This shows the E Company (Bradford on Avon) of the Wiltshire Rifle Volunteers
marching over the bridge on their way to camp in 1903, wearing the new
khaki uniform and slouch hats adopted during the recent South African
War and the new "Moonrakcr" badges.
The same detachment (note the medical orderly (?) with small black box
at the left of both pictures) appears in the other picture to be waiting
for a train at the railway station.
But what is the meaning of the banner hanging below the station nameplate,
which is partly obscured by the soldiers but looks as if it might read:
"Grand Homecoming of Wiltshire Imperial Volunteers", referring
to those members of the Rifle Volunteers or of the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry
who volunteered to serve in South Africa? No such event at Bradford
seems to be recorded in the local papers in 1901 or 1902. That must
remain a mystery.
From the 1903 local papers we learn that t Company (and K Company, cyclists,
also from Bradford) went twice by train to special training events during
1903. On taster Monday they went to Wilton for their own Easter Manoeuvres,
wearing "Held service caps". Early in June that year they
showed off their new khaki uniforms and slouch hats at their annual
parade service at Holy Trinity Church. A month later they got their
new badges, "crossed rakes, barrel and half-moon". And on
August 1 they set out by train to Dorset for a joint camp with the Dorset
Volunteers at East Lulworth, 50-strong, commanded by Captain E. C. Pinckney.