Photo identification

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Wilco Versteeg, Oct 6, 2020.

  1. Dear all! I'm new to this forum, and have a very specific question. I've been researching this history of my Dutch family during world war two. Recently I found some pictures of my great-uncle who was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 1912. He lived in the United States from 1939 to about 1942, and married an English woman in London, 1943. I've added two pictures: one of my great-uncle with his wife and in-laws. One with his fellow soldiers. These are certainly taken in England, and most probably in 44 or 45.

    My main question is: what is your take on the possible army (English, Canadian, Dutch Prinses Irene brigade...maybe even American?) he fought in, his rank or unit, and any information that you might be able to glean from these pictures.

    I have little other knowledge on my great-uncle (he died, in the US, in 1956), and I hope you might be able to provide me with some starting points for further research.

    Thanks a lot! IMG_20201001_0042-4.jpg IMG_20201001_0042.jpg
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  2. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Can you give us more information,,,,,,,,,,which soldier is he in the “group shot” (these all look like Corporals, so I would say they were on a course together).......can you give us his name and birth date (if you have them). Anything at all that would allow us to find more information???
  3. He is 4th from the right, upper part, in the group shot. His name is Wilhelmus Christianus Versteeg, born 8 april 1912, died 14 april 1956 in NYC. Married to Maisie Alethea Ireland Cutter in dec 1943, in London. In june 1946 his name appears on a passenger list of the SS Henry Brown, from Antwerp to New York, indiciating 'army movement order' and stating that his trip had been paid by the 'dutch ministry of war'.

    There's some family lore (a statement by his mother, who was convicted of collobartion with the NS regime in holland) stating that he fought 'near Arnhem' and was called from the US to England to fullfill his draft. This, however, I have not been able to verify from other, official sources. To me, the people in the group picture look anything but Dutch (which would exclude the Princess Irene Brigade, operating from England).
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  4. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    I thought the “4th from right” was him. His rank is Corporal in this photo. I”ll see what else I can find
  5. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    If he was in the military when he married his marr certificate should some detail about his service. Likewise birth certs of any children born during his service.
    Name: Maisie A I Cutter
    Registration Date: Oct 1943
    [Nov 1943]
    [Dec 1943]
    Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec
    Registration District: Marylebone
    Inferred County: Middlesex
    Spouse: Wilhelmus C Versteog
    Volume Number: 1a
    Page Number: 1013

    Order certs online here:
    poss a two month wait at moment for standard cost delivery.
  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Well they aint wearing clogs and baggy trousers and they're smoking cigs not clay pipes but to me they just look like a lot of lads of western European origin. I've worked in over 50 countries including the Netherlands - what does Dutch look like?
  7. Would this be so even when he isn't british? I ve ordered the certificate, but it indeed takes quite some time to arrive. Thanks!
  8. Thanks a lot!
  9. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Should be the same information wether British or not. Probably rank & regiment/service, maybe service number & sometimes also pre war job as well, as for duration only men that was considered his "occupation" or profession.

    If the last photo is 1944/45 then it looks like he is in the uniform of an officer (though without collar & tie). I searched the London Gazette online index & the surname does not show. Maybe he served under an alias to protect his family in Netherlands if captured or served in Dutch forces based in the UK.
  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Wilco, are you on Facebook ? I know that it's the 'opposition', but I can recommend a group with some very knowledgable collectors and experts on uniform and badges...I'm sure that they'd spot any clues. Your man's cap badge is not the same as on the FS cap in the front row of the earlier photo. It does look like PIB to me and has the appearance of an officer's SD cap....If he was British Army at that time, he wouldn't have dared to walk through London with collar open and no tie (if permitted)....The Redcaps would have dragged him straight off !

    Facebook Groups
  11. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    The cap badge in the second photograph looks like Prinses Irene Brigade.
    Screenshot 2020-10-07 at 19.04.18.png
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  12. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Free Dutch Forces.

    free dutch.jpg
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  13. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Seen here circled in red.
  14. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    An expert (and I am not one) might deduce something from the badge/patch above their stripes. Can't make anything out myself, but shape, etc., might disclose something?

    Cheers, Pat

    Dutch patch.png
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  15. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    It does look to have the curve at the bottom of the Prinses Irene patch

  16. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Have looked around for information on the Princess Irene Brigade's recruitment of a dutchman living in the US. It seems that in 1940 Dutch nationals aged 20- 35 from USA, Canada & UK were conscripted to the P.I.B. & also later in the war after some men had left the brigade to go to Commando units etc, some Dutch Marines that had trained in US joined to bring it up to the strength required by the Uk, and they were then able to land in Normandy.
    Prinses Irene Brigade -

    This is an interesting account by one of a dozen Dutch nationals from the British Mandate of Palestine called up in 1943, who travelled by ship to the UK, via the Cape.
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  17. Thanks so much all for your wonderful deductive and scholarly thinking!, especially
    travers1940, Rich Payne Guy Hudson AB64

    As it happens, I just received his marriage certificate today! I ordered it some months ago. It seems to confirm what was said here: Prinse Irene Brigade...but: I've another query: as you know, those hired to draft official certificates usually write sub-legible.

    What im able to make out is:
    corporal 858, 100
    unit ParaTroops
    Princess Irene Regt
    ..... Dutch (?)....
    (..... ..... .....)

    Anyone to fill in the dots?

    Besides, it seems that his manequin wife was also in the army.
    IMG_20201009_0001-2.jpg IMG_20201009_0001s.jpg
  18. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Royal Dutch Army
    (***** Production Manager) - probably his civilian occupation.

  19. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    "Royal Dutch Army"
    "formerly Production Manager"

    Perhaps a production manager during his pre-war years in America maybe?

    Kind regards, always,

  20. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Dusted this old codgers typing speed yet again!

    Kind regards, always,

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