One of our Trustees, Toby Green, found this evocative postcard of a football team, marked on the back ‘Sutton Mandeville Camp Salisbury’ and – in a different hand – ‘1915’. The uniformed soldiers with the team have, quite plainly, the cap badge of the 7th (City of London) Battalion of the London Regiment, which we know as the Shiny 7th. It is the same badge that we have recently restored on our hillside.
Although ‘1915’ is written on the back of the postcard this is probably a mistake, as the Shiny 7th’s training battalion – the 3/7th – did not arrive in Sutton Mandeville until January 1916 and stayed here until July-August 1916. The trees in the background are leafless, indicating that the photograph was taken in early spring 1916.
There is no other information about any of the men in the team, or their companions. There is a sergeant and an officer – a Second Lieutenant – with the team. Perhaps the most striking thing about the photograph is just how young some of the team members seem to be. The Shiny 7th was a territorial unit so, at this stage of the war, the men in the team are likely to be from central London.
Soldiers from the 3/7th who trained at Sutton Mandeville were sent in drafts to join their front line battalion – the 1/7th – on the Western Front. We know that men from Sutton Mandeville were amongst the heavy casualties sustained by the 1/7th in the later stages of the Somme Offensive in October 1916.
We would very much like to find out more information about the men pictured here. If you recognise any of them or have any details that might shed light on the Shiny 7th football team or its members, then please get in touch.