Author Topic: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression  (Read 64437 times)

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2005, 01:54:13 pm »
Dr. Bob:

I've located one online image showing the uniform of the Royal Irish Regiment - albeit rather tiny - on the Cranston Fine Arts military prints website - showing a print of an painting by Harry Payne which they offer.  I believe this uniform is definitely post-1881 (actually about 1900 or so if I recall when this series of prints were done - and judging by the Magazine Lee-Enfield rifles apparent in most of them), but at least this "thumbnail" pic is a small start. .... (pardon the pun ... ::)  )



Matter of fact, here is a link to the page of Payne's uniform prints specifically on the Irish Regiments - i.e. Royal Irish Regiment, Irish Rifles, Royal Irish Fusiliers, Royal Munster Fusiliers, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Royal Iniskilling Fusiliers, and the Connaught Rangers (all of whom, except the Irish Rifles, wore the red tunic) -

http://www.military-uniforms.com/irish_regiments.htm

Note that the majority of Irish regiments were Fusiliers, for some reason.  One possible concern with doing a Fusilier impression would be the necessity of getting the tall black bearskin headgear.  I can't imagine what such an item might cost,  even though most of the fur used for this headgear, for the Guards and Fusilier regiments throughout the Commonwealth, comes from Canada.    I gather there has been a campaign afoot for years among the "animal rights" activists to have them made with artificial fur!  (However, I also recall reading that exactly such a move has been tried - more for reasons of economy than "political correctness" - and that it was discovered that none of the substitutes tried would stand up for a reasonable length of time to the rigours of continuous exposure to sunlight, rain, wind, etc.)

Still haven't had the chance to paw through my at-home references ....
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 #26 on: October 01, 2005, 03:14:10 am »
Greetings RJR & Capt. Thorne,

Capt. Thorne,

Thank you for the info on the Connaught Rangers.  They are certainly a possibility.

Col. Robson,

Thank you for your continuing effort.  I must agree that the bearskin cap is a consideration.  I have a wholesale source for fun and could get the hide, but don't know if I have the skill to make it into a cap. 

It is still my desire to acquire a uniform of the late 1850's or early 1860's.  I have contacted my friend, Tim Pickles, who is active in the War of 1812 & Napoleonic re-enacting and I think also in the Crimean War.  I will get a chance to visit with him next weekend at Mississinewa 1812 at Marion,IN.  He has indicated that the late Crimean war Royal Engineers uniform was RED.  He says that he has images.  I hope that I will be able to learn what I need from our visit.  I hope that it will be soemthing that I can afford!

Thank you Gentlemen for your most kind help!!

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,
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Motto: Clean mind  -  Clean body,   Take your pick

Offline RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2005, 12:02:52 pm »
Dr. Bob:

  Do not despair of creating a Royal Engineers impression!!!

Yes indeed, the Royal Engineers tunic was red (well, "scarlet", officially) throughout the Victorian era!  If you are familiar with the movie "Zulu" (timeframe 1879)  Lieutenant Chard (Stanley Baker) was a Royal Engineers officer.  I now recall that I meant to mention this when responding to you in this thread, to correct your misunderstanding in that regard, but guessI got sidetracked on Irish regiments  ....

Here is a smallish version of a well-known (in Canada at least) military history painting depicting an Officer and Other Ranks of the Royal Engineers engaged in the construction of the Cariboo Road in the British Columbia interior (1858-1863) - which is smack on your exact period of interest! - 

Matter of fact, now that my aged brain cells are being stimulateded into slightly less sluggish activity, did I not refer you to this image some time ago, or was it someone else?  If I did, I see where you may have gotten the impression that Engineers Officers wore blue, if you did not follow up from there with your research.  The frogged blue frock coat being worn by the Officer in this picture is only one of the various types of coat that he would have worn under the Dress Regulatioons.   In the "red" British regiments or Services, including the Royal Engineers, the "Tunic" (such as worn by the Sgt- Maj talking to the officer), "Serge Patrol Jacket" (as worn by the mounted Corporal), and "Mess Jacket"  and "Mess Waistcoat" were all scarlet; only the "Frock" and "Patrol Jacket" (as distinct from the "Serge Patrol Jacket" mentioned above) were blue - usually with black trim  (braid and lace) .....  Gets a mite confusing, eh wot?

Here is a link to a considerably larger version of the same image, to permit you to see a bit more detail ...
http://members.memlane.com/gromboug/re1862lg.jpg

And here is a very nice website on the Royal Engineers in Western Canada during your time period of interest:
http://www.royalengineers.ca/sindex.html 
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 #28 on: October 01, 2005, 05:25:16 pm »
Greetings Col. Robson,

Yes, you did send me both the picture and the link.  I did in fact look at both and did not come to the realization that the tunic was in fact red.  I will examine the site that you provided the link for again.  I do think that I would like the RE impression, where I can exhibit my equipment.  You will get to see it at the Muster.  Thank you for setting me straight and for all of your help and encouragement!!

Your Most Humble & Obedient Servant,

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 RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2005, 12:56:11 pm »
Capt. Dorian:

Ahhh!  It is grand that we now have you on you way toward your preference in British military impressions.

With your permission, I will send directly to you, as e-mail attachments, the relevant portions of the 1891 Dress Regulations (i.e. the General Instructions and the section on the Royal Engineers.)
I realize that this post-dates your period of interest, but presume that you might find the information of interest, and perhaps even of some use.  (This would likely consist of the General Instructions in the form of a Word text file, but the Royal Engineers section would be scans, sent as image files, since I do not have that portion of the Regulations converted.)

For that matter, would you like the section on the Medical Department - or did I send that to you before?   (Once again my misfiring synapses are hinting to me that I may have done so already ...)
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 #30 on: October 02, 2005, 01:23:37 pm »
Capt. Dorian:

After posting the above, it occurred to me that it might be of some use to provide an image of the cut and style of the standard British Army tunic of the late 1850's and early 1860's.  Here is one image I happen to have at hand - it depicts a Private of the Canadian 10th Battalion of Volunteer Militia circa 1863.  Note the similarity to the tunic shown on the Sgt-Maj in the above Royal Engineers painting.  (One caution - the artist was in error on the number of buttons - I understand that the regulations specified eight.  Admittedly there are only seven visible in this painting, but assuming even spacing there would appear to be at least nine there.)

As you are undoubtedly aware, an officer's tunic would have been quite similar, although of superior fabric and tailoring, and with different insignia.   Hope this is of some further assistance ...

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 #31 on: October 02, 2005, 01:53:46 pm »
Col. Robson,

Thank you for your most kind offer, however I can't open Word files with my WebTV.  Jpeg scans of pages are extremely difficult to read.

The 1857 Regualtion is on the Royal Engineers in British Columbia web site.  I got up close enough to read the descriptions on the period photograps and most were of the 1857 uniform.  I believe that someone said that the earlier the tunic, the longer it is.  I hope to get a greater understanding next weekend when I visit with my friends in Indiana.

Again, thank you for all of your help!

YMH&OS,

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 Dr. Bob

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2005, 02:07:49 pm »
Col. Robson,

Thank you so much for the image!!! ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D  One picture is worth more than 1000 words when you don't have a decent frame of reference.  This helps ever so much.

Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant,

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 RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #33 on: October 03, 2005, 12:49:08 am »
Capt. Dorian:

I have located a few more images - the first of which which will perhaps even rate 8 or 10 smiley faces!  ;)

The following image is scanned from one of my references ("Canadian Military Heritage - Vol. II - 1755-1871", René Chartrand - published under the auspices of the Directorate of History, Department of National Defence of Canada)    The caption reads: "Officers of the Royal Engineers between 1860 and 1870.  O. Norrie. Watercolour.  Anne S. K. Brown  Military Collection, Brown University, Providence."  (i.e. Rhode Island.)


Note that the seated officer is attired very much like the officer in the Cariboo Road painting I included above (my scan of which came from this same reference.)  I wonder if you could get any more information by contacting Brown University. 

FWIW, here is a scan of another painting from the same collection, which appears in the same chapter of this book - its caption reads:  "Officer, Sergeant and soldier of a British infantry regiment.  This uniform was worn from 1858 to 1868.  H. Martens. Watercolour


On the assumption that photographs would actually be more reliable references for proper cut and style of a tunic of the period, here is a photo identified as a British Pattern 1854 tunic - in this case with details (cuffs, etc.) for infantry: note that it is the exact pattern all of the men in the above watercolour are wearing.  (At this point, I can't tell you which date - 1858 or 1854 - is in error for the year of introduction of this pattern of tunic, but I assume that may be of little consequence, for your purposes.)


Finally, here is a photograph of of a Canadian Militia Infantry tunic of the same period (1863-70) which is what the fellow is wearing in the print in my most recent previous post, though this example has only a line of white braid on the shoulders, in lieu of the more common shoulder straps.  (At least both of these actual examples show the correct number of buttons!  :D )


By the way, an online version of all three volumes of "Canadian Military Heritage" (a bit abbreviated, and lacking some of the images) is available for viewing on a Canadian Military Heritage website of the Government of Canada ....   Enjoy:
http://www.cmhg.gc.ca/cmh/en/default.asp?flash=1
« Last Edit: October 03, 2005, 01:18:20 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 Dr. Bob

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #34 on: October 03, 2005, 03:07:18 am »
Col. Rogson,

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D !!!

How about a dozen.  The first tunic photo is a Sargent if I understand the  British reg.  It is interesting that the two tunics in the photographs are the same and quite different at the same time.

Questions on the Engineer plate.  Is the busby cap required for the Engineer Officer dress uniform?  I am guessing that the elaborate lace or embroidery of the cuffs is the "pattern in the Engineers office" kind of thing.  The Engineer in the tunic does not appear to have the gold lace on the out seam of the pants.  I think that a red cloth strip was also used.

What can you tell me about the strip of what appears to be silver on blue lace that is diagonal across the right breast.  Also is the device on his left breast some sort of badge of knighthood?  So much to learn!

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! 

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 RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #35 on: October 03, 2005, 01:59:41 pm »
Capt. Dorian:

Pleased to be of ongoing assistance!

Yes the first photographed tunic bears Sergeant's insignia - note that, to the extent visible, it is badged exactly like the tunic worn by the Sergeant in the watercolour above the photo. 

As you have noted, being based on a War Department "Pattern", all of these tunics are pretty much the same in style and cut - differing primarily in the details of facing colour, cuff style, and the like (depending on branch of service and regiment) and also in badging & insignia, of course.  Also, officer's field dress (at least) would be of the same configuration - though as mentioned would likely be of superior fabric quality and tailoring.    Commissioned rank was signified by the gold braid, rank insignia on the collar (pre-1881), officer's sash, and sword - and also by bearing and demeanor, of course!

By the way, British and American Officer's sashes are sufficiently similar that a sash from a Civil War sutler serves perfectly well.

Suitable gold lace (which ideally should be present even on an officer's field tunic, at least at collar and cuffs) is available from "The Discriminating General" up here in Canada - http://www.militaryheritage.com/m_access.htm - the 1/2" "generic" gold lace (closest thing they have available to the 5/8" width specified by the Regs for officers' collars and cuffs) is available only in 25 meter rolls, at US$3.95 per meter. Though I don't need that much, I have been considering "biting the bullet" and ordering a roll - my decision would be easier if I had someone to share the cost! I do know one other fellow who might want some of it, and I'd actually likely want half of a 25 meter roll for my own purposes.

Yes, I believe that the standing RE officer in the first watercolour is in Full Dress - based upon the busby (only required for that Order of Dress, I believe), the amount of gold lace and braid, the gold (apparently) sideseam stripes on the trousers, the dress belt and the dress crossbelt.  In lower orders of dress there would be fewer embellishments, and the trouser stripe would be red (2" wide.)

If I'm not mistaken, the crossbelt you have asked about (i.e. the strap across the chest) is likely the Pouchbelt part of the Royal Engineers pattern of Dress Pouch (derived from actual field couriers' message pouches, but worn in a very ornate form by officers of certain Regiments and Services, in Full Dress, as a purely ceremonial item.)   However, I'm not positive of that -  it might also simply be the Royal Engineers' equivalent of an officer's sash.  Regardless, here is a photograph of Lieut. John Rouse Merriot Chard R.E.  (of Rorke's Drift fame) showing the same accoutrement - this photo obviously post-dates the action at Rorke's Drift in early 1879, since he is wearing the Victoria Cross awarded to him for that engagement) -



Here is a photo of some examples of Dress Pouches and Pouchbelts (though not for the Royal Engineers0 followed by a photo of a different configuration of pouch (silver flap).  When worn, the pouch was centered crossways on the back - you may recall seeing pictures of someone wearing such a pouch ...





By the way, the colour of the pouchbelt leather, behind the gold lace, is likely crimson (i.e. what we would be prone nowadays to call "wine" or maybe "maroon".)   The Dress belts of other  regiments or services could have different coloured leather - e.g. dark blue.  Here is another photo of a somewhat narrower(1 1/2" or even 1 1/4") Infantry officer's Full Dress or Levee Dress waistbelt and sword hangers, on which the colour of the leather is fairly evident:



Mind you, the width of the Engineer's dress waistbelt is liekly more like this Cavalry officer's dress belt:



Mind you, you wouldn't need to spring for any of this stuff, unless you want a Full Dress uniform ...

(By the way, the above four photos are shamelessly pirated from the online catalogue of Thin Red Line in the UK: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~thinred/ )

Finally, to answer your last question, the device on the standing Royal Engineer officer's left breast is almost certainly a campaign medal, which would be worn in that Order of Dress.  In fact, judging from the time period and the apparent white/red/white/red/white striping of the suspension ribbon, I believe it would be an Indian Mutiny medal (1858), with bar, like this:
« Last Edit: October 03, 2005, 02:09:56 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 RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #36 on: October 03, 2005, 02:31:06 pm »
Capt. Dorian:

Came across a website which might be of interest to you, particularly this page dealing with quite a number of Royal Engineers officers - some of them with photographs.  It looks like the majority of officers featured are 20th century, but quite a few are Victorian-era, and there appear to be severla very interesting photographs of them, as well - this is apparently an AOL member's webpage - it is slow, but undoubtedly worth your while to visit!

http://hometown.aol.com/reubique/reoff.htm

The site appears to be the labour of love of a Retired LtCol of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with a fascination for the Royal Engineers - he might prove to be of invaluable assistance to you!

Here is the main website URL:
http://hometown.aol.com/reubique/index.html

You might also want to contact the Institution of Royal Engineers:
http://www.inst-royal-engrs.co.uk/
« Last Edit: October 03, 2005, 02:36:10 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 #37 on: October 04, 2005, 01:11:21 am »
Colonel Robson,

Thanks once again for your assistance!  I looked at the RE site by the US Engineer.  Also very briefly at the RE Institute site.

I am packing for my trip to the Mississinewa 1812 event this coming Friday - Sunday near Marion IN.  I still have lots to do, so I will not be active on CAS City boards for the next week.

I will continue my quest for knowledge upon my return.

I do thnk that the field dress uniform is the way for me to go.  We can discuss the gold braid at the Muster, or when I get back.

YH&OS,
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 RattlesnakeJack

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Re: Help Needed...Wanting to start a British Impression
« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2005, 12:04:13 pm »
Capt. Dorian / Dr. Butcher:

Message received and fully understood.   ;)

Hope you have a grand time at this weekend's event - We of the Rocky Mountain Rangers have our annual two-day fall shoot here this weekend, so I'm a mite frazzled myownself, being the committee chairman and all ... still have to load ammo, etc.   :o

Look forward to meeting you in person at Muster.
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/