Seaforth Highlanders Boer War

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Seaforth Highlanders Boer War

Postby jdk » 23 Dec 2017 14:55

This is a detail from a photo of a Maxim Gun crew, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders in South Africa during the Boer War.
Can anyone tell me what the colour of the tunic would have been as worn by the officer/NCO (?) I have ringed? And also his forage cap?
Thanks.
JD
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Re: Seaforth Highlanders Boer War

Postby SWB » 23 Dec 2017 16:01

I would imagine the tunic is blue.

But, is this really meant to be in SA during the war?

They certainly didn't go on active service in full dress.
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Re: Seaforth Highlanders Boer War

Postby jf42 » 23 Dec 2017 17:23

Greetings JDK. The first thing to point out is that this photograph was taken when the 2nd Bn, Seaforth Hldrs were still in the United Kingdom. They appear to posing for the camera during a field day which, bizarrely to our modern eyes, saw troops wearing what was effectively parade dress for field manouevres.

These men of the Maxim section are wearing the Full Dress home service uniform of feather bonnet, scarlet doublet, kilt of Mackenzie tartan, horsehair sporran and white spats. The officer, by contrast, in what was called 'undress'- wears a more comfortable and practical blue patrol frock with tartan trews. (A similar scarlet frock was specified for Home Service manoeuvres but these usually had cuffs and collar of facing colour).

His headgear is the Glengarry bonnet, made of dark blue 'milled' or felted wool with a knitted band of 'dicing,' composed of white, red and green squares in chequer pattern. The regimental badge is mounted on a rosette of black silk and on the pleated crown, invisible from this angle, is a small red 'tourie,' a vestige of the red woolen ball that topped the traditional flat bonnet worn by the early Highland soldier. Also invisible are the two black silk ribbons hanging down from the back of the bonnet, again a vestige of the ribbons used to tighten the band of the original Highland headgear

By the time the 2nd Seaforths got to South Africa, the men would be wearing sun helmets, cotton drill frocks and spats, all of a more practical khaki colour. Sadly it didn't do them much good since in their first major action at Magersfontein, as part of the Highland Brigade, they were caught in the open in close formation and suffered heavy casualties.

2nd SFTHS 1899.jpg
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Re: Seaforth Highlanders Boer War

Postby jdk » 23 Dec 2017 17:52

Hello jf42

Thanks for the wealth of info you provided - it's much appreciated.

I realised they were in Full Dress uniform, but did indeed think they were posing for the shot while actually in South Africa - stupid
of me!

Thanks also for the pic of the Highland troops in khaki.

I'm colourising the photo of the Maxim crew - it's a cracker of a pic!
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Re: Seaforth Highlanders Boer War

Postby jf42 » 23 Dec 2017 20:24

It is indeed.

I have this niggling suspicion that the officer's frock might actually be scarlet. Tonally, it does seem to me to be more akin to red than blue. There are members of the forum who are much more knowledgable on this topic. If one of them can confirm whether or not Highland officers at this date ever wore plain scarlet frocks without facing colours, etc. I can relax.
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Re: Seaforth Highlanders Boer War

Postby rd72 » 23 Dec 2017 20:48

jf et all,

If this could be taken as an example of the scarlet frock,

Image

I'd say the officer is in a blue one.
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Rob
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Re: Seaforth Highlanders Boer War

Postby jf42 » 23 Dec 2017 21:04

Yes, Rob, that was the very man I had in mind, contradicting my perception. Thank you. Confusion over.

Blue job, it is. Damn monochrome!
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Re: Seaforth Highlanders Boer War

Postby jdk » 28 Dec 2017 10:18

And blue it shall be!
Thanks guys.
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