Saturday 24 March 2018

Appeal to solve the mystery of unknown soldier – can you help?

The unnamed soldier
The unnamed soldier

Alan O'Keeffe

A woman is appealing for help to solve a mystery of a soldier whose photograph was found hidden behind a picture frame bought in a second-hand shop.

For the past 20 years, Claire Barrie has wondered what the man's name was and why his picture was concealed.

Claire (37) said her mother Ailish was in a second-hand shop in a mall in William Street in Limerick in the 1990s when she decided to buy a framed picture of a seaside scene of cottages and boats.

"She found the photograph of the soldier which had been lovingly concealed in tissue paper behind the picture," Claire said.

Speaking at her home in Kilmallock, Co Limerick, she said her own 10-year-old daughter Elliemae has become deeply interested in the story of the unknown soldier and Claire has renewed efforts to identify the mystery man.

She is satisfied the frame was first supplied for the soldier's photograph and was made by Charles & Co in Kensington, London. The name of the photographer, printed on the photo, was Jean Weinberg, who was based in Cairo in Egypt.

Claire's appeal on social media helped her discover that Weinberg was a Romanian-Jewish photographer based in Cairo between 1938 and 1948.

She learnt the pictured man was wearing the desert khaki of a British Royal Artillery regiment. He held the senior rank of major and a silver oak leaf on his uniform showed he was mentioned in dispatches for bravery in the face of the enemy.

"I am hoping someone might recognise his picture," she said.

Irish Independent

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