A search of various medal rolls failed to turn up any entries for Thomas Ely Gale so it is likely that he spent his years in India
occupied in relatively peaceful garrison duty. His character and conduct was listed as “Regular, good and temperate”.
Nothing else regarding Corporal Thomas Ely Gale has been uncovered at this time.
Carte de Visite
David Rees - Photographer
5 Atkinson Place, Brixton Road, London, England