Author Topic: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression  (Read 64312 times)

Offline Moe Skeeter

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Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« on: September 25, 2005, 03:01:58 pm »
Gentlemen,

I am looking into organizing a British Military impression for myself circa 1879-1882.  I have started doing basic research into the "general" history of the time (Military and Civil).  I am in the need of reference matieral, sources for correct uniforms and proper insignia, etc.  Also, what would be acceptable firearms to use in-lieu of standard issue British Military (Right now I am shooting: '75 Remington, '72 Open Top, and Henry Repeater). 

If you could impart any and all help, knowledge, and wisdom I would be in your debt.  I appreciate your time and consideration.  I remain

Humbly

Your Servant,
Moe Skeeter

Offline Old Top

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2005, 10:37:43 pm »
Moe,

I would get in contact with Rattlesnake Jack, he seems to have a very good grasp on this subject.

Old Top
I only shoot to support my reloading habit.

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2005, 11:50:32 pm »
Mr. Skeeter,

Your request certainly does cover a very broad spectrum, but I am hopeful that Colonel Sir Harry Flashman, and perhaps others, as well as myself, may be able to afford some small assistance.

The differences in insignia, uniforming, and personal equipment - depending on the arm of service - i.e. Cavalry, Artillery, Infantry, etc. - as well as upon the type of unit within a particular arm (e.g. Regular Line, Highland, Rifles, etc. within the Infantry) and upon the specific Regiment - are considerably greater than within the United States Army of the period.

The first thing which occurs to me is that your suggested timeframe - i.e. circa 1879-1882 - may be a bit problematic, since mid-1881 saw very significant changes in the Regimental system, as well as in uniforming and insignia, of the British Army.  (During the 1870's and early 1880's a series of such changes occured - generally referred to as the Cardwell Reforms after Edward Cardwell, the Liberal Government Secretary of State for War from 1871 through 1881.)  In 1881, new "Territorial Regiments" of four battalions each (five battalions in Ireland) were created by amalgamation of various Regular Regiments and Militia Regiments, with two Regular Regiments generally becoming the first and second battalions of the new Regiment (the name of which may have been derived from the more senior of the two, or from some sort of combination) and the various Militia and Volunteer units absorbed into and forming the third and fourth battalions.  Each new Regiment was "territorial" in the sense of being headquartered in a particular County (or Counties) and/or City, and was expected thereafter to recruit from that geographical area.  There were corresponding changes in Regimental uniforms and insignia, and at the same time some fairly significant changes were introduced in the general uniform regulations - e.g. facing (i.e. trim) colours were standardized from the plethora of different hues which had hitherto been used, to white for English (and Welsh) Regiments, yellow for Scottish, and green for Irish.  (One exception to that was that "Royal" Regiments retained their blue facings, regardless of the area of Britain they were from.)  Another significant change made at that time was relocation of Officers' rank insignia from the collar to the shoulder straps, and placement of Regimental insignia on the collar (i.e. "collar dogs") - which took the place of many of the earlier Regimental marks of distinction, such as a particular facing colour.

One such new Territorial Regiment was the unit of my own military persona - ie. "The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)" which became the county regiment of Fifeshire, Forfarshire and Perthshire, encompassing the Militia and Volunteer infantry units of those areas as well as re-amalgamting two Line Regiments as its Regular Battalions: the  "42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot (The Black Watch)" and its former second battalion, which had been split off in 1787 to eventually become the "73rd (Perthshire) Regiment of Foot".  New badging and insignia were adopted for this newly formed Territorial Regiment, based upon the badge of the 42nd (Black Watch) but with the large arabic "42" in the center being replaced by an image of St. Andrew and St. Andrew's Cross, which is essentially still the Regiment's badge (or perhaps I should say "was" in view of the very sweeping changes and amalgamations just introduced this year to the British Army  :'( ) :- 


Anyway, my uniforms incorporate both "pre-1881" and "post-1881" insignia (bonnet badgest/helmet plates, buttons, etc.) - but that is entirely in keeping with practice and the Regulations (at least for an Officer who had served up to 1881 with the 42nd Regiment, though it would not necessarily apply for an Officer of the former 73rd Regiment.)  The specific provision of the 1881 Dress Regulations covering this reads as follows:

"Changes of facings and alterations in badges (for battalions in which these and the Officers' lace only are changed) will come into effect, both for the Line and the Militia, as regards the men, on 1st July, 1881.  Officers newly appointed to these battalions will at once provide themselves with uniforms in accordance with these instructions, and other Officers in them as they may require to replace that now in possession."

So there could have been a significant "phase-in" period, as Officers replaced their buttons, badging, etc. - either as needed, or as they could afford it.

At any rate, you may begin to realize that much will depend on what unit you choose to portray - i.e. it might be one that ceased to exist in 1881, becoming the second battalion of one of the new Territorial Regiments, or in any event would have seen fairly significant changes in uniform and insignia introduced that year.   You might first have to continue your general reading to decide what arm and Regiment you want to portray, in what era and campaign(s).  I suspect from the dates you have specified that your interest (at least initially) may be in the Zulu War period.  But don't limit yourself - the British Army was stationed and saw action all over the world throughout the entire Victorian period!  (If I recall correctly, there were only 4 years during Victoria's 64-year reign that the British Army wasn't fighting somewhere ...)

FWIW, I have just begun the rather arduous task of transcribing the text of the nearly 175 pages of the 1891 British "Dress Regulations for the Officers of the Army", of which I have a facsimile copy, for inclusion on the Grand Army of the Frontier website.  Unfortunately, I am not aware whether any of the other major "editions" of the Regulations have been similarly republished (except for the 1900 version - which documents the changes made right at the end of our period of interest.)  One wonders why the 1881 regulations have not been reprinted - in view of the sweeping changes introduced at that time - but if they have, I have yet to come across them.  (I did get very excited, and succumbed to a bit of an eBay bidding frenzy, to acquire something described as a facsimile reprint of the 1881 regulations, but it turned out to be just a summary of the basics in a few pages, interspersed with price lists and illustrations of wares, published by a military outfitter at the time.  Nowhere near the detail of the complete regulations, though certainly better than nothing.)

It is also my duty to contribute to a list of references for uniforms and such, regarding the Victorian-era British Army,  for the GAF Uniform Board.  However, I don't seem to have had time to get that completed, what with one distraction and another.  Anyway, do keep in touch, and if you have specific questions, I'll do my best to assist.

A very good online reference for lots of information on the British Army generally, and specific Regiments of Britain and the Empire in particular - with scads of other links relating to most of the Regiments - is "Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth", here:  http://regiments.org   Be sure to bookmark that one - there is virtually a lifetime of reading to be found there.

Finally, to close off for now, here is a "period" chart of the pre-1900 Rank Insignia of the British Army, followed by a link to a much larger version (on which you can actually read the captions) - you might want to copy this larger version to your hard drive, for reference:



http://members.memlane.com/gromboug/rankch~4.jpg
« Last Edit: September 26, 2005, 01:33:33 am by RattlesnakeJack »
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2005, 01:29:32 am »
Mr Skeeter:

Just a brief response to your query regarding firearms.

If, as I understand it, you don't want to go with British military firearms of the period (and, for the most part, they are definitely not suitable for CAS-type shooting, anyway)  then you do have some leeway - at least assuming your impression will be an Officer (which would almost be necessary to justify carrying a revolver.) British Officers were required to provide all of their own kit - including weapons - at their own expense.  They had considerable freedom in the choice of a handgun (provided it was chambered for a standard service cartridge).  The majority of them opted for British firearms of course, but American revolvers in British calibers were also fairly popular in Britain, and it would not be outside the realm of possibility that a British Officer would carry a Colt or Remington revolver (though it would likely have been chambered for either the .450 or .455 British service revolver cartridge.)

The exact caliber/cartridge should not really be a concern, however - lots of folks use guns in "historically incorrect" chamberings in this game, after all, if only as a concession to availability and affordability of ammunition.  My own primary CAS handguns are a pair of Uberti Remington '75's in .45 Colt and a combo of a Uberti Cattleman and Thunderer, also in .45 Colt.  (However, for NCOWS-style shooting - such as at GAF Muster - I do have a selection of British service revolvers to choose from.)

A rifle is not something a British Officer would commonly have carried - but he would have had the financial means to own personal sporting arms, and to have them along with him on his postings throughout the world.  Again, British arms would have been the norm, but he could well have developed a fondmness for American-style lever-action rifles during a posting to Canada, or on a trip in the United States.  My own primary CAS rifle is a Model 1866 (.45 Colt) but I have also had one made for me which is a bit more appropriate to my location and persona - a "lookalike" version of a North West Mounted Police/Canadian Militia Winchester (in NWMP service from 1878 through 1914.)  The originals were musket-stocked Model 1876 rifles, in .45-75.  My "lookalike" was built on a Model 1873 action and is chambered in .45 Colt.  Here is a rather poor picture of an original combined with a photo of several NWMP members armed with them, while in Britain for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, followed by a picture of my "lookalike" ....



Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline Ol Gabe

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2005, 10:09:05 am »
For the sake of discussion...
R.J. has hit it on the head regarding firearms, etc., his advice is well-researched and of the highest quality, we are immensely lucky to have someone of his stature on this forum, THANKS R.J.!
As a past reenactor of the British Military, "Maj. Aenngguss MacNauggett, Quartermaster, The 42nd, The Black Watch,  Assigned on Extra-Regimental Duties," my personnae was part of a group that participated in CW events in the Upper Midwest as 'Military Observors'. We called ourselves 'The Beaus/The British Empire Association of the United States'. Our group contained four Officers, m/l, and Staff from the 42nd and the 95th, we had a support cadre of 3-5 Troops depending on the weekend to help in and around Cantonment with Guard and Cook duties. All were outiftted in uniforms of the period from 1854-70 and carried the appropriate armaments. Almost all of the goodies and extra unis were made and owned by one of the folks as a hobby, he did his research and was a fair tailor to boot. The tentage and camp tools were mine from earlier Rendezvous days so we had a splendid cantonment setup complete with A-frame Wedges, Officers Wall tents, Cook tent, Dining fly and camp tables complete with China, Silver, Glassware and a Regimental Drinking Cup that he came up with someplace in the past. Alas, I cannot post pics at this time but hopefully soon.
One of the biggest problems we had, and you will too, is what level do you want to portray, not everyone can be an Officer, somebody HAS to cook and clean up! Being an Officer requires a certain amount of panache' if you are going to do the British thing, otherwise its hard to pull off; its an attitudinal kinda thing, nose up in the air, better than those 'in the Ranks', etc., etc. This needs to be considered if you are looking at a REAL interpretation of an Officer, NOTE: No reflection on any 'Officers' here on this forum! As a Staff Officer, as in Quartermaster, Regimental Surgeon, Paymaster, please refer to R.J.s ranking pic above, you can still be an Officer but less of a snob, so to speak, not that all were, but the historical character is there and if you are doing a proper impression it needs to be considered as that is a big part of it.
OK, next you should consider WHY you are 'here' in the States; on Extra-Regimental Duties to Observe our Military, a Paymaster from the Canadian Provinces on his way to pick up Bank Drafts, an Ordnance Dept. Officer here to buy Armaments, etc., many historically-correct 'reasons' can be found, just pick one and match that to your rank, etc.
As far as unis go, check out your part of the country for Pipe & Drum Corps, many have emulated the British uniforms and have some stuff for sale or will know of another group that does. Check out costume houses, regional community and college theatres as they all have costume dept.s that may want to sell stuff. Alas, our BEAUS broke up over a decace ago and many are long gone so none of that stuff is available.
An easy way to start a uniform for a Staff Officer is to get or make a CW black Sack Coat, stitch figure 8's with black cording on both sides of each button hole and on the collar as piping, get a CW forage cap and cut it down to within an inch of the rim and restitch, buy a Regimental cap badge from any number of suppliers or at any gun show and mount it on the front, cut your own Swagger Stick from a ramrod, wear a dark T-shirt under the Sack Coat with a Silk Tie tied in a loose knot, dark dress slacks with a coloured stripe of the Regiment you choose up the seam, lace up your Wing Tips and you are ready to go! Strap on a belt with holster, etc., and have fun! Build it as you go, try one Regiment if that stuff is available and change if something from another pops up in quantity or quality, trade the rest or build a backup for your 'Batman', your Manservant, a Subaltern. Do your research, make everything you can and buy the rest, its easier than it sounds, just ask R.J.!
Perhaps when I retire soon I'll get another 'Full Fig and Kit' and get the Pipe Band going again...ah, memories!
Until then, best regards and good researching!
'Ol Gabe
Formerly known as Maj. Aenngguss MacNauggett, 'Q', the 42nd, the Black Watch & Pipe Maj., The Territorial Border Guards
« Last Edit: September 26, 2005, 10:18:41 am by Ol Gabe »

Offline Moe Skeeter

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2005, 10:56:40 am »
Gentlemen,

Thank you all for the help and guidance.  It is both appreciated and informative.  I realize I have much more research to do.  As I mentioned I am just wanting a basic place to start.  I have decided on a few things:

1.) Branch of Service- Infantry.  As to regiment I would prefer to have an impression based on an actual "British" regiment; not a unit from India, etc.

2.) Rank- For right now, I really don't know.  Officer probably just for the ease of firearms, accouterments, etc.

3.) Reason for being in the States- Leave of Absence...visiting family, hunting trip, something of that sort.

I will be checking out that website with all the regimental information on it.  This is something I deffinately need to decided before going any further.  Also if you could suggest any books that might help me out, I would be greatful.

All for now.  I remain

Your Servant,
Moe Skeeter

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2005, 11:54:32 pm »
Moe:

Regular Infantry of the Line is a good choice - there is probaly more stuff available, in the way of reproduction equipment, uniforms, etc., than for a lot of other types of units.  (Not that the market is exactly "flooded" with Victorian-era British stuff  - certainly not to anywhere near the extent of U.S. Civil War, Indian Wars and Spanish American War stuff ...)  However, that just adds to the challenge - and the uniqueness of the impression!

As I mentioned previously, I am still working on my list of reference material on period British uniforms and related equipment, for the GAF Uniform Board.  Unfortunately, I am not aware of any very extensive works on British Army uniforms generally.  I believe that the lack of such "all encompassing" references results from the very strong Regimental system of the British military, and the fact that uniforms, insignia and such were considerably different from one Regiment to another - beyond the basic tunic patterns, etc.  There are loads of references - some running to several volumes - on individual Regiments, which again points to the necessity of completing your basic historical research first so you can decide which unit you want to portray.

Osprey Publishing has several Men-At-Arms volumes which may help with your research.  As you are aware, these volumes are quite well illustrated and can be pretty good "starting points".  Two which I would recommend as "general references" for the relavent time period are: #198 ("The British Army On Campaign #2, 1856-1881") - and #201 ("The British Army On Campaign #3, 1882-1902").  Notice, by the way, that the coverage of these two volumes is effectively up to, and then following, the 1881 Dress Regulations mentioned in my earlier post.  Another good volume for a general overview of the related gear of the British soldier (i.e. the harness/belt/pouch carriage systems worn by Other Ranks, but also with some coverage of Officers' Equipment) is Osprey Men-At-Arms #107 - "British Infantry Equipments, 1808-1908".   

To "liven up" this post somewhat, here is a composite of two images scanned from the colour plates in Osprey M-A-A#201, depicting a Sergeant of the Black Watch (Egypt, 1882) and an Officer of the Royal Scots (Zululand, 1882).  I sent this image to Mr. Suri at Ujna International in India (see list of sources and suppliers, below), from which they made me a Highland Pattern Field Service Tunic like that being worn by both men ...


In addition to Dress attire and accoutrements and later khaki field dress, I already have pretty much all of the field uniform and gear pictured above - including a reproduction set of Pattern 1871 Equipment, as is worn by the Black Watch Sergeant.  I am currently in the process of making myself a pair of trews (tartan trousers) such as are being worn by the Royal Scots Lieutenant.  Trews are one example of the distinctions between different types of units in the British Army - "Highland Regiments wore the kilt, exclusively, whereas other regiments designated as "Scottish" wore trews only.   Officers of both types of unit could wear trews, though Officers of Scottish Regiments would not wear the kilt and Highland Officers would only wear trews in the field and in certain other "undress" orders of attire.  Kilts and trews were always in the specified tartan for that regiment, of course ...  Gets a wee bit confusing, eh?  (Take heart: it will not really be quite as bad for the Regular Infantry - my "choice" to depict a Highland Officer does present a few more challenges, but not as bad as trying to do an officer of Hussars, however!)

Once you narrow your choice down, you may want to browse through the very extensive offerings of "The Naval and Military Press Ltd." a British publisher which offers a great deal of reference material - including a lot of facsimile edtitions of period publications - e.g. detailed works on specific Regiments, campaigns, etc.  (They are the publisher of the reprinted 1891 Dress Regulations I have.)  Here is their website - to browse (and bookmark):  http://www.naval-military-press.com

Finally, through the magic of "cut and paste", here is the entire list of suppliers I compiled some time ago for the GAF Uniform Board - Enjoy! -

BRITISH EMPIRE:

INTERNATIONAL MILITARY ANTIQUES (IMA)
1000 Valley Road
Gillette, NJ    07933
Phone: 1-908-903-1200
Fax: 1-908-903-0106
Email: customerservice@ima-usa.com
Website: http://www.ima-usa.com
Some reproduction (and original) Victorian-era British militaria, including Foreign Service helmets and other headgear, cap badges & helmet plates, leather accoutrements (including P’1871 and P’1888 harness, belts, holsters, ammunition bandoliers, leather courier pouch and crossbelt, etc.), P’1871 haversack and waterbottle, swords and bayonets, firearms.

THIN RED LINE
Wynnstay House, Spa Road,
Llandrindod Wells, Powys, Wales.
LD1 5EY. UK
Phone: (01597) 823272
Fax: (01597) 824505
Website: http://www.thinred.co.uk/
EVERYTHING (except clothing) - rather expensive.

LAWRENCE ORDNANCE
Ground Floor - 802 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia
Phone: 61 + 2 + 9212 5673
Fax: 61 + 2 + 9212 6391
Mobile: 0414 762 308
Email: LawranceOrdnance@bigpond.com
Website: http://www.lawranceordnance.com/new/menu.html
Foreign Service helmets, swords
 
WORLD WIDE MILITARY EXCHANGE INC.
PO Box 745
Batavia, Il    60510
Phone: (630) 761-4004
Fax: 1-888-851-0866
Toll-free: 1-800-863-3254
e-mail: sales@wwmeinc.com
Website: http://www.wwmeinc.com/cgi-bin/wwme/index.html
Foreign Service and Wolseley helmets, badges, leather goods

UJNA UNIVERSAL (Replicaters.com)
113/41, SWAROOP NAGAR
Kanpur- 208001
India
Ph/Fax: 0091-512-2550519
Mobile :9839031076
E-mail: sanjaysuri@satyam.net.in
Website:  http://www.replicaters.com/index.html
Made-to-measure uniforms, clothing, insignia, accoutrements - quite inexpensive, can make items based on pictures you supply (but be careful to clarify anything which is unclear from the image.)

THE HIGHLAND BRIGADE
3930 Glade Road, Suite 108
PMB - 101
Colleyville, TX 76014
Phone (toll free in U.S.): 877-989-9985
E-mail: history@highlandbrigade.com
Website: http://www.highlandbrigade.com/index.asp
"The finest in Reproduction Highland Officers Accoutrements - 1800-1914" Gorgeous stuff.
 
THE REGIMENTAL QUARTERMASTER
Stan Dolan
7274 N Dante Ave
Fresno, CA. 93722
Phone: 559-276-9441
E-mail: regimental_quartermaster@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.the-rqm.com/
"Manufacturer of British Victorian Uniforms and Accoutrements" (Note: This is a one man operation, and Stan has been suffering from ill health lately, so may be unable to supply items.)
 
PITHHELMETS.COM (Division of villagehatshop.com)
http://pithhelmets.com/
http://www.villagehatshop.com/index.html
Foreign Service and Wolseley Pattern (pith) helmets

THE SUTLERS STORES LIMITED
7-11 Poole Road & 39-41 West Hill Road
The Triangle
Bournemouth
BH2 5PW UK
Telephone: 01202 296 692
Email: info@sutlers.co.uk
Webpage (Zulu through Boer Wars specific): http://www.sutlers.co.uk/acatalog/THE_SUTLERS_STORES_ZULU_AND_BOER_WARS_LATE_VICTORIAN_1879_1901_40.html
Main emphasis is on the American West and military, but they offer some very nice British uniform items (mostly made to order) and accoutrements of the Zulu War through Boer War, at the above specific webpage.

O'DEA & CO. MILITARY EQUIPMENTS
P.O. Box 3785
Camp Verde, AZ
86322-3785
Tel:  (928) 592-0683
e-mail:  info@britishmilitaryequipments.com
Website:  http://www.britishmilitaryequipments.com/
Selection of well-made, "correct" reproductions of various accoutrements

                                         
« Last Edit: September 27, 2005, 11:19:11 am by RattlesnakeJack »
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2005, 03:36:12 pm »
Moe:

I do hope that my posts are of some small assistance, and interest, to you.  (If not, I am nevertheless enjoying playing hooky somewhat from "w*rk" - sorry for the use of that four-letter word - while putting them together.)

Since I have some of the books out, anyway, here are some quick scans from Osprey M-A-A #107 (British Infantry Equipments, 1808-1908) ....   I realize that they all depict "Other Ranks", rather than Officers, but thought that they might give you some "feel" for the uniforming and equipment of different Victorian-era timeframes.  (Actually, cut and appearance of Officers' uniforms is pretty much the same as for the Other Ranks - though quality of cloth and tailoring would have been better - otherwise, it was primarily the badging and accoutrements which differed markedly.  Thus, when you get yourself uniformed, you could  "go both routes" as circumstances and your personal whims may direct, by changing out the necessary insignia and external equipment - this is the direction I am moving with my own stuff.)

Anyway, the first picture depicts a Sergeant of the 24th Regiment "on campaign" during the Zulu War (1879) -

He has on the Pattern 1871 Valise equipment.  The leather harness was made of buff leather - usually kept whitened with "blanko", but here appearing rather grubby from the rigours of the campaign. The lower-right inset shows a rear view of a  Private of the same Regiment, in full marching order.  (By the way, this is the Regiment elements of which defended the station at Rourke's Drift, as depicted in the movie "Zulu", if you've seen that.  And therein lies an excellent example of the confusion which can arise from the 1881 reforms and re-organization of the British Army:  in 1879, the 24th was, in fact, the "24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment".  However, even though it was a British production, the movie referred to them as "The South Wales Borderers" and depicted the majority of the rank and file as Welshmen - notwithstanading that it was not until 1881 that the unit became "The South Wales Borderers", the County regiment of several shires in South Wales and adjacent England.)

The second image shows a member of the 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment on the North West Frontier of India in 1898, but wearing the Pattern 1882 Valise Equipment.  (That pattern had been officially replaced with the Pattern 1888, but this unit, on one of the far frontiers of the Empire, had yet to receive the new pattern 10 years after its adoption.  Note that he is in particularly grubby campaign condition, and that his buff leather harness is completely lacking any whitening - intentional, since the benefits of camouflage were definitely becoming recognized, as evident from his khaki service dress.  The lower-right inset shows a Private of the same Regiment attired for Home Service (i.e. stationed in Britain), with the P'1882 Equipment in Full Marching Order.


Finally, an image depicting a Sergeant of the Second Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, in the Sudan in 1896.  He is wearing the Pattern 1888 Equipment (also known as Slade-Wallace Equipment) although his is black in keeping with the tradition of outfitting British units designated as "Rifles" with black accoutrements.  The two small insets show some of the components in whitened buff leather - note the backside of the pouch and underside of the flap are not whitened so the natural colour of the buff leather is exposed.  This was because they were not visible, normally - and also to minimize the liklihood of blanco rubbing off on the uniform.  For the same reason, the backside of the waistbelt, undersides of the "suspenders", and so on, would be left untreated. This practice is apparent in some of the small insets in the first two pictures, as well.   The lower-right inset depicts a rear view of a private in The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) in Malta during the 1890's, in Full Marching Order ....
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline Forty Rod

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2005, 03:44:22 pm »
THE REDCOATS ARE COMING!!!

THE REDCOATS ARE COMING!!!

Rally the militia.  Lock the women and children away.  Man the walls.  Spread the word. Put on a pot for tea.  Break out the biscuits.

THE REDCOATS ARE COMING!!!
People like me are the reason people like you have the right to bitch about people like me.

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2005, 06:39:58 pm »
Och, Man!  Could ye no' be substitutin' a wee drap o' the uisge beatha for that Sassenach tea, the noo?     ;)
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline Moe Skeeter

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2005, 09:38:49 pm »
Mr. Robson,

Thank you very much for all the information.  I am starting to go through the sources for equipment you have listed and I enjoyed the pictures very much.  I have continued in my research and found one of several Regiments that I have an interest in.  Any thoughts you might have, as usual, are appreciated. 

The unit I am thinking about is the 3rd Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps (as I am an American and this unit has it's heraldry from the 60th Royal Americans).  I also am very much taken with the Highland Regiments (much like everybody else) as my mother's family is Scottish (clan McPherson).  The 3rd Batt. KRRC also served in some of the areas I have a greater interest in than others...namely the campaigns and wars in Africa (i.e.- primarily the Sudan Wars in the mid to late 1880's).  Something else against the Highlanders is I do not wish to "steal" your impression.  They have a long and storied history with honor and pride that puts many to shame.

As aforementioned I would still greatly appreciate any help you can continue to provide.  Continuiously remaining

Humbly

Your Servant,
Moe Skeeter

Offline Malachi Thorne

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2005, 10:49:30 pm »
Good Evening, Moe Skeeter;

As luck would have it, I happen to have a great deal of information (unit history, uniform specifications, notable personalities, etc.) on the King's Royal Rifle Corps -- as well as several Victorian and early 20th Century uniforms and accoutrements in my personal collection.  (I belong to an organization that recreates a British officer's mess circa 1890; I portray LtCol Sir Edward Hutton...)

I would be happy to share whatever information and sources I can with you.

I'll send you a PM with my e-mail address, to better facilitate communications and sharing of information.

I have the honor to remain,

Your Obedient Servant,

Bvt. Capt. Malachi Thorne
I have the honor to remain,

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Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2005, 01:29:20 am »
A very fine Regiment, with a long and honourable history!

(Admit it, now - your innate conservatism is pushing you in the direction of depicting a unit where you won't have to wear red - or keep your equipment properly whitened - isn't it?!   ;) )

I presume you will have reviewed the relevant pages at Regiments.Org ....

Happen to have a couple of images at hand, which may be of some interest ...

The first is Plate H1, Osprey M-A-A 198 ("The British Army on Campaign, 1856-1881") - A Corporal of the 3rd Battalion, 60th Rifles, South Africa, 1879, 1881. (Or, to give the unit's full name until July 1881: the 60th (The King's Royal Rifle Corps) Regiment of Foot.   As you may be aware, the Notes on the colour plates in these volumes are all too brief - the entire Note relating to this image reads:  "Owing to the fugitive nature of rifle-green dye, the frocks and trousers of the 60th are now of black serge.  H1 is based on C.E. Fripp's watercolour of the Ingogo battle against the Boers, which shows reduced Valise Equipment being worn; Zulu War pictures of this battalion show it complete.  Note Rifles' sword bayonet.  60th officers had black Sam Brownes in 1881."




The second is a download from somewhere on the 'Net of one of the late-19th century military prints - don't recall the artist - depicting the King's Royal Rifles on exercise in Britain - undoubtedly post-1881 ....



I shall have a look around to see what else I may have ....

Also - go to the Naval and Military Press link I gave before, and search for "ANNALS OF THE KING’S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS" - that is a 2003 reprint of a monumental 5 volume set originally published from 1913 through 1932 (Vol 1 covers 1755-1802; Vol 2 - 1803-1830; Vol 3 - 1831-1871; Vol 4 - 1872-1913; Vol 5 - "The Great War").  Those five volumes are not cheap, at £22.00 each, but I gather are very detailed.  There is also a "lavishly illustrated" Appendix Volume on "UNIFORM, ARMAMENT AND EQUIPMENT", which might be of considerable interest to you - though it is even pricier at £33.00 ....

Here are the small illustrations on the N&MP website relating to these volumes, which I presume are some of the Plates from the Appendix volume:


« Last Edit: September 28, 2005, 01:34:36 am by RattlesnakeJack »
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline Moe Skeeter

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2005, 02:31:00 pm »
Gentlemen,

Thank you all so much for all the help and time spent answer my questions and providing all the links and suppliers.  I do appreciate it.  I will freely admit, wearing a red coat into combat does smack of wearing a large "Shoot Me!" sign.  Must be a United States thing... ::)

Hopefully as the future unfolds we will be able to represent the British Empire in ever increasing numbers.  There is a lot of history in this short period of time, and it is a shame most of it has been forgotten.  As I come up with questions I hope you all will not mind if ask away.  I remain, always

Your Humble & Obedient Servant, &c. &c.
Moe Skeeter

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2005, 03:46:12 pm »
My pleasure, Mr. Skeeter!

The answer to this next question may well already have been posted elsewhere on this forum but, if so, I "disremember" ....   ???  ::)  :-\ 

Will you be attending the GAF Muster at the end of October, by any chance?
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline Angus McKechnie

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2005, 03:53:52 pm »
Good stuff- I wish that there were equivalent references on British Army equipment and uniforms along the same lines as John Langellier's Army Blue or Douglas McChristian's book on US Army infantry uniforms and equipment. Call me lazy but a "one stop" source would be cool!  ;D

Angus McKechnie
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NCOWS 2465

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2005, 05:31:05 pm »
Good stuff- I wish that there were equivalent references on British Army equipment and uniforms along the same lines as John Langellier's Army Blue or Douglas McChristian's book on US Army infantry uniforms and equipment. Call me lazy but a "one stop" source would be cool!  ;D

I wholeheartedly agree!  Perhaps I should consider compiling such a reference  ..... NOT!   :P

The very thought of the massive amount of work that would entail leaves me aghast!   :o
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline Moe Skeeter

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2005, 05:43:21 pm »
Mr. Robson,

Alas, unfortunately I will be unable to attend.  Where I work we are a bit shorthanded, and the bosses have pretty much put a suspension on asking for any time off, unless an extreme emergency.  I have started to plan my campaign to make it to the GAF Muster in '06.  Hopefully there will be yet another soldier to represent Her Majesty the Queen. 

Fondest and Best Wishes,
Moe Skeeter

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2005, 01:03:23 am »
Mr. Skeeter:

Your inability to attend Muster is truly unfortunate - it would have been a pleasure to meet you in person - perhaps at some future time.

I have located a couple more images for your review:

First, a somewhat larger, better-resolution version of one of the above prints -  "The Kings Royal Rifles Skirmishing" ...


And now a rather interesting print - "The 1st Middlesex Victoria Rifles - 4th Volunteer Battalion of the King's Royal Rifles - 1889" ...


Finally, a Sergeat of the King's Royal Rifles, circa 1900 ....
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline Dr. Bob

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2005, 02:04:52 am »
Greetings Gentlemen,

I too have been considering adding a British impression in the GAF period to my uniform closet.  I have an 1814 Surgeon of the 14th Light Dragoons, who I mess with at Mississinewa 1812.  I may be getting a Surgeons uniform for the 95th (Rifles) Reg't. of Foot for 1814 as well.

For GAF I want to do a RED coat impression!  I usually portray a Surgeon or Engineer, but they are wearing a BLUE coat during the GAF era.  I have ancestors from England (Leak), Ireland (Vaugh), and Wales (Dorian) and would like to do a Reg't. from one of these regiions.

RJR, can you recommend an Irish Reg't. serving prior to the 1882 reguation?  Was there an Irish Reg't. in the Crimea? [Yes, I know that this is a little early for the GAF period, but, since that uniform went into the GAF era, I might want to go with it.]  I believe that the Royal Engineer Dress uniform was red, but with lots & lots of gold lace and would probably be very expensive to reproduce.  Oh, the pity of being poor!  Maybe your supplier in India could be afforable.  Thanks in advance for your assistance.

YMH&OS,

Capt. R. H. Dorian
Brv't. LtC., Chief Topographical Engineer
Grand Army of the Frontier
Regards, Doc
Dr. Bob Butcher,
NCOWS 2420, Senator
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Motto: Clean mind  -  Clean body,   Take your pick

Offline US Scout

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2005, 05:16:43 am »
Jack,

Once again, you've managed to bring up British regiments of interest to me.

I became interested in the Rifle Regiments (60th and 95th) in the late '60s while living in the UK, and long before the name Richard Sharpe appeared in print.

This summer while in the UK, I managed to make a quick (too quick) visit to the Royal Green Jackets Museum in Winchester.  To do it justice requires at least 4 hours.  I was both surprised and pleased to learn that during WWII a number of Americans were mustered into the the 6oth (Royal Americans, Royal Rifle Regiment, etc). 

For some years now I've toyed with the idea of putting together a Rifle uniform for the 1860s or 1870s.  Perhaps one of these days I'll actually do it. 

Thanks for the images.

US Scout
Bvt Col of Marines

Offline Malachi Thorne

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2005, 09:10:50 am »
Good Morning, Dr. Bob and US Scout;

I have the complete  Officer's Uniform Specification for British Officers for 1900, and would be happy to copy selected portions of it, if it would be of assistance to you.  I also have several Victorian/Edwardian examples of KRRC uniforms and accoutrements in my personal collection, and would be happy to photograph anything that might assist you in your efforts to recreate British Uniforms.

By the way, Dr. Bob, you might want to reconsider your desires for a redcoated uniform.  Cheif Ceteswayo of the Zulus gave strict orders to his Impis to slaughter without mercy any European in a red uniform -- and the Impis and their commanders took this order quite literally; killing infantrymen and engineers, but often leaving artillery (dark blue uniforms), cavalry (dark blue uniforms, usually), rifles (green uniforms) and command and support personnel (dark blue uniforms again) untouched.  Just a thought... ;)

I'll look through my copies of Simpkin's and the 1900 regs this evening, though, and look for a nice Irish regiment with not a lot of lace on their uniforms...

I have the honor to remain,

Your Obedient Servant,

Bvt. Captain Malachi Thorne
I have the honor to remain,

Your Obedient Servant,

Bvt Col. M. Thorne
Department of the Pacific

"Marine Artillery brings dignity to an otherwise vulgar brawl"

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2005, 02:36:07 pm »
Dr. Bob:

For an Irish Regiment, a quick check on Regiments.Org suggests The Royal Irish Regiment - founded in 1684 as the Earl of Granard's Regiment of Foot, became the Royal Regiment of Ireland in 1698, pre-1881 Victorian-era designation was the 18th (The Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot (1782-1881) and then with the 1881 reorganization became The Royal Irish Regiment until disbanded in 1922 upon formation of the Irish Free State - which approaches 250 years of continuous existence!

I see that its Battle Honours include "Sevastopol", so it obviously served in the Crimea.  Haven't had time to check it out further, but would assume that it wore red, as a Regiment of the Line.  You may want to browse the Regiments.org page on it, and maybe look at some of the links there:  http://regiments.org/regiments/uk/inf/018RIrish.htm

I'll try to look through my references for other information, and possibly images, later .....
« Last Edit: September 29, 2005, 02:38:06 pm by RattlesnakeJack »
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier
Old West ClipArt & History Website:  http://rattlesnakejacks.com/

Offline Dr. Bob

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2005, 08:08:47 pm »
Greetings Capt. Thorne & Col. Robson,

Capt. Thorne,

I am much gratified that you have warned me about the danger inherent in donning a Red uniform.  In following the link so kindly provided by RJR to the 18th [Royal Irish] Reg't of Foot I learned that it was never stationed to the south of Africa during the Zulu wars.  I think that a Red coat will do just fine! ;D ;D

Col. Robson,

Thank you for directing me toward the 18th [Royal Irish] Reg't. of Foot.  I followed the link and found a very basic chronology, battle awards, Colonels &c., but no link to a set of plates of uniforms.  I will try a google search and see if there is anything out there.

YMH&OS,

Capt. R. H. Dorian
Brv't. LtC, Chief Topographical Engineer
Grand Army of the Frontier
Regards, Doc
Dr. Bob Butcher,
NCOWS 2420, Senator
HR 4
GAF 405,
NRA Life,
KGC 8.
Warthog
Motto: Clean mind  -  Clean body,   Take your pick

Offline Malachi Thorne

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2005, 10:57:07 pm »
Good Evening, Dr. Bob;

May I recommend the (88th Foot) Connaught Rangers?

Established in 1793, and disbanded in 1922, the Connaught Rangers battle honors include:

Pyrenees
South Africa 1877-78-79
Relief of Ladysmith
South Africa 1899-1902

According to the Uniform Specification of 1900:

Tunic: Scarlet cloth with cloth collar, and cuffs of the colour of the regimental facings (green)

More information may be found at: http://www.regiments.org/regiments/uk/inf/088Connt.htm#bh

I'm still looking for a photo of a victorian uniform; I'll post it when I find one.

I have the honor to remain,

Your Obedient Servant,

Bvt. Capt. Malachi Thorne

I have the honor to remain,

Your Obedient Servant,

Bvt Col. M. Thorne
Department of the Pacific

"Marine Artillery brings dignity to an otherwise vulgar brawl"