Mystery photo

Can you help identify the uniform or unit please?

Frank Groom
Unknown unit
Hatfield Fire Brigade

I have a photo of my grandfather in army uniform during WWI.  I had no idea he had enlisted and thought he was a volunteer in the fire brigade during the war.  I have been unable to locate any records relating to any army service.

On his left sleeve he appears to have a pair of crossed axes? which I guess may have something to do with his role in the fire service.  Can anyone help?

The image here is part of a larger photo which appears to show a whole unit with more senior officers.

This page was added on 31/10/2014.

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  • He is indeed wearing the badge of the battalion Pioneer Sergeant, which as you say was an appointment for selected sergeants rather than a rank. Had he been a regular it was traditional for the pioneer sergeant to wear a full beard. The only man in a unit to do so at the beginning of WW1 and still a tradition followed in today’s Army. The Herts Volunteer Regiment was formed in 1918 from a similar unit (it was a fairly seamless transition) of the Volunteer Training Corps, which was the equivalent of WW2’s Dads Army (Home Guard).

    By Bob G Bennett (14/01/2020)
  • I have since learnt that the badge of two-crossed axes, together with the chevrons shows a position of Pioneer Sergeant.  This seems to be a regimental appointment rather than a official rank used in line infantry regiments and regiments of foot guards.  A Pioneer Sergeant was responsible for carpentry, joinery and other related works.

    Mr grandfather joined No 4 (Hatfield) Coy 3rd Bn Herts Volunteer Regiment.

    By Carolyn Palmer (07/09/2015)