I saw this photograph for sale by a New Zealand vendor and had to purchase it. Such a lovely thing and such a shame there is no photographer identification.
I'm theorising that this dapper wee [probably blonde haired and blue eyed] fellow's dad died in World War 1 albeit he looks rather a happy wee chap with his little thumbs tucked into his pockets. It seems his mother, has made him into his fathers 'mini-me', wearing almost a miniature uniform with a 'kerchief tucked into his breast pocket.
A flower that looks suspiciously like the Oxeye daisy is placed in the left lapel - maybe a favourite of the man whose memory inspired the photo originally? Or maybe to form a connection between the wee boy and the lost sailor - being that daisies represent innocence, gentleness and purity.
An animal skin appears to be hiding a chair or similar that the boy is standing on and the backdrop gives the feeling of being outdoors.
On close inspection of his hat I can barely make out the battle cruiser's name on the brim.
"HMS ROYALIST" and there appears above the wording an embroidered anchor with Laurel and a badge with the image of a moustached man...maybe the boys father.
|Forward 6-inch gun and bridge on Royalist|
HMS Royalist of the Royal Navy fought in the Battle of Jutland on the 31 May to 1 June 1916. She survived the battle and in February 1917 was reassigned to the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet. She survived to the end of the First World War.
Maybe the lad's daddy didn't survive, or maybe the photo is earlier and the boy is in fancy dress to represent an earlier HMS Royalist in the 1880's-90's to the Pacific and connections with war in Samoa. Whatever the story, it's a reminder to put notes with your precious family photographs. Never assume that your stories will stay within living memory or that other people won't find them interesting in 100 years.
©2014 Sarndra Lees