Sometimes it is the background of a photograph that is of more interest than what the picture is nominally about. This week’s postcard is one of these cases, where at first glance it is a fairly standard image of a small group of World War one soldiers:
What is far more interesting than the men posing for the photograph, is the tanker they are standing in front of. This tanker has been painted up with a bull logo, the fact that it carries petrol and the letters M.T.A.S.C.:
The letters stand for ‘Motor Transport Army Service Corps’. The truck itself runs on solid tyres and has a canvas cover over the cab:
The men themselves in the foreground are kneeling on a number of cushions:
My guess is that these are taken from the cab of the truck, as they are thin and the correct shape for the bench seats on World War One trucks.
Interestingly this postcard came with a pair of related documents, one is a discharge certificate:
What is intersting is that this certificate relates to a Sergeant James Clayton who served with the Army Service Corps, Motor Transport. This would seem to indicate then that one of the men in the photograph is Sgt Clayton. He was an older man, being 31 when he enlisted and 34 when he was discharged and this would again fit with him serving in the ASC rather than the infantry. The second document lists what pay and deductions he was entitled to when he left:
One thing to note is that he was allowed to keep his great-coat in return for a deduction of one pound- this was again typical as the army great-coat was a very well made garment and far better than many men could expect to own from a civilian tailor so men frequently kept theirs for use in peacetime.