Broadwell Grove Camp - Mass Mugshot

Hi Rich.

Herewith another little picture which might be of interest to some of your (older) viewers. I've done some homework - see rustic spreadsheet, which still has lots of holes in it. The original was loaned by Joe Simms at Auckland, NZ; copied & returned. I'm somewhat mystified by the fact that no one, so far, seems to remember the photo being taken: perhaps we were all shot away on tomato ketchup sandwiches - the delicacy of the day!

However, timing is either late summer '46 following our establishment at the Broadwell Grove Camp in August, or mid 1947. Not later, judging by the cherubic faces, including mine! Not sure whether it's a feasible subject for publishing on your notice board with the usual zoom feature for finer detail? I also have it split in two sections for my own benefit when Id'ing individuals. But the situation here is that of knowing many faces and unable to match names to them. Any observations or updates re the spreadsheet could be directed to me at

Wishing you and all your viewers all the very best.

John Elsley.

I have tried to make it easier to view this huge photograph
by splitting into three segments. [Editor]

Dear Richard.

You are indeed brave! I too had problems with the (rustic) spreadsheet, mainly because our mugs are in orderly rows, but the columns from front to rear are mostly irregular. So the only way to link a name to a place was to organise the so called spreadsheet. As you have guessed, number all the top brass (including a major general in the centre of the row) from A1 to A 40 or whatever. Then row B etc.

Had a letter from Dickie Dyer recently ref an idea to put a date to the photo, centered on one of the Mugs called John Spence. Won't go into details, but I think it was taken somewhat earlier than I'd thought, not long after the RNSM had returned off summer leave (August 1946) from the Isle of Man (& Scarborough of course) to the Broadwell Grove Camp near Burford. Definitely in the summer & on the football pitch behind the dining hall & galley. Hopefully some discussion could result from this if you do manage to publish it, which might help to clear up any anomolies. I was one of the youngest then, but even in my age group there are now permanent gaps in the ranks! I do have A4 enlargements of the master in two parts which were most useful aids in putting names to faces. Have to admit that I recognised many more faces than I could put names to.

Wish you every success with this project, & contact me again if I can be of any further help.

Bye for now.

John Elsley.

PS: Just to put the record straight: the musician in question was John Stenning (a notorious weightlifter as well as solo clarinet) not John Spence, an excellent jazz pianist, who only & had his own big band after some years in Civvy St.



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