CHINA BOAT COATS

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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 26 Sep 2014 20:06

Same source. Dodd. p. 224.

Another important question arose during the year, how these troops ought to be clothed, and their health secured. English soldiers complain of their tightly buttoned and buckled garments in hot weather, even in an English climate, but in an Indian summer the oppression of such clothing is very grievous; and much anxiety was manifested, when it became known that thirty or forty thousand troops were to be sent out for the East, as to the dress to be adopted. The War office issued a memorandum on the subject, chiefly with the view of allaying public anxiety; * but it afterwards became known that, owing to blunders and accidents similar to those which so disastrously affected the Crimean army, the light clothing, even if sufficient in quantity, was not in the right place at the right time; and our gallant men were only kept from complaining by their excitement at the work to be done. It must at the same time be admitted that, owing to the slowness of the voyages, the majority of the reinforcements did not land in India until the intense heat of summer had passed.

[Here's the footnote giving the WO memorandum]:

According to existing regulations of some years' standing, every soldier in India is provided with the following articles of clothing in addition to those which compose his kit in this country:

Mounted men - 4 white jackets, 6 pair of white overalls, 2 pair of Settringee overalls
[don't know but interesting eh?], 6 shirts, 4 pair of cotton socks, 1 pair of white braces.

Foot soldiers - 4 white jackets, 1 pair of English summer trousers, 5 pair of white trousers, 5 white shirts, 2 check shirts, 1 pair white braces.

These articles are not supplied in this country, but form a part of the soldier's necessaries on his arrival in India, and are composed of materials made on the spot, and best suited to the climate.

During his stay in India, China, Ceylon, and at other hot stations, he is provided with a tunic and a shell jacket in alternate years; and in the year in which the tunic is not issued, the difference in the value of the two articles is paid to the soldier, to be expended (by the officer commanding) for his benefit in any articles suited to the climate of the station.

The force sent out to China and India has been provided with white cotton helmet and forage cap covers. Any quantity of light clothing for troops can be procured on the spot in India at the shortest notice.


So here's a good example of some loose and vague language being bandied about by the War Office itself. The Indian kit list by arm of service says 'jackets', but then when we get to annual issues we are suddenly talking about 'tunics' and 'shell-jackets'. What I think is going on here is that the white 'jackets' are also shell jackets, while the annual issues are in red serge - alternately tunics and shell jackets. 'Tunics' though are a new item - because the Home Army has only just dispensed with coatees - yet this reads like they have been issuing tunics in India for years. As to white 'helmet' covers...well no. These have to be covers for the P1855 shako. Nobody has 'helmets' in England. Is it any wonder we are up against it in working out what these men looked like!

More musings to follow....

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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 26 Sep 2014 21:50

By a curious chance I've just come across the settringee word (see above) somewhere else, and it now makes no sense at all. It is used as a noun and described as being a 'cotton padded rug' in the context of being part of a soldier's bedding in an Indian regiment (along with two blankets). So quite what settringee trousers are I am at a loss to account for.

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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 27 Sep 2014 00:24

mike snook wrote: So quite what settringee trousers are I am at a loss to account for.


Hobson Jobson offers this:

SITTRINGY , s. Hind. from Ar. shiṭranjī, shaṭranjī, and that from Pers. shaṭrang, 'chess,' which is again of Skt. origin, chaturanga, 'quadripartite' (see SADRAS). A carpet of coloured cotton, now usually made in stripes, but no doubt originally, as the name implies, in chequers.

Any chance it might be a reference to check or striped cotton trousers (the latter perhaps akin to seersucker or the ticken trousers of the late C18th)?
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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 28 Sep 2014 15:57

Mike, a few thoughts out loud in response to the questions you aired recently. Please excuse fragmentary nature.

mike snook wrote: jf
Yes, India kit, traditionally was white shell jackets and trousers. I have accessed the quantities involved which I will dig out with the rest of my data - but perhaps surprisingly large figures - top of the head...a number like 4 or 5 shell jackets and a broadly corresponding number of trousers...it might be one more than there are jacket , the obvious point being that one can't conceive of there being an adequate supply of white shell jackets lying around in company warehouses for the chaps to arrive.


Hence the rush jobs in Cawnpore to gets suits of khakee made up? (Up Among The Pandies) with some orders not being ready before troops marched up country.

mike snook wrote: units already in India and staring down the barrel of the Mutiny decide pretty much unanimously, on the Delhi front at least, that the last thing you want to be wearing in a war is a white jacket... Anyway, all those white jackets in the care of the commissariat are pretty much useless, though some are compelled to dye them 'khaki' in the way we have already discussed at length.


Surely, not entirely useless, since white drill was adapted by being dyed khaki/drab, etc.


mike snook wrote: But what are all those boys who come down from the Punjab wearing? You will recall that we put the 75th in khaki on the frontier well before the mutiny. Was it not 1853 or something like that? Are we really talking dyed white shell jackets? Or are we talking don't for goodness sake write off your nice issued white shell jacket (1 of 4?)by getting the dhobi wallah to fling it in the mud, but instead let's get these enterprising Indian contractors who follow us around everywhere to knock out some nice flannel shirts with trousers


Time factor: which was the quicker option- dyeing white drill or re-kitting a battalion with khaki 'suits' from the bazaar?

If each soldier had four jackets, only one/two sets of whites would need to have been dyed, given that a principal reason cited for the measure in summer 1857 was to minimise kit on the march to Delhi by reducing need for repeated laundering to keep white kit ‘smart’ (as for sweat impregnation, etc, best not thought on) i.e. the purpose of drab clothing was not purely tactical.

"I had a suit per man of the white clothing dyed at Sealkote immediately after I arrived from Lucknow, and we marched out of that place to join the PMC in it. My reason at the time for adopting it was the ulterior view of diminishing the Indian kit,…. Moreover, I thought it would be a good colour for service"
Colonel Campbell, 52nd LI

"..the peculiarity of their dress, the colour of which was khaki to which at my suggestion it had been dyed by order of the Colonel. White, our usual summer dress, looked soiled at once, and was moreover a good mark and most conspicuous from a long distance."
Richard Barter 75th

mike snook wrote: Short jackets.. are out....tunics...1855 pattern and all that... are now in....though not quite yet in India it seems to me. But the germ of the idea is there... Also we have these trooping smocks knocking about the place, by definition, we now know, the personal property of the soldiery.


It seems that the cotton frock/jacket may have officially replaced the shell jacket in summer 1858.

AG order 21st May 1858
With the concurrence of the [Govt]. the [C-in-C] is pleased to direct that white clothing shall be discontinued in the European regiments of the Honourable Company’s army; and that for the future the summer clothing of the European soldiers shall consist of two suits of ‘khakee.’ Corresponding in pattern and material to the clothing recently sanctioned for the Royal Army of England// [COs] will take steps to obtain patterns from regiments of Her Majesty’s service.

mike snook wrote:HM 75th on the other hand, who will lead the attack at Badli ke Serai are going to be in white shells... dyed khaki en route to their first fight. 1st Bengal Fusiliers for their part we know are in their white blousey shirtsleeves which, (you heard it here first), they dyed khaki on 10 June 1857. Joining the dots I would say that it was a grey version in accordance with some of the Atkinson based prints.

Just how long are the 75th wearing their dyed (formerly white) shell jackets for?... 12 weeks will pass before the escalade. Are they still in shell jackets? Or are they in a complete mish mash? Don't know.


This memoir from a Sgt of the 61st indicates the state of one infantry regiment's clothing as the hour of the escalade approached:
“The 61st Regiment wore all kinds of clothing at the capture of the Magazine on the 16th September; principally the twill cotton shell jackets and trousers dyed a very ugly khaki - dyed in the Camp before Delhi: - some were in old blue cotton trousers, in fact we were a rough looking lot dressed any how, just as the men fell into the ranks. I myself fractured the seat of my trousers in getting up the breach at Delhi,” Sergeant-Major H.G. Baker 61st North Gloucestershire

Even though Charles Griffiths, Captain in the 61st at Delhi, did not approve of the example set by one "most gallant regiment of Europeans which had served almost from the beginning of the siege, was known by the sobriquet of the "Dirty Shirts," from their habit of fighting in their shirts with sleeves turned up, without jacket or coat, and their nether extremities clad in soiled blue dungaree trousers." Presumably a comment on the 1st BEF. Although by contrast, however, Griffiths, approved of clothing worn by the army in general "a cotton dress, dyed with _khaki rang_, or dust colour, which at a distance could with difficulty be seen, and was far preferable to white or to the scarlet of the British uniform."

mike snook wrote: But when they get to Agra with Greathed, the relieved ladies are astonished to learn that the 75th who have just marched past them are actually Europeans. Instead they take them for Afghans. That sounds to me like they surely can't be in shell jackets, but in something kurta like.


Might tanned faces, beards, pagris and drab clothing have been enough to alarm the ladies?

"The imprisoned Europeans, the 3rd Europeans in red and pipeclay (unwonted sight). The Agra people stared at Europeans in khaki, wondered at those foreigners the Sikhs and at the martial cut-throats of Greene’s and Wilde’s." (Lang, HEIC Engineers. October 1857)

mike snook wrote: 1st Bengal Fusiliers we know are fighting in their shirtsleeves... the actual expression is 'Lord Lake's Dirtyshirts', so it pre-dates the Mutiny by a long march. Next the fact that the fusiliers are fighting in their shirtsleeves is strongly disapproved of by many officers, so there is no widespread imitation of them.

Then... Archdale Wilson takes command. Chaplain Rotton very emphatically states that Wilson 'made war' on fighting in shirtsleeves. Everybody had to wear a uniform of some kind. The wonderfully vague expression 'fatigue dress' starts to appear in orders. I fancy it is designed to cover a multitude of sins, but precludes shirtsleeves.


mike snook wrote: Question then. What on earth were the 1st Bengal Fusiliers wearing during the escalade? Atkinson shows 1st Fusiliers marching down from the hills in their pristine white shirts and trousers. Later we can see shirts in grey (fits with my 10 June discovery) but there is also that print of an unspecified regimental picket, with flaming grenades appearing as part of the insignia and two officers who look terribly like company infantry officers to me. All the lads are wearing grey (dyed white) shell jackets. So I reckon that the bad boys in 1st BF had been whipped in and actually would have undertaken the escalade in shells, not shirtsleeves.


Although they paraded in, fought in, shirtsleeves, is it possible that the Bengal fusiliers marched with jackets or some other 'top' in their kit? Thinking of the Scots and their doublets.

mike snook wrote: Let's now consider HM 52nd LI who came down from Punjab with Nicholson a bit later than most others... they dyed whatever they were wearing just before leaving Sealkote. If they are in flannel shirts were they really wearing white flannel shirts for them to be in need of dyeing? For which act, by the way, the commanding officer expressly sought permission. Or if they were in shells, which on the face of it would seem the more likely, by what means do they end up clad in flannel shirts?


Did they not need something to wear under their shell jackets? By which I mean flannel shirts and shell jackets/tunics need not have been mutually exclusive. Bearing in mind that the shipwrecked coys of 90th (e.g.) were provided with “a flannel shirt and cloth sufficient to supply each man one pair of trousers and one smock.”

According to Colonel Campbell's memoir the 52nd marched in a suit of dyed white drill, by the look of it one jacket and two pairs of trousers.

"I had a suit per man of the white clothing dyed at Sealkote immediately after I arrived from Lucknow, and we marched out of that place to join the PMC in it. My reason at the time for adopting it was the ulterior view of diminishing the Indian kit, on account of the difficulty of getting the white trousers and jackets washed quickly. The men were obliged to have five pairs of trousers, whereas with the kharka two were sufficient." Campbell, 52nd LI

By contrast, the 75th marched from Umbala with two jackets and one pair of trousers:

"We left in complete light marching order, no baggage of any kind, and as we were going to scorching heat, no warm clothing; two white jackets and trousers constituted the uniform and in fact the whole outward clothing of every officer and man." Richard Barter, 75th

mike snook wrote: As to white 'helmet' covers...These have to be covers for the P1855 shako...Nobody has 'helmets' in England.


Is it all possible this could refer to wicker sun helmets? They were worn by some units in during the Mutiny. Was it the intention that all should eventually be equipped them- as they were eventually?
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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 28 Sep 2014 22:18

jf

Having just lost a socking great text into infinity and beyond, I'm going to reply by item over a series of posts.

First, I don't know any set of cavalry overalls which were either striped or chequered. The only thing I can think of is the possibility of it referring in some way to reinforced crotch and inside legs.

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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 28 Sep 2014 22:29

Majendie. He was amongst the 25000 who landed at Calcutta by the New Year. Most of his book is about fighting around Lucknow in March.The scale of reinforcement I've described is likely to be at the heart of the problem of rushing clothing into production and failing to meet targets as suggested by the passage of Dodd cited above.

Cane Helmets. Majendie is the only source by the way to refer to the wicker/cane helmets as modelled by the 78th Highlander in the Sankey sketch. Even then he does so by allusion, by talking about the men's heads as candles about to be snuffed out! But I'm clear that's what he's talking about. I can see no reason to think that the helmet was restricted in some way to the 78th. I would be as near to certain as it's possible to be without being able to prove it (!) that these cane helmet items did not come from England, and, taken in context, that when the War Office was talking in its memorandum about helmet covers and forage cap covers the staff are talking about something issued in England. You can't make and issue covers for items you've never seen. So to my mind it is 1855 shako covers and Kilmarnock covers which are at issue.

The apparent RWF anomaly. The difference between HM 23rd RWF being reported on one hand in red and in the other in boat coats is the difference of a fortnight...it's something like 8 and 21 March 1858. While the references are apparently anomalous, when you pin dates to them, you can see that this occurs in the sort of period in which a regiment might indeed transition from winter dress to summer dress. The inference would be that the China exped regiments left UK with both red home service tunics and China boat coats in their kit.

Pause...transmit
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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 28 Sep 2014 23:01

Colonel Campbell, HM 52nd, white shelljackets. The clear inference is that Campbell thinks white shells are stupid and wants shot of them, not only now, but in the longer term too. Whilst I agree there is a practicality issue, I do consider the tactical factor to be at the heart of the issue. I have observed before that the 9th Lancers and the BHA troop brigaded with the cavalry under Hope Grant remained pristine white. I know of only one instance of the infantry fighting in white (shells not specifically stated but white definitely is) and it ended in disaster (literally) in a night ambush. This was Captain Dunbar's failed attempt to relieve Arrah. Troops at issue were detachments of HM 10th (permanent garrison of India) and HM 37th (newly shipped in from Ceylon where they would also have white clothing as part of a permanent tropical garrison).

Difference between Fronts. Where my thoughts have drifted to is the fundamental division between the two major fronts. Delhi and Cawnpore/Lucknow. The Delhi Field Force is made up of units of the permanent garrison of India, with lines of communication to Meerut, the hill stations and the Punjab. The upcountry units all have Indian summer kit on issue. The other front is fought by incomers with a line of communications along the Ganges from Calcutta. In the first case, shell jackets are everywhere, but everybody dyes them. Amongst the incomers/reinforcements nobody seems to have anything sensible to start with, apart from the Madras Fusiliers who came round from Madras in smocks and the 37th in white shells from Ceylon. It is certain sure from what I have deduced from fleeting references that the advanced elements of the 84th and 64th made their way upcountry very early on in red. I don't believe anybody had red tunics yet, (except the boys coming from England), so these must to my mind be red shells.

Allahabad Moveable Column. Equally it's important to state that I don't think anybody in Havelock's command did any fighting in red and that the 64th and 84th would have stripped down to shirtsleeves for the serious work. That's why Captain Maude refers to the Allahabad moveable column being clad in white or the 'nearest approach to it procurable' (is I think the phrase he uses). White linen blouse/shirts with probably white trousers, then, some of which might conceivably have been blue. Blue trousers can be home service navy blue, or English summer blue, or Indian dungri. The 84th had come back from Burma and the 64th from Persia. I have the 64th confirmed in red in Persia and the 78th in kilts and red doublets. However the 78th switched to trousers from kilts in India. The spy/pensioner Angud reported to Inglis in Lucknow that he had seen a regiment with diamond shaped buttons. It baffled Inglis...which is proof they weren't wearing kilts or Angud would have said do, and proof that they had their red doublets and nothing better. I fancy they only wore their doublets when it was raining or after the sun went down. There are no references to either red or kilts in action as far as Havelock's command goes.

Continues.....
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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 28 Sep 2014 23:10

Adoption of Smocks. ....However, I am of the view that smocks soon became the thing for Havelock's command. I believe but can't yet prove beyond reasonable doubt that after his first withdrawal to Cawnpore that the regiments busied themselves with getting smocks made locally, (they had to wait for a month before HM 5th and HM 90th LI came up with Outram), or possibly that the logisticians in Calcutta now had smocks moving up from the rear (vide they certainly had large numbers of Enfield rifles coming up, as I've discussed before, so why not clothing too?). It's also possible that the pause was long enough for the forward regiments' baggage/administrative echelons to catch up with them (with their trooping smocks perhaps).

I'll come back to the 90th and boat coats etc...
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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 28 Sep 2014 23:38

HM 52nd. I just want to revert to the 52nd. There is a strong case to be made that they came up in dyed shells. So where do all these smock/flannel shirt illustrations come from? Are they just made up? The 52nd were only on Delhi Ridge for a month.
What about Archdale's Wilson's 'war' on fighting in shirts? How, if the new broom has long since swept clean, could the 52nd, arriving so late, be in anything other than shells?

Flannel Shirts. I think that flannel shirts and shells are indeed incompatible. The reason I say so is that if the flannel shirt is the long tailed item I believe it to be, (derived from the kurta), then I would be tolerably sure that it had open necked pointed collars, rendering it unsuitable as anything except a top garment. It is also, if my understanding is correct, very close to the trooping smock.

1st Bengal Fusiliers & Atkinson/Hodson. On the subject of 1st Bengal Fusiliers, yes, you are right. While it is for certain sure that the regiment marched down from the hills with only very light kit, (all white), obviously their baggage was following on and would have included their shells, even if they didn't deign to wear them until made to do so. I believe the Atkinson based painting of the descent of the Fusiliers from the hills is accurate, whilst ditto of the attack of HM 75th at Badli ke Serai is either inaccurate (the 75th had dyed their shells khaki as identified by Barter), or has somehow had the wrong regiment associated with it across the years. Why do I say that - well.... a. due to the complete domination of Atkinson's work by 1st Bengal Fusiliers. b. While HM 75th famously assaulted the batteries, it is a little known fact that 1st Bengal Fusiliers attacked in conformity. c. In Hodson's letters he describes in vivid detail some of the vignettes drawn by Atkinson...and what was Hodson in...really(?)....yep...1st Bengal Fusiliers. d. The regiment in the Badli-ke-Serai print are wearing a funny shaped forage cap...which is not a covered Kilmanock, such as you might expect the 75th to be in....but exactly the same hat as is sported in the infantry picket scene, in which fusilier bombs are visible on the men's belt plates, and which I believe accordingly to be another portrayal of 1st BF. I have developed a suspicion that Atkinson's work was strongly influenced by Hodson, which is why the two most prominently featured units in his work are 1st BF and Hodson's Horse, with a smattering of Guides cavalry thrown in at the Rhotuck cavalry charge print.

HM 90th LI. The 3 shipwrecked coys were very badly off for clothing after the Transit foundered, to the extent that they ended up clad in RN castoffs to begin with. So there would have been a rush to reclothe them and no question of their wearing boat coats. The issue of light clothing to the other 7 coys as they passed through Chinsurah remains perplexing; I can as yet find nothing to say they wore their boat coats, while the Sankey sketch shows a member of the regiment in a smock. What we can't tell is whether that man is from the 7 coys or the three. Is it set inside Lucknow (?), in which case the inference would be that the main body of the 90th didn't wear boats coats but smocks, either issued at Chinsurah, or possibly acquired at Cawnpore. Or alternatively might it be at the Alambagh, after the second relief of Lucknow, by which time the regiment was back together and the guys from the main body companies would have been given a new issue of clothing anyway, leaving us clueless as to what they had been wearing prior to that.

I'll pause now....and go back and see if I've missed any of your observations which require a response. Please anybody jump in while I'm doing so. It might be 24 hrs before I pick it up again. Quite a lot of what I've said is based on instinct, deduction, hunch and balance of probability. Some of it is supported by hard evidence, but it is hard to come by, so if anybody is sat on any, do please chip in.

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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby rd72 » 29 Sep 2014 04:08

Hello all,

I just want to interject here, at the risk of being a distraction like a fly buzzing around one's head, and say that I am absolutely grateful of the deep, thoughtful and detailed information being unsurfaced/deducted... Shall I say that I have a strong curiosity about the Mutiny and I have more than a passing interest in the comings and goings of the 78th (which is figuring from time to time in the discussion). These series of posts it is of great interest to me.

Thank you very much, gentlemen. I am truly grateful and wish I could contribute at this level, but sadly, I cannot at this time...
Cheers,
Rob
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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 29 Sep 2014 14:39

Hi Rob

I'm glad some of this stuff is of interest and thank you for saying so. I would, on my own account at least, like to say that this is live research and does not yet amount to a set of conclusions, though of course base facts supported by compelling evidence, some of which are described here, are what they are and constitute the fixed markers in the jigsaw as a whole. I daresay I'll publish where I get to with it eventually, in some more formal way, but that may be part of a larger work and yet be some years from fruition.

As ever

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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 01 Oct 2014 22:54

Mike, some more thinking out loud.

mike snook wrote: Cane Helmets. ...when the War Office was talking in its memorandum about helmet covers and forage cap covers the staff are talking about something issued in England. You can't make and issue covers for items you've never seen. So to my mind it is 1855 shako covers and Kilmarnock covers which are at issue.


Point taken about the helmet covers, although there was a model available at home in form of the air-pipe sun helmets made by Elwood.
http://www.militaryorphanpress.com/the-ellwood-era/

Nonetheless, why would they refer to a shako/ full dress cap as a 'helmet.' Seems a bit rum to me.

I am struck more, however, by whether the reference is actually to helmet 'covers' - detachable as required for forage caps or shakos- rather than 'covering'- which was less likely have been made as an independent component of the headgear.

mike snook wrote: I don't know any set of cavalry overalls which were either striped or chequered. The only thing I can think of is the possibility of it referring in some way to reinforced crotch and inside legs.


Perhaps the term settringee had migrated from the textile patterning (cheque/stripe) to the fabric itself, i.e. a particular weight and weave of cotton. It would have to be twilled for mounted men.

mike snook wrote:There are no references to either red or kilts in action as far as Havelock's command goes.


Might this fit the bill? Andrew Moffat Lang: Oct 1857- "The 93rd are the boys; such glorious thoro' Highlanders and Scots… with legs like young elephants. They wear their kilt and sporran all complete, a loose smock tunic, khaki with red cuffs and collar, and their feather bonnets with a white puggree round the lower part of them."

mike snook wrote: Flannel Shirts. I think that flannel shirts and shells are indeed incompatible. The reason I say so is that if the flannel shirt is the long tailed item I believe it to be, (derived from the kurta), then I would be tolerably sure that it had open necked pointed collars, rendering it unsuitable as anything except a top garment. It is also, if my understanding is correct, very close to the trooping smock.


Presumably that would depend on regiment/date/location. The 3 coys of the 90th shipwrecked on Transit appear to have been equipped with both flannel shirts and smocks, which suggests to me that the smock was to worn over the shirt. Is there any evidence that the smock was worn against the skin? The Victorians did after all believe that even in hot climates wool should be worn next the skin for what would today be called its wicking qualities, thereby preventing cooling moisture from being held against the body. The mechanics of heat stroke had yet to be understood (See also Cholera Belts and Spinal Pads). As most of us have experienced, the wicking qualities of cotton are notoriously poor.

mike snook wrote: I believe the Atkinson based painting of the descent of the Fusiliers from the hills is accurate, whilst ditto of the attack of HM 75th at Badli ke Serai is either inaccurate (the 75th had dyed their shells khaki as identified by Barter), or has somehow had the wrong regiment associated with it across the years. Why do I say that - well.... a. due to the complete domination of Atkinson's work by 1st Bengal Fusiliers. b. While HM 75th famously assaulted the batteries, it is a little known fact that 1st Bengal Fusiliers attacked in conformity. c. In Hodson's letters he describes in vivid detail some of the vignettes drawn by Atkinson...and what was Hodson in...really(?)....yep...1st Bengal Fusiliers. d. The regiment in the Badli-ke-Serai print are wearing a funny shaped forage cap...which is not a covered Kilmanock, such as you might expect the 75th to be in.... covered with peak? but exactly the same hat as is sported in the infantry picket scene, in which fusilier bombs are visible on the men's belt plates, and which I believe accordingly to be another portrayal of 1st BF.


The Hodson/ 1st B.F. connection and the consequent re-identification of the Badli ke Serai is interesting. As for the "funny-shaped" forage caps, are those not standard round 'Kilmarnock' knitted bonnets fitted with a peak and a sun cover over the whole?

Finally here is another reference to the 52nd adaptation of their white drill on the road to Delhi. The reference to Lahore is interesting.

https://archive.org/stream/unrecordedch ... 6/mode/2up

An unrecorded chapter of the Indian Mutiny [52nd]

From a Diary and letters written on the spot Reginald G Wilberforce 1894

pp. 55-56

"These Sealkote mutineers had seen us march out of the station in khaki but while we were at Lahore our Colonel ordered all the clothes to be dyed with a colour which afterwards became so well known as Kharkee; it was a capital colour, and almost invisible. During a long march it would have been impossible to keep the white clothes clean; it looked neat and certainly deluded the mutineers.. They calculated that no white troops could have got to where we were; besides they knew that the so-called Sikh police were dressed in Kharkee and, as far as they knew, the English troops were clad in white."
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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 02 Oct 2014 00:36

Evening Jf

A couple of easily dispensed with crossed wires to begin with.

Kilts. The 93rd Hldrs and kilts has never been an issue: I am talking specifically about the 78th Hldrs. There's of course no reason why you should know this, but the 93rd were never under Havelock's command. I should have made it clearer, but too much ground to cover at too much speed! I knew what I was talking about! :lol:

Flannel Shirts. We were, I thought, talking about flannel shirts and shells, not flannel shirts and smocks. The shell and tunic have high round collars and obviously need to be worn with collarless shirts....hence my remark on incompatibility of flannel shirts relates specifically to shells and tunics. The smock on the other hand is open necked, so, yes, one could wear a collared flannel shirt under one of those and, I agree with you, I fancy most people would have had some kind of shirt on beneath a smock. Of course where all this talk of flannel shirts, (as so frequently sourced), falls down, is that there might well be flannel shirts with collars and flannel shirts without collars! :roll: One step forward, two back!

Solah Hats. The only instances I know of wherein helmets appear are in late 1858 and 59 and do not coincide with China units. If any unit in the China exped had a great new hot weather hat from England, I feel sure it would be mentioned in the countless participant sources I have perused, which it isn't. Additionally, a WO memorandum designed to deflect public criticism on the equipping of the troops would hardly fail to make a good deal of the brilliant new helmets, never before issued, with which the troops had now been provided.

Atkinson Hats. No, they're not Kilmarnocks of the conventional type, not in my view at least, because they have a sloping front. They are more clearly illustrated in the picket scene than the Badli-ke-Serai scene. Another reason I don't think they're Kilmarnocks is that that's not what 1st BF is shown as wearing on the march down from the hills. In that scene the regiments' forage caps are of a white pillbox kind. There are Atkinson prints with unidentified infantry, where a very small covered curtained forage cap is shown, which one might take to be a bad representation of a Kilmarnock, but which I think are quite so small because what's underneath is that very self same pillbox type item. I think the 9th Lancers are wearing the same item.

52nd Yep, spotted that one too. Just one more irritatingly vague allusion by an officer of the 52nd to something being dyed, without stating what it actually was! I think I have tallied four such remarks in that regiment.

Finally, I'm sorry, but I can't follow your point about covers and covering. The reference (cited exactly, see above) is to 'covers'. Please amplify.

As ever

Mike
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 02 Oct 2014 11:45

A quick one: 'helmets' and 'covers'. My aplogies for any opaquity

I am joining dots myself here, but what I was driving at was that I doubt wicker sun helmets (which seem to have been the most common model of sun helmet for troops at this date) were being made and then kept in some sort of limbo to await a fabric 'cover' from another source; the fabric 'covering' of a sun helmet being fairly integral to its manufacture and function.

So, yes, what those covers were for is a puzzle. I know you discount the passage cited as a reference to sun helmets but I still find it difficult to accept that the mention of 'helmets' that you cited might be a reference to full dress shakos when the powers could so easily have referred to them as, well, 'shakos' (or similar).

As for the funny-shaped forage caps, as previous discussions on VWF have established, both in form and nomenclature, the knitted forage cap/undress bonnet covered a multitude of sins but I think in all instances that, essentially, this is what we are looking at in the Atkinson illustrations, allowing for the distorting impression/effect of a sun-cover (sometimes enclosing an attached peak) and on occasion of an enveloping puggaree as well; not to mention a degree of stylisation in the presentation.

The white bonnets shown being worn by the Bengal Fusiliers in the Atkinson prints are indeed petite. It does occur to me ask what possible value such token headgear could be to men marching in the height of an Indian summer.

Perhaps the fashion for smaller forage caps seen increasingly in the 1860s started in India around this time. Were those caps in fact constructed of white material or was there a close-fitting cotton cover (for example) over wool? We have touched on that elsewhere in relation to Simkin's illustration of a 78th soldier with white undress bonnet and diced band, (supposedly from 1853).

93rd. Havelock. Etc. My mistake. I thought they did. I still find all that to-ing and fro-ing rather confusing.

History, eh? One damn thing after another.
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Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby Frogsmile » 05 Oct 2014 10:19

This is a great thread and the first I turn to when logging in. Thank you everyone, especially Mike, for such interesting posts. Undress and field uniforms are so poorly researched and details rarely published. It is an area that fascinates me and I look forwards to when the outcome of all the deductions from the various sources can be published. I shall certainly be a purchaser.
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