Do you know if this family picture has a happy ending?

This sergeant, pictured with his family, is wearing a wound stripe.
This sergeant, pictured with his family, is wearing a wound stripe.

The centenary of the First World War is bringing to light some wonderful photographs. Sadly, though, you can only guess at how the stories of some of them ended.

I find this little family touching, for instance, because the war had already had what was possibly a frightening impact on them.

The picture comes from Kevin Blair and was taken by a photographer, H Russell, in Humbert Street in Jarrow.

The only clue to who these people are is that, written on the back, are the words: “Sgt Bell with marksman and wound stripe.” The wound stripe – you can see it there on the left arm of his uniform - was introduced by the military in 1916, with the approval of King, George V.

It was made of brass, and was awarded to anyone who had appeared officially on a casualty list. The term ‘wound’ extended to having been gassed, or suffered shell shock. But those who had suffered accidental or self-inflicted injuries didn’t qualify.

One other interesting thing, though, is that this man was a sergeant and, apparently, it wasn’t official for officers and NCOs to wear insignia such as marksman badges, though many did.

Perhaps someone recognises Sgt Bell and can tell us if he survived the war.