DCSIMG

Photograph identified as ‘The Old Contemptibles’

The Londonderry Sentinel has been loaned this old photograph in the hope that more information can be learned about the people captured in the image. All of the men are posing proudly with medals on their chest, but it is not clear what is on the flag being held  by the standardbearer in the back row. The ony names we have are: Back row, from left, McCleary, Anderson, Olphert, X, Willis. Centre, from left: Mullan, X, X, X, Holloway, X, Barret, Strickland (?), Johnny Mullan. Front row, from left, Fleming, Wray, A McLucas, X, X, Nelis, X, Matthew McGarrigle. Anyone who can shed light on where the photograph was taken, what group the men belonged to or who can provide information on their names, is urged to get in touch with the Londonderry Sentinel editorial team on 028 7134 1175.

The Londonderry Sentinel has been loaned this old photograph in the hope that more information can be learned about the people captured in the image. All of the men are posing proudly with medals on their chest, but it is not clear what is on the flag being held by the standardbearer in the back row. The ony names we have are: Back row, from left, McCleary, Anderson, Olphert, X, Willis. Centre, from left: Mullan, X, X, X, Holloway, X, Barret, Strickland (?), Johnny Mullan. Front row, from left, Fleming, Wray, A McLucas, X, X, Nelis, X, Matthew McGarrigle. Anyone who can shed light on where the photograph was taken, what group the men belonged to or who can provide information on their names, is urged to get in touch with the Londonderry Sentinel editorial team on 028 7134 1175.

 

An appeal for readers’ help in solving the mystery of an old black and white photograph has been successful.

We have had two responses to our appeal.

Joey Stewart from Abbeydale told the Sentinel that Johnny Mullan, who is pictured second row, left, was his wife’s grandfather.

“They are the Old Contemptibles. They are all ex-servicemen who fought during the First World War.”

Mr Stewart said to qualify as an ‘Old Contemptible’ you had to have been among the first infantry or cavalry to land in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Apparently, the nickname arose from an apocryphal insult levelled at the force by Wilhelm II, which was turned on its head by the soldiers.

“They used to hold a Drumhead service every year. They paraded from May Street, down Browning Drive to St Columb’s Park, every September,” said Mr Stewart adding that they met in the Services Club, Crawford Square, while their standard is now in St Columb’s Cathedral.

Meanwhile, Derek Coll, grandson of Mr Mullan, and Mr Stewart’s brother-in-law, said he remembers being taken to the meetings near Ferryquay Gate, but had to wait outside.

“I was about eight years old and I remember my grandfather gave me money to go to the shop. I would have stayed outside in all kinds of weather,” Mr Coll said.

 

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