Can you tell me more about this Second World War photo of my father while he served in India?
QAn envelope belonging to my late father contains at least 200 photographs taken on leave while overseas when he served in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps ( RAOC) during the Second World War. He served in North Africa, Egypt, Palestine and India. His medals include the Africa Star and the Burma Star. Was it unusual in the Second World War for someone to take so many photos? This one, shown below, is labelled “Ranchi, India”. My father is seen on the left. Mike Sillitoe, by email
ACameras, unless officially authorised, were strictly forbidden in the front line or close to it, though the definition was unclear and the forces had the right to confiscate any they found. The main problem people faced was obtaining film, which was very scarce. My wife’s uncle, who took scores of photos of his time in the navy, actually threw his camera overboard when he ran out of film as the camera was then just a dead weight. As you have so many, I’d suggest you approach the Royal Logistic Corps (who absorbed the Ordnance Corps) Museum at Deepcut in Surrey, or the Imperial War Museum, in case they’d like to take copies. It seems likeliest these men had recently arrived in India in 1943. Identifying photos from the Second World War is harder than for the First World War because uniforms became more standardised and, particularly in the combat area, identifying badges and insignia were frequently removed to avoid assisting the enemy.