|The above two photographs chronicle the loss of two brothers in India. The cabinet photograph dating from the late 19th or early 20th
Centuries shows private Joe Stretton of the 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment). An
inscription on the reverse mentions him as "Uncle Joe Stretton" and that he passed away from yellow fever in India. Stretton had
served some time in the military by the time this photograph was taken - his left sleeve showing him with two Long Service & Good
Conduct Stripes and well as being a qualified marksman and signaler.
The carte de visite, inscribed on the reverse in the same hand was I believe misidentified as James Stretton. This same inscription
states this soldier had also died in India but gives no additional details. I believe that this carte de visite actually depicts John William
Stretton another brother of the same family.
Joseph and John Stretton were two of four sons born to Joseph Stretton and his wife Betsy of Stockport, Lancashire. The eldest
brother Richard was born around 1869, John William was born around 1870, Joseph around 1871 and the youngest James about 1873.
There was also one daughter Eliza Ann born about 1875.
As stated above I believe that the family member who had inscribed these two photographs apparently many years later confused two
of the Stretton brothers when they identified the soldier depicted on the smaller carte de visite. The youngest brother James (whose
name adorns the reverse of the photograph) also served in the army, he attested with the 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards (no.
3643) at London on 5 April, 1892. The first key is that the young soldier in the carte de visite is not wearing a Guards tunic but instead
that of a post 1881 regular line battalion. The tunic's white cuffs and collar confirm this. The second key point is that James Stretton's
service papers confirm that he never served in India or over seas at all. He in fact only served 1 year, 186 days with the battalion
before being discharged in consequence of "frequent acts of committing nuisance and insubordination.".
The only other brother that this carte de visite could depict would be the youngest brother John. While no service papers for John
Stretton have been found the Army Death Register Index for 1891 lists John Stretton (no regiment listed) dying at Amritsar, Punjab,
India in 1891 at the age of 20 - the youngest age allowed under the Cardwell Reforms for service in India.
The cabinet photograph at the top of the page would appear to have been correctly identified as Joseph Stretton. His uniform badges
link him to the Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) the 1st Battalion of which was stationed at Jubbulpore, India
from around 1903 until about 1905. While once again no service papers have been found for Joseph Stretton the Army Death Register
Index, this time for 1905 lists Joseph Stretton dying at Jubbulpore in that year. Joseph Stretton had previously served with the South
Lancashire Militia attesting on 10 February, 1892 as No. 3243. His militia statement of services show him enlisting with the Prince of
Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) on 7 August, 1894. At the time of his death he would have served around 10 to 11
years with the colours.
I plan on obtaining death certificates for both men which may confirm the cause of Joseph's death as yellow fever and will shed light
the cause of John Stretton's death as well as his regimental affiliation.
|Private Joseph Stretton - 1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment)
Brown & Sons - Photographer
C. P. Studio & Warehouse, Jubbulpore, India
|Private John Stretton - unidentified regiment
Carte de Visite
Jameson - Photographer
The Rembrandt Studio, 18 Friarsgate, Bridge Street, Warrington, Cheshire, England