A Gentleman in Kharki

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A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby QSAMIKE » 13 May 2010 14:42

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen.......

Continuing on with my pictures of Non-Military but interesting items that were made and given for the Boer War, I would like to offer for your viewing pleasure the following:

The famous figure of A Gentleman in Kharki from the poem by Kipling.

Wall Plaque: STERLING SILVER on WOOD

Size: OVERALL SIZE - 15" by 11 ½" Inches, PLAQUE SIZE - 11 1/4" by 7 1/4" Inches

MATERIAL: Silver on Oak with Brass Name Plaque

NAMING: At bottom of plaque are the words: A Gentleman in Kharki

Small Brass plaque at bottom which reads: "PRESENTED BY THE BOROUGH OF REIGATE IN RECOGNITION OF LOYAL SERVICES IN SOUTH AFRICA."

Manufactured by: George Collins, Manufacturing Silversmith, 118 Newgate Street, London.

I understand that the NAM has the plaque in its collection but only in tin, this is the only one I have seen in silver....

Pictures had to be taken from an angle due to reflection.....

I hope that you enjoy......

Mike

P.S. Does anyone know if anyone is going to re-print an updated version of Hibbard?????
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Mike C.
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby TRENCHWENCH16 » 15 Dec 2011 11:38

hi, im new to the site but with my first look at the forum i came across your post concerning "a gentleman in kharki" i to have a plaque similar to your own ,a family hand down through the generations . My version is similar in size as well as design but the material used differs,mine is not silver but instead is either copper or bronze i dont know for sure,i will post a few photos for you to look at , im curious to the history of the plaque.
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby QSAMIKE » 15 Dec 2011 15:50

Good Morning Trenchwench.....

On 16 October 1899 Rudyard Kipling penned these verses, which burst upon the British nation through the medium of the press, whipping up a remarkable degree of patriotic fervour. His gentleman in khaki (spelled 'kharki' in the original poem) became a symbol of the ordinary man caught up in the Anglo-Boer War.

THE ABSENT-MINDED BEGGAR
by Rudyard Kipling

When you've shouted " Rule Britannia," when you've sung " God save the Queen,"
When you've finished killing Kruger with your mouth,
Will you kindly drop a shilling in my little tambourine
For a gentleman in khaki ordered South?
He's an absent-minded beggar, and his weaknesses are great -
But we and Paul must take him as we find him -
He is out on active service, wiping something off a slate
And he's left a lot of little things behind him!
Duke's son - cook's son - son of a hundred kings
(Fifty thousand horse and foot going to Table Bay!)
Each of 'em doing his country's work
(and who's to look after their things?)
Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay - pay - pay !
There are girls he married secret, asking no permission to,
For he knew he wouldn't get it if he did.
There is gas and coals and vittles, and the house-rent falling due,
And its more than rather likely there's a kid.
There are girls he's walked with casual. They'll be sorry now he's gone,
For an absent-minded beggar they will find him,
But it ain't the time for sermons with the winter coming on
We must help the girl that Tommy's left behind him!
Cook's son - Duke's son - son of a belted Earl
Son of a Lambeth publican - it's all the same to-day !
Each of 'em doing his country's work
(and who's to look after the girl?)
Pass the hat for your credit's sake, J1 and pay - pay - pay !

There are families by thousands, far too proud to beg or speak,
And they'll put their sticks and bedding up the spout,
And they'll live on half o' nothing, paid 'em punctual once a week,
'Cause the man that earns the wage is ordered out.
He's an absent-minded beggar, but he heard his country call,
And his reg'rnent didn't need to send to find him!
He chucked his job and joined it - so the job before us all
Is to help the home that Tommy's left behind him !
Duke's job - cook's job - gardener, baronet, groom.
Mews or palace or paper-shop, there's someone gone away!
Each of 'em doing his country's work
(and who's to look after the room?)
Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay - pay - pay !

Let us manage so as, later, we can look him in the face,
And tell him - what he'd very much prefer
That, while he saved the Empire, his employer saved his place,
And his mates (that's you and me) looked out for her.
He's an absent-minded beggar and he may forget it all,
But we do not want his kiddies to remind him
That we sent 'em to the workhouse while their daddy hammered Paul,
So we'll help the homes that Tommy left behind him !
Cook's home - Duke's home - home of a millionaire,
(Fifty thousand horse and foot going to Table Bay !)
Each of 'em doing his country's work
(and what have you got to spare?)
Pass the hat for your credit's sake, and pay - pay - pay !

His poem and symbol was used to represent the British soldier the same as The Tommy in World War One..... It was used on many items such as china, figures, prints etc......

Mike
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby TRENCHWENCH16 » 15 Dec 2011 21:53

hi mike thanks for your very speedy response.
i knew about the poem and also the famous painting but was in the dark about the maker. The dimensions that you quoted are identical for the plate and the frame. The photos I tried to post were too big, so I need to re-size them. Going by your photos it looks like the exact same mould was used, do you think that's possible? Even the oak frame is the same and all the dimensions you quoted are the same! Could it be possible that it came from the same silver smith in Birmingham? Once I can download the photos I will post them, would be interested to hear you thoughts!

Kind regards

Davy
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby TRENCHWENCH16 » 15 Dec 2011 22:10

Hi Mike. I've resized the pictures, grateful if you could have a look and let me know what you think. I've attached them to this.

Kind regards
Davy
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby QSAMIKE » 15 Dec 2011 22:47

Hello Davy.....

Yes it is possble that they came from the same manufacturer..... I know that other items were made from different metals..... The AMB Daily Mail medallion was made from Gold, Silver, Bronze, and White Metal, it just depended on the amount you were willing to pay..... Also the Peace / Memorial Medallion was also made from several different metals and sizes..... Yours looks like it is cast zinc and the front plated with bronze/copper..... Maybe the town Reigate had some silver ones made for the soldiers that came from there..... If you look at tribute medals they are also made from different metals.....

Your is very nice thought.....

Mike
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby Neville_Constantine » 02 Feb 2012 20:37

Hello Mike

I have an identical plaque to yours, complete with the Reigate tribute, which was given to 7367, Private Fred Heaysman, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.
Although on first inspection the plaque appears to be made of silver, closer examination shows that mine is actually silver plate (copper is showing through in a few places). The tribute label is also plated.
I wonder if Davy's version was once plated too, but has suffered from over cleaning.
I am interested to know how you found out that these pieces were made by George Collins? I see there are two pin holes where a label was once attached to the back of the frame. Was this the maker's label?

Neville
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby QSAMIKE » 02 Feb 2012 21:17

Good Afternoon Neville

There is a small makers plate (Looks like very early plastic) on the reverse with the name and address.......

It is attached to the arm that comes out to make it stand......

When I saw the one that Davy posted I scraped the back to see if it was plated but seems to be a silver metal thoughout could, be zinc?

Yet my lable plate is bronze.....

Mike
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby Neville_Constantine » 03 Feb 2012 20:55

Many thanks for that Mike.

I can see where the celluloid label used to be (mine was on the actual frame rather than on the support).

It would be good to find a contemporary account of the presentation of these plaques. I must get over to Reigate one day and have a trawl through the local newspaper archive.

Neville
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby Neville_Constantine » 26 Mar 2016 11:35

Twenty-eight plaques, each with an elegantly wrought representation of the "absent minded beggar", were presented at two ceremonies.

Recipients (22nd May 1901)

1st Volunteer Active Service Company, Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment:
Lieutenant E.A. Heriot
Colour-Sergeant C.R. Moir
Sergeant H.H. Young
Sergeant A. Young
Corporal J. Fassnidge
Lance-Corporal F. Heaysman
Private W. Barfoot
Private E.F. Dalton
Private W. Eade
Private A.J. Harding

City Imperial Volunteers:
Captain J.F. Waterlow
Sergeant G. Godwin
Sergeant E. Farrington
Lance-Sergeant C. Knight
Private E. Bettesworth
Private J. Jenkins
Private G.E. Sargent (absent - died from disease 30-06-1900)
Private T. Wakem
Private P.A. Willett

Presentation made by Mr T.H. Roberts (Chairman of the Reception Committee and Horley Parish Council) at the Drill Hall, Reigate.

Recipients (12th June 1902)

2nd Volunteer Active Service Company, Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment:
Sergeant W. Reason,
Lance-Corporal J. Best
Private W. Cowland
Private N.T. King
Private J.F. Robinson
Private R. Terry (absent)

Three others (names unrecorded) were not present.
Presentation made by the Mayor of Reigate (Councillor F.E. Barnes, J.P.) at the White Hart Hotel, Reigate.

One more plaque was presented to Private W. Allum, 1st Volunteer Active Service Company, Royal West Surrey Regiment. This example is described as being a ‘Burnished gun metal reproduction of "A Gentleman in Khaki" mounted on oak frame, with inscribed silver plaque’. Allum came from Caterham and the plaque was subscribed for by a Mr J.D. Rolls, rather than the people of Reigate.

Ref: Sussex Agricultural Express, 25-05-1901; Dorking & Leatherhead Advertiser, 06-07-1901; Surrey Mirror, 13-06-1902
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby Neville_Constantine » 29 Mar 2016 09:56

Here is the newspaper article covering the 1901 presentation (Sussex Agricultural Express).
Note that the intention had been for the plaques to be returned "in order that the monogram of each man might be inscribed at the bottom". The few that I have seen do not have this additional monogram.
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby Neville_Constantine » 29 Mar 2016 10:34

Although only twenty-eight plaques were produced with the Reigate inscription, the unadorned version was available for purchase by the the general public. The example held by the National Army Museum, London, is one of these.

An interesting use of the plaque can be seen in the memorial to Corporal Rodney Devereux in Waiuku, Auckland, New Zealand. Devereux was killed at Rhenoster Kop on 29th November 1900, and this memorial was originally erected in Holy Trinity Anglican Church. On the de-consecration of the church in July 2014, it was moved to Waiuku Museum.

Much of the silver plate has been lost through years of polishing, revealing large areas of the copper base metal. This suggests that Davy's example was once similarly plated.
An article about the Reason family, published in the Surrey Mirror in November 1949, includes a description of William Reason's plaque: "one of his proudest possessions is a bronze plaque, inscribed, 'A gentleman in khaki,' presented to him by the Borough of Reigate after his return from South Africa". The description of the plaque as "bronze" suggests that Sergeant Reason had polished his proudest possession so much that it had again lost all its silver plating.


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http://nzhistory11.rssing.com/chan-14596616/latest.php
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Ref: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz
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Re: A Gentleman in Kharki

Postby QSAMIKE » 29 Mar 2016 13:02

Good Morning Neville.....

Thank you for posting this additional information it is greatly appreciated.......

Mike

P.M. Sent...... Also should have said will give you credit of course......
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