Lieutenant Richard Wolfe

The officer in this photo is Lieutenant Richard Wolfe c1881. He was from a prominent Anglo-Irish family that lived at Forenaghts, Co. Kildare. His father was Thomas George Samual Wolfe and his mother was Elizabeth Henrietta Ball. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and joined the Scots Greys, after a very brief spell in the 3rd Dragoon Guards, on 16 Feb 1878, as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was promoted to lieutenant on 28 June 1879. He was one of the Greys officers that went to the Sudan with the Heavy Camel Regiment in 1884/5 for the Gordon Relief Expedition. He was killed in action at Abu Klea on 17 Jan 1885. Nine officer were killed in that battle. The Greys were represented in the Camel Regiment by 2 officers and 37 other ranks. Another 11 men of the Greys were killed in that action and 5 wounded. Lieutenant Wolfe's medals for that campaign were sold at auction by Dix Noonan Webb in March 2008. They were estimated at 6,000-7,000 pounds but sold for 12,000 pounds.

A note on his uniform. In 1881 the officers' tunic was altered so that the rank badges were transferred from the collar to plaited gold shoulder cords. A single star badge can be seen on his right shoulder. Before 1902 the rank of 2nd Lieutenant had no badge so that lieutenants had one star and captains had two. Subalterns had the single Austrian knot decoration on the sleeve as seen here, captains had a double knot and field officers had a triple knot. It is made up of round back gold cord with Russia braid tracing the edges of the cord to make it fuller. The blue cloth collar is cut square and edged along the top and front with three quarter inch gold vellum lace and has a silver embroidered flaming bomb badge on each side. The sword is suspended from gold lace straps attached to the gold waist-belt. The sword knot for the Scots Greys was of a special pattern being a gold thistle instead of an acorn as worn by other regiments.

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by Stephen Luscombe