1916 photo prompts search for boy who may have been from Stratford

The photograph that has sparked a search

The photograph that has sparked a search - Credit: Archant

With just the name of a studio and a date to go on, the founder of a history archive is trying to track the story of a First World War photo

The photograph that has sparked a search

The photograph that has sparked a search - Credit: Archant

In the middle of the First World War, a little boy posed for a photograph in a soldier’s hat.

Now the search is on to discover who this saluting youngster was and what happened to him.

Dressed in a frilly shirt and short trousers, the boy also wore a British soldier’s bandolier and cap.

The Army Children Archive is trying to track down the boy’s identity.

The organisation chronicles the lives of army children from the 17th century until the present day in a series of photographs and paintings.

The picture came into its posession after it was found at a postcard fair and a pencil mark on the back shows that it was taken in July 1916, in the middle of the First World War.

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Postcard photos grew in popularity during the early decades of the 20th century and documented the war years.

The printed information said it was taken in the “Curzon Studios/115 and 168 The Grove, Stratford E/224 High Road, Kilburn, N.W”, leading the organisation’s founder Clare Gibson to believe the boy may have been from the Stratford area.

She said: “Without any way of identifying the boy – and his father – we’re making an educated guess that he’s an army child because the British soldier’s bandolier and cap that he’s wearing is most likely his father’s.

“It would be fascinating to know more about him.”

During the First World War, millions of British youngsters became temporary “army children” when their fathers either volunteered or were conscripted to serve their country.

By 1918, more than five million men had joined the British Army – one in four of the country’s total male population.

A special investigation into the plight of these children began last year, to coincide with the centenary of the war starting.

Clare added: “A significant proportion of British families today will count such children among their ancestors, but may not appreciate fully how having a soldier-father affected the lives – psychologically, as well as practically – of their antecedents.”

East London was particularly affected by the First World War.

The docks made it a target for bombing raids, with hundreds killed and even more injured.

Factories closed and with no benefits, many men found themselves out of work.