CHINA BOAT COATS

For all discussions relating to the Indian Mutiny of 1857-59.

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 05 Oct 2014 15:41

mike snook wrote: 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.


Mike, I overlooked your last thought in the above.

For what it's worth, Lord Roberts writing some 25 years after the event clearly believed that the China Expedition's 'tops' were intended to supplement red tops.

From Sir Frederick Roberts [C-in-C Madras Army]. Ootacamund, April 17th 1882

"I see that you have appointed an committee to consider the best colour of uniform for service. I shall be interested in the result.. My own idea is that for a volunteer army such as ours an attractive uniform is necessary...at the same time, we require something like what is known as "khaki" in India for rough work and service.

This was recognised as long ago as 1857, when the troops ordered from England to China were supplied with a khaki-coloured blouse, which could be worn over, or without the red coat as might be found desirable.

Guided by this principle I have just settled the long discussed question as to the most suitable dress for the Madras Army. It will, I think be found useful. and it certainly is a great improvement on the present uniform.
"


(The life and correspondence of the Right Hon. Hugh C. E. Childers, 1827-1896 (1901) p.79 -80)

https://archive.org/details/lifecorresponden02chiliala
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran member
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: 10 Mar 2011 15:12

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby Peter » 14 Oct 2014 09:28

Mike,

I came across these in the JSAHR:

JSAHR-254.jpg
JSAHR-254.jpg (136.79 KiB) Viewed 1035 times

JSAHR, Vol LXIII, 1985, Summer, No 254, Questions and Replies, p 126


JSAHR-257.jpg
JSAHR-257.jpg (39.78 KiB) Viewed 1035 times

JSAHR, Vol LXIV, 1986, Spring, Questions and Replies, No 257, p 60


JSAHR-266.jpg
JSAHR-266.jpg (63.73 KiB) Viewed 1035 times

JSAHR, Vol LXVI, 1988, Summer, Replies, No 266, p 78


Only two Replies were received.

Regards,
Peter
Senior Member
 
Posts: 470
Joined: 29 Jan 2009 03:03
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 14 Oct 2014 12:31

Dear Peter

Thanks for taking the trouble to post that. Most helpful. It's all very interesting and I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one worried by the paucity of evidence - Barthorp too.

My observations would be:

I don't believe that the 5th Fusiliers were anything to do with the China expedition and accordingly have never regarded 5th Fusiliers and boat coats as an issue. It was an English made item. The Fusiliers were simply whistled in from Mauritius. They couldn't possibly have had them. So it's unfortunate that the JSAHR discussion (such as it was) was framed as if it was ever an issue.

The contribution by Mr Collins from his grandfather merely reflects the fact that HM 5th was not a China unit. That they had white cotton drill in Mauritius is in no sense surprising. That he has failed to attach a date to his grandfather's remark is problematic. I don't know that the reference to cold nights is consistent with the first relief of Lucknow, which took place in September. The second relief took place in November when the nights really were cold and some units were in winter order (home service). There were detachments moving up with the second relief from all the regiments that had been locked into the city following the first relief. That worries me and I'd like to know the context and setting behind the remarks cited by Mr Collins.

But the question becomes - 5th Fusiliers, white cotton drill what??! (More of that irritating vagueness - it seems to me that at least four words are needed to describe an item of dress accurately, but that no officer who fought in the Mutiny ever used more than three!!!). A white cotton drill shell jacket (?) (which would be the obvious conclusion) or a smock/flannel shirt? If it's a shell jacket then all the 5th Fusilier illustrations ever drawn have been wrong - (they all show flannel shirts or smocks...neither of which are cotton drill items). That's sort of my point - I don't know how trustworthy a lot of this artwork really is. I don't mind people reconstructing and best guessing as long as they make it plain that that's what they've done...and I just don't see those sort of caveats being used.

The Lady Canning quote is a reference to something and nothing. It doesn't really nail down anything, as everybody had to go past Chinsurah, 40 miles up the Ganges, which was a major depot and, much further on, Cawnpore, where the locals were churning all out sorts of gear in order to get themselves off the hook. The vicar James -something hypenhated-McKay also talks about visiting a facility short of Cawnpore where there was a mountain of clothing. I'm not going to bother looking it up in my little notebook...but I think it might be Allahabad off the top of my head. So there's plenty of opportunity for people moving up the L o C to get some new clobber.

I haven't seen the Sankey watercolour in colour, but in black and white I'm not as convinced as Barthorp appears to be that it's a boat coat. And I don't see how he can conclude (assuming it is a boat coat) that this must mean he's a man from the Transit companies. I believe the opposite interpretation would be the more probable.

The Wylly reference cannot be interpreted in such a way as to put the main body of the 5th Fusiliers in red. It is a reference to an odd company or draft operating as part of 'Barnston's battalion of detachments', which is to say it is moving up in November. It is not a reference to the battalion main body which had entered Lucknow on 25 Sep with only what is was wearing on its backs (which might or might not have been white cotton drill!).

In my view we still have the 90th LI sat squarely in an evidential vacuum (apart from the reference to the issue of light clothing in Chinsurah which I dug out of the regimental records book). 5th Fusiliers are now a bit vague and unsatisfactory too.

But the answer is always out there....somewhere. I'll keep collating the evidence.

As ever

M
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
User avatar
mike snook
Honorary Academic Advisor
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: 19 Jun 2008 09:35

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 15 Oct 2014 15:40

jf

Just to say that I remain suspicious of that Roberts remark. If a boat coat is a tunic, you wouldn't be able to wear it over another tunic without looking like a tramp. It is true that when it's cold, soldiers often end up looking like tramps and will put on anything they can get their hands on.

Ultimately, however, I don't believe for a moment that it was anybody's intention that boat coats be worn over red tunics....unless, that is, it can be shown that the boat coat was not a tunic but a smock...and that's not where the balance of the evidence lies presently. Of course the evidence generally is pretty lousy! The RWF seem to my mind to represent an evidential demonstration of what was intended. Leave UK with boat coats and home service tunics. Wear the former on boats (obviously!) and in hot Chinese weather, but don the latter in cold weather and whenever the operational situation calls for loosening the bowel movements of the opposition. That it seems to me perfectly reflects what we know of RWF dress, with red and boat coats (in that order) being seen, (not at the same time!). The RWF in India up to the recapture of Lucknow (Mar 58) straddles three clothing 'seasons' in my view: for which we have evidence for two - numbers 2 and 3. Number 1 is the early autumn (summer dress) of 1857. Lady Canning, as limited as that reference is, might suggest that on arrival they were in holland, giving us the 3 season sequence, holland, red cloth, holland. Doesn't help with the 90th, but it's something....

As ever

M
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
User avatar
mike snook
Honorary Academic Advisor
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: 19 Jun 2008 09:35

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 16 Oct 2014 09:44

mike snook wrote:jf

Just to say that I remain suspicious of that Roberts remark. If a boat coat is a tunic, you wouldn't be able to wear it over another tunic without looking like a tramp. It is true that when it's cold, soldiers often end up looking like tramps and will put on anything they can get their hands on.

Ultimately, however, I don't believe for a moment that it was anybody's intention that boat coats be worn over red tunics....unless, that is, it can be shown that the boat coat was not a tunic but a smock...and that's not where the balance of the evidence lies presently. Of course the evidence generally is pretty lousy!


Mike, more thinking aloud. I think Robert’s use of the word ‘tunic’* really only denoted a hip-length coat that opened down the front, rather than indicating weight of cloth or tightness of cut comparable to the Full Dress tunic. As many of our discussions here indicate we today, aspiring to clarity, are more punctilious in our use of terms than the gentleman of the period we are investigating {*EDIT- actually Roberts referred to ' the khaki-coloured blouse', didn't he, which is firmly in the mid-C19th terminology of undress/active service dress. The configuration of length and front fastening remains the same]

The General’s recollection that the brown China expedition coat was intended to be worn over the red coat on occasion, may indeed have been an assumption that had formed in his mind during the 25 years following the Mutiny.

Presumably, given the diversion of the expeditionary force to India, no one ever got to China with a brown Holland coat, either in 1857 or after, so the concept was never put to the test there. When troops did arrive in China subsequently, I suspect either red serge or khaki drill frocks, or indeed our friend the canvas ‘trooping’ smock, would probably have fulfilled the same function if required.*

(*It would be interesting to know more about the decision to provide the China expedition with the brown Holland coat in 1857, and what prompted the experiment. Might it have been in response to the growing tendency to use the smock on land, intending to provide something slightly more military-looking?)

However, it is worth remembering Gordon-Alexander’s references to “Brown China Expedition loose coats,” and “very ugly loose brown coats”, combined with the fact that he wore a red shell jacket under his coat for the Assault on the Sikunderabagh- admittedly the officer’s light alpaca version. In Oct 1857, Andrew Moffat Lang also referred to ‘the boys’ of the 93rd wearing ‘a loose smock tunic’, {NB!} so I think we can consider that the wearing of the brown Holland coat over layers of additional clothing was at least a possibility. Whether this would have made soldiers look like so many sacks of potatoes, I couldn’t say. It would have been a shame, given the effort to smarten it up with coloured facings and shoulder straps.

However, if Robert’s allusion to the dual function of the brown coats was supposition, we can at least grant that it was based on practical possibility and informed by occasional practice in India, which he could well have witnessed.

Turning to the 90th, to be fair to Michael Barthorp I believe he did indeed mean ‘the opposite’ with regard to the man in the Sankey watercolour. He agrees with you concluding that “he must have belonged to that part of the 90th which escaped the shipwreck” although, to be sure that conclusion is based on his assessment of the man’s top to be a “red-faced brown coat.” We really need to look out that painting to put the question to bed, though perhaps MB had that good fortune when he was writing in the 1980s and his analysis is founded on that certainty.

Regarding the white cotton drill in which Mr Collin's grandfather shivered at Lucknow, is it not most likely that these would have been in the form of shell jackets? It seems that in most cases any clothing made up to replace the standard white summer clothing, as opposed to existing clothing that was dyed, would have been made from one form of drab cloth or another and taken the form either of a buttoned frock (or ‘blouse’) or a pull-over smock. Whether the references to 'twill' fabric that crop up in reference to drab or khaki etc can be taken as equivalent to 'drill' would need closer examination.
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran member
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: 10 Mar 2011 15:12

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 21 Oct 2014 22:30

There's no time like the present so, since I live near the British Library, I enquired last Friday at the Asian and Africa Studies Reading Room regarding R.H.Sankey's watercolours. After a brief but intricate navigation of catalogues, the collection was located at IOR/E/4/852 .

The watercolour in question is listed as: WD 334
Sankey, Sir Richard Hieram (1829-1908); Types of 78th Highlanders and 90th Foot during the Mutiny, showing nonregulation uniform worn during a campaign

Inscribed on front in water-colour: ‘R.H.S. 1857’; in pencil: ‘78th Highlanders & 90th Foot in 1857.’
Water-colour; 17 by 11.5


(From BL Website)

So- now to the figures, which I was able to examine yesterday. As the above measurements show, this is a large piece. The painter uses a spare economical style, painting in watercolours on a grey cartridge paper. All the colours described, therefore, are solidly filled in, notably the white of the left hand figure described first

The 78th man is dressed in a remarkably crisp, bleached-white smock with voluminous sleeves, the cuffs of which have no band or other trimming. The shoulder strap on the right shoulder is fastened with a single button which seems either to be shiny black material or white metal. It is hard to tell from the highlighting. There are also three similar buttons showing at the fastened neck opening of the smock which I would say, judging from the spacing, if they continued up to the throat, come to five in total but the soldier's beard conceals this detail.

There are no accoutrements depicted, although the smock is cinched in at the waist as if by a belt.

The 'helmet' cover is of an equally white material fastened at a vertical fly-front opening at the front with three buttons visible above the puggaree, which is of a similar shade of white. Again it is hard to ascertain the material from which the buttons are made. There is no clear sense of a helmet or any other structure under the cover, although the shape at the top does suggest the ventilator of an 'air-pipe' or Ellwood-model sun helmet.

The trousers are of a slate blue-grey; the shoes of brown leather.

The 90th man wears a roomy, smock-like top of drab brown. Again the sleeves are voluminous. It has facings of orangy-red on shoulder straps, collar and the narrow cuff-bands. The one visible button on the right shoulder-strap appears to be white metal. There is no obvious fastening down the front but there is the suggestion of an opening running down from the throat to about mid-chest although, as indicated, with no buttons in evidence. The skirts are full, pleated by gathering at the waist by a sketchily depicted belt (see below).

The trousers are in shadow and really only suggested with shading in paint of the same tone as the smock but I don't think this can be taken to represent the actual colour of the trousers worn by this man.

The soldier's forage cap has a cover of light blue cloth with a peak in a darker shade of blue which might be taken to represent black leather. The neck curtain has either been cut down or pinned up so that it only shades the back of the head down to the nape of the neck.

Some sort of broad white belt is shown worn over the soldier's right shoulder (passing under the shoulder strap. It does not appear to represent the belt of a cartouche case, being on the wrong side and, as depicted, of too irregular cut and too soft a material, resembling a sash as much as a belt. This might possibly be simply a question of painting style. A broad, white waist belt is similarly depicted.

That's about it. Over to you gentlemen. I hope this is of interest, It seems, that closely examined, the figures throw up as many questions as they answer from our foregoing discussion. There are certainly a couple of things I wasn't expecting. If any thing isn't clear, perhaps I can dig out my paintbox and post a coloured-in photocopy from Barthorp, if copyright allows.

I ordered up a couple of other Sankey watercolours while I was at it, one of which I have made notes of, although I see it is accessible on line in a low-resolution format. This is catalogued as:

Courtyard of the Slaughter House, Cawnpore (U.P.), during the Mutiny. A soldier is writing on the wall 'Countrymen Revenge'

I can post my notes for the three figures in that painting too if they are of interest. They are much more generic.

Here is the link to all of Sankey's paintings kept at the BL

http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/indiaoffice ... &Value=676
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran member
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: 10 Mar 2011 15:12

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 21 Oct 2014 23:36

Splendid sir splendid.

It's my hunch that what's inside the button up white cover on the head of the 78th man is the same sort of sun shade (ordinarily seen in its exposed or quilted form) which we are accustomed to seeing peeking from under the feather bonnets of the 93rd Hldrs. Something has to be supporting such a 'sun shade' - and if it is, in effect, its own hat, (locally manufactured at Cawnpore or Allahabad in wicker, cane or some such material),then I can imagine popping it on, under the feather bonnet, to considerable advantage in terms of protection from the sun, and with no added inconvenience or discomfort beyond sweaty hair (default in an Indian summer anyway, no matter what you've got on yer 'ed). The reason I throw Allahabad into the melting pot as a possible source of supply, is that by the time this vignette is set, the other companies of the 78th have come up from the rear to join up with the colonel and 4 advanced companies (Grens, Lights No 3 and No 6) in good time for the 25 Sep 1st Relief of Lucknow. In the scenario postulated I would also suggest that these hats were likely scattered throughout the force, not merely restricted to the 78th. The latter though, had only crap hummel bonnets, without peaks, and swathed in pugarees (out of desperation) and so, with their faces burned red raw, I would suggest that they would have been particularly keen to latch onto any local alternative, such as a cane or wicker helmet. In other words there may have been a higher incidence of such cane/wicker hats in the 78th than in other regiments. In the round though, Majendie's testimony, (slightly later in time though it is), leaves me favouring Cawnpore as the source of supply.

I tend to think the most significant intelligence is that the 90th man definitely has red facings - clearly a boat coat then - but with a rather vague suggestion of it not being cut in the classic tunic style. The blue cap cover is also interesting because in Barthorp's Osprey the 90th SNCO is shown in just such, (it's unusual- he is not, after all, a Madras Fusilier), suggesting to me that Michael B must have viewed or known of this watercolour when he instructed his illustrator. Even so the Osprey SNCO has the most immaculately tailored tunic in holland and red, a look which is not reflected by the Sankey.

Fighting on another front, which I know will also interest you, jf, I have today found a first credible reference to shoulder patches on the trooping smocks of the 74th Hldrs. Now it is a secondary source, but it is late Victorian, and moreover, [here's the good bit], the author specifically acknowledges in a footnote the help he received from a 74th officer who had served in the Cape, in preparing the South African part of his text. So if, as I presently judge it to be, this is pretty credible, then it opens the road to there being other such references, rather than a mystifying absence of them. Of course it's also possible that this is the very same item that inspired Barthorp to instruct that second illustrator, (I think they're different illustrators off the top of my head, but that's besides the point). It's a big text (which I've only scanned electronically) and I want to have a good scoot at it before going further and citing it, but I did manage to find it in the second hand market and it is even now winging its way towards me. Here as a taster, though, is the operative phrase....'the cuffs and shoulders were strapped with leather'. Curious word, 'strapped'. The colour is described as a 'deep olive brown' colour. The dye is '....copperas and the bark of the mimosa bush...'. And yes, the item is one of the, '....stout canvas frocks of which a couple are served out to each soldier proceeding on a long long sea voyage.' The word 'frock' (as opposed to smock) might have caught your eye, as it did mine. Having been sniffing about separately in the professional journals of the day I am edging towards the conclusion that in the 1850s 'frock' didn't mean what it did by, say, the 1870s. I think in the earlier period it is used quite loosely, in the sense of frock coat....as presently modelled by the go ahead continental armies....as opposed to the barking mad fixation of the out of touch idiots on the Army Board with the white-laced scarlet coattee and tails. In other words, it is used to mean a certain length of coat, (call it 'thigh length'), coupled with style or cut which incorporates a front panel designed to protect a gentleman's important parts from the vicissitudes of the elements. (I wonder if anybody actually did freeze them off in the Crimea?!) In the early 1850s it is neither here nor there how a 'frock' fastens up - if it's a smock or a single or double breasted tunic cut. Later 'frock' will be synonymous with [unadorned] 'tunic'...but my theory is that in the 1850s it ain't yet...which part explains some of what looks to us like 'loose' terminology.

Hey ho. We're getting there. ....aren't we!? I'd still like to see something in black and white which says, 'on that fateful day, 25 Sep 1857, I looked ahead of me and could see the good old 90th LI blazing through the streets of the city in their China boat coats'...you know something nice and unequivocal...for heaven's sake that's not too much to ask for is it!! :D

But now we've got a contemporaneous picture. And that carries a lot of weight.....even if, as you rightly suggest, jf, it poses as many questions as it answers!

Hey ho.

M
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
User avatar
mike snook
Honorary Academic Advisor
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: 19 Jun 2008 09:35

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 24 Oct 2014 01:35

So, yes. A drab brown coloured ‘top’ with red facings for the 90th but not perhaps cut as a coat after all. Interesting that in Sankey's watercolour there is no suggestion of the sand-coloured khaki shown in late C19th illustrations, or as hinted at by the 93rd veteran William Martin who, forty years on, referred to twilled cotton coats, of "a dark straw colour." The blue cap cover surprised me. I had forgotten the illustration of the 90th in Barthorp's Indian Mutiny book. Interesting that he opted for a neat, coat-style for the brown China expedition coat in Douglas Anderson's illustration, since I am pretty sure he must have seen the Sankey painting, which, the ambiguity re: the front opening aside, is definitely a voluminous, loose-fitting garment.

The 78th man’s head-piece is perplexing. The most logical interpretation is that there has to be a wicker frame under that white cover. This presumably is an attempt to depict the ''turbaned helmet of slight canework, made in the Cawnpore bazar," referred to by Gen. William Tweedie or as Barthorp describes it, "what looks like the cane-framed hat wrapped in some form of cloth… vaguely reminiscent of a sun helmet," (from the text accompanying the reproduction of the Sankey in his 'British Armies on Campaign (3) ).

The bleached white colour of his pullover top, would seem to contradict my assumption that all Mutiny- pattern clothing made in country must have tended to be serviceable 'khaki'. Well, 'tended,' I guess, is arguable.

Congratulations on finding the reference to the 74th stout canvas frocks with cuffs and shoulders 'strapped with leather' - although that wasn't my baby. 'Strapped' is a fairly common term used in reference to cavalry overalls reinforced with leather in the lower and inner leg. I guess it comes from the leather component.

The use of the word 'frock' in a military context does in fact have quite a long lineage. Originally referring in general to a loose upper garment (hence priests being 'unfrocked'), from about the middle of the 18th century, 'frock' was the term used for a loose-fitting coat, usually double-breasted, which gentlemen wore for field sports ( I believe the huntsman's pink coat today should strictly speaking be called a frock, but maybe I am making that up).

Mr & Mrs Andrews' Frocks.jpg
Mr & Mrs Andrews' Frocks.jpg (95.69 KiB) Viewed 987 times


Thus it came to be used as well to refer to d/b undress coats that army officers wore in place of regimentals for morning parade and in the field- a practice more common than one might think- that arose from practical considerations adopted in America.

St George crop.jpg
St George crop.jpg (95.69 KiB) Viewed 987 times


By 1802 Guards officers had a semi-formal 'Frock Uniform Coat' without button-hole lace. The Duke of Wellington famously wore a plain, single-breasted civilian frock on campaign. The term then came to be used to describe the long, blue undress coat, copied from allied armies in Paris, adopted by officers after 1815, and which became the waisted frock coat that civilians adopted in emulation as the tail-coat fell out of fashion. Later in the C19th, 'frock'- as opposed to 'frock coat'- was revived first to describe the looser, red coat of serge for use in India and then as the kersey undress coat worn on manoeuvres and active service in its various forms, red, blue and khaki till the adoption of Service Dress.

The Americans, of course, used a plain linen 'hunting frock' as a substitute for uniform when military clothing was in short supply in the War of Independence, and in later campaigns, too.

Hunting shirts.jpg
Hunting shirts.jpg (110.77 KiB) Viewed 987 times


Simultaneously, 'frock' from early on was also being used to describe the linen over-garment worn by artisans and agricultural workers, sometimes described as a 'smock frock' although they could be button-through or pullover and, in this context, we can also include the shipboard frock adapted for field service by the 74th and other units.

I found these references in the 1822 Regulations which must be among the earliest official mentions of the shipboard frocks. I am not sure at what date troops were no longer expected simply to turn their coat inside out when they went to sea. I would imagine sometime after the tighter, closed coatee replaced the double-breasted coat with turned-back lapels, circa 1797-1800.


GENERAL REGULATIONS (1822)

It is advisable the every Soldier on embarking, except for short Passages, should be provided with a coarse canvas frock, or other fatigue dress, to wear while on board.

(p.315)

PASSAGE IN INDIA SHIPS

It is advisable that Soldiers on embarking, should be provided with Canvas Frocks and Trowsers, to wear on board.

(p.337)


Mike, I thought this Harry Payne plate from the 1890s might especially entertain you.

90th Perthshire  Light Infantry copy.jpg
90th Perthshire Light Infantry copy.jpg (145.44 KiB) Viewed 987 times
Last edited by jf42 on 07 May 2015 20:05, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran member
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: 10 Mar 2011 15:12

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 24 Oct 2014 11:17

Dear old Harry.

Thanks, jf, another fascinating contribution which nicely clears up that 'strapped' word for me and absolutely establishes the fact that 'frock' in the early Victorian period is a word without that precise a meaning.

Useful. Grazzia.

As ever

M
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
User avatar
mike snook
Honorary Academic Advisor
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: 19 Jun 2008 09:35

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby Josh&Historyland » 07 May 2015 15:23

Don't know if this is of any relevance to a thread just under a year old but I was perusing a Barthorp title and came across a reference to Sir Harry Smith proposing to clothe the 73rd in light grey jackets in February 1851 in South Africa. A General Order of 12 May then instructed that the "slop clothing issued to the RS&M the 6th and the 73rd" was to be stored and in future red jackets to be worn in the field.

Josh.
Adventure's In Historyland, Keeping History Real. http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Josh&Historyland
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 727
Joined: 02 Mar 2013 14:11

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby mike snook » 07 May 2015 16:09

It was as far as I know Josh never worn. I imagine it turned out to be rubbish and was dropped without ever being adopted.

As ever

Mike
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
User avatar
mike snook
Honorary Academic Advisor
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: 19 Jun 2008 09:35

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 07 May 2015 20:03

'Slop clothing' in the later C18th was the term for the linen jacket and trousers supplied to recruits prior to their issue with regimental coat and breeches, etc. Without scrolling back through this and other threads to check if this has come up, was the 'slop clothing' referred to in 1851 perhaps an alternative term used to refer to canvas clothing issued to troops on board ship in which in the C19th was a heavy woven cloth generally of linen fabric. The slop clothing of the 18th century was probably of canvas as well- rather than resembling easily wrinkled suits worn by fine arts professors in hot weather.
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran member
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: 10 Mar 2011 15:12

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby BobsYourUncle » 18 Dec 2016 04:25

[quote="Peter"]Mike,

I came across these in the JSAHR:

JSAHR-254.jpg

JSAHR, Vol LXIII, 1985, Summer, No 254, Questions and Replies, p 126

I would focus all on Barthorp's reference to a contemporary PHOTOGRAPH of a Boat Coat. Does anyone have access to this photograph online, or is it permissible to ask whether any of the local members here could obtain a scan or snap of this photo: "There is, incidentally, a photograph dated 1859 in the National Army Museum of an infantryman in China wearing what appears to be one of these boat coats (NAM Negative No 25152)."

Obtaining access to this photograph could answer many questions raised herein, for example, whether these coats were cut loose and smock-like, or whether these coats were cut more like the later denominated Undress Service Frock for overseas service. Possibly other details concerning their nature and construction could be revealed. Barthorp does not say to WHICH UNIT this infantryman belongs; the photograph may show which unit, then it will have been a find, indeed...
BobsYourUncle
New Member
 
Posts: 17
Joined: 14 Apr 2011 14:00

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby BobsYourUncle » 18 Dec 2016 05:22

In the Osprey book on the Indian Mutiny, the text at Page 39 accompanying Plate H2, which plate depicts the 93rd Officer and OR, provides a further research clue for follow up. The text is as follows: "The uniform, described and sketched by Collier and Crealock, was intended for use in China; the regiment was diverted to India in the emergency."

It would advance the cause to obtain access to the description and sketch made by Mssrs Colier and Crealock.

The National Army Museum online catalog contains numerous entries for sketches by Crealock of various topics, in connection with the Indian Mutiny, and 2nd China Wars. One interesting entry is this:

Album of sketches, portraits and maps, mainly of the 2nd China War (1857-1860), 1857-1859, and the Indian Mutiny (1857-1859), 1858-1859, by Bt Maj Henry Hope Crealock, 90th Regiment (Perthshire Volunteers) 1857-1859. Drawings and Watercolours 1971-01-9

This item, and his other sketches, may be able to answer some of the questions discussed hereinabove.
BobsYourUncle
New Member
 
Posts: 17
Joined: 14 Apr 2011 14:00

Re: CHINA BOAT COATS

Postby jf42 » 18 Dec 2016 11:07

Peter, thanks. You may not have registered this, but your scan of the Barthorp page/pages has not uploaded.

However, in relation to yours and Bob's identification of those items at NAM, we may have to wait till next year when the musuem reopens its doors. It is possible to access some textual items via temporary outstations in London and Hertfordshire but I suspect these two, especially the Crealock album may not be available for examination outside the museum premises.

I have already viewed some items at the London History Centre, so I can see what the possibilities are. Given the date, I don't imagine an enquiry will bear much fruit before the New Year but I shall have a go.
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran member
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: 10 Mar 2011 15:12

PreviousNext

Return to Indian Mutiny 1857-59

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest