Could a picture of Cadgwith and a snippet of newspaper solve a mystery dating back 20 years over the identity of a soldier?

The hunt began in the mid 1990s when a framed picture was bought in an antique shop in Limerick City, Ireland.

The image was of a harbour, but when removed from the frame it was discovered that it was not in fact a photograph but a cutting from a newspaper or magazine showing Cadgwith Cove, with print on the back, dated September 3, 1949.

Not only that, but wrapped in the cutting of the ‘Enchanted Duchy’ article (possibly from a publication called Illustrated) was a photograph of a serviceman.

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Claire Barrie, whose mother bought the picture, and her nine-year-old old daughter Elliemae are now trying to trace the identity of the soldier.

A Twitter appeal identified the coastal scene as Cadgwith and has given certain details about the soldier, who Claire and her daughter have nicknamed ‘SAM’ (short for Soldier And Mystery).

The khaki colours of the shirt and tie on the uniform are in line with desert colours and from the badge on his cap he was a Commonwealth Royal Artillery Officer. He also has an artillery stripe on his arm.

The epaulette on his shoulder looks to be a crown, meaning he was a major, and the badge near his collar appears to be an MiD award – “mentioned in dispatches” for gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy – a silver oak leaf symbol.

His uniform has been suggested as a 1940s pattern battle dress, from the pockets and buttons, issued from 1942 onwards.

The Canadian army did not adopt this jacket, although it is possible Australia and/or New Zealand may have, while the upright bar at the end of the oak leaf may be the start of a Star of Africa ribbon.

The picture appears to have been taken by J Weinberg in Cairo with the number 22496 printed on the back.

Jean Weinberg was a Romanian Jewish photographer based in Cairo between 1938 and approx 1948 and photographed members of the Egyptian royal family, so it may have been prestigious for a military man to be photographed by him at the time. It suggests the photograph was taken during World War Two.

Anyone who has information on the identity of the soldier, or who can suggest why his photograph would be wrapped in a cutting about Cornwall, can contact Claire via Twitter using @clairemsb or email

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