Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Thanks

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Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Thanks

Postby emehegan » 18 Oct 2016 20:55

Hi There, I'm new to this forum so please forgive me if I'm not following all the rules and etiquette. Thanks in advance for any info you might have on this photo. My great-grandfather was a US ambassador so I think he may have known this gentleman.

All the best!

-Eben
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby Frogsmile » 19 Oct 2016 11:33

He appears to be a junior officer of the 17th (The Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers, wearing Full Dress, but with just the top part of his plastron (the white part) turned back circa 1900.

There is a remote possibility that he might instead be an officer of the British Indian Army's 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) who wore a very similar uniform but with buff ( a pale fawn/beige creamy colour) plastron.
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby emehegan » 19 Oct 2016 16:13

That's very helpful, thank you! Is there ever a chance of actually identifying someone in a photo like this? I'm sure it's very unlikely unless they went on to become well-known as a politician, etc. Still, very interesting to find out as much as I can about it. Thanks again!
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby acanthus » 20 Oct 2016 00:03

The 17th Bengal Lancers, Cavalry also wore a dark blue uniform with white facings, and a couple of other Indian Army regiments wore Lancer tunics with the half plastron.

Very difficult to pick facing colour in black and white images; could be Buff or white.

As he appears to be wearing the Afghan War Medal, it might be worth checking on the Lancer regiments that served during this campaign.
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby acanthus » 20 Oct 2016 00:10

Frogsmile wrote:He appears to be a junior officer of the 17th (The Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers, wearing Full Dress, but with just the top part of his plastron (the white part) turned back circa 1900.

There is a remote possibility that he might instead be an officer of the British Indian Army's 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) who wore a very similar uniform but with buff ( a pale fawn/beige creamy colour) plastron.



Hi Frogsmile,

Unlikely to be the 7th Bombay or 37th Baluch Horse owing to the fact that they wore chains and Whistle on the pouch-belt as apposed to chains with pricker's.
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby emehegan » 20 Oct 2016 01:02

I was just browsing google images and came across a photo of Arthur Power Palmer who was a 9th Bengal Lancer. That uniform looks like a perfect match (to my untrained eye). What do you guys think? Here's the link.
http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/a ... palmer.htm
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby crimea1854 » 20 Oct 2016 08:16

A clue to the regiment could lie in the medal ribbon. A QSA would suggest a British lancer regiment.

Martin
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby Frogsmile » 20 Oct 2016 10:08

acanthus wrote:
Frogsmile wrote:He appears to be a junior officer of the 17th (The Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers, wearing Full Dress, but with just the top part of his plastron (the white part) turned back circa 1900.

There is a remote possibility that he might instead be an officer of the British Indian Army's 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) who wore a very similar uniform but with buff ( a pale fawn/beige creamy colour) plastron.



Hi Frogsmile,

Unlikely to be the 7th Bombay or 37th Baluch Horse owing to the fact that they wore chains and Whistle on the pouch-belt as apposed to chains with pricker's.


That's interesting detail acanthus, and helps to rule some units out, thank you. Another feature that has been troubling me is the absence of points to the top of the plastron on each side, instead their appears to be an obliquely cut style, that does not seem right for the 17th (DCO) Lancers.

Martin makes an excellent point too regarding the medal. It ought to be possible to narrow things down.

The images I have seen on the 17th Bengal Lancers seem to show an Alkalak style upper garment, very Indian in appearance and also worn by officers. I cannot see any plastron, although I know there was a period when British style, conventional Lancer tunics were worn in the period before WW1.

I amnow beginning to think that the photo actually shows an officer of the 9th Bengal Lancers, who wore a dark blue tunic with white plastron with oblique cut offs to the top, as mentioned above. See enclosed images.

The regiments pre-WW1 battle honours are:

DELHI
LUCKNOW
SUAKIN 1885
CHITRAL
PUNJAB FRONTIER

British officers of the regiment had two types of dress uniform, the European lancer style as worn by Capt Dawson (see below) and the Indian style worn when parading with the men. The Pouchbelt was gold laced with white silk stripe. The belt itself was made of white leather. The lace was gold with a white silk stripe down the middle. The ornaments were silver. The belt was worn after 1885 when the regiment became lancers and adopted white facings.

For Eben - there was a tunic for sale at the famous British auction house, Bosley's, here: https://www.the-saleroom.com/en-us/auct ... 3a01485227
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby Frogsmile » 20 Oct 2016 10:34

Here is a particularly fine and detailed photo of a 9th Bengal Lancers officer that confirms the ID of Eben's picture.

I think that the medal is the Indian General Service Medal with a clasp for the Relief of Chitral 1895. Eben's picture might show the same medal but with a clasp for Suakin instead.
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby emehegan » 20 Oct 2016 15:20

I would agree completely. When I saw the 9th Bengal Lancers uniform, every detail looked like a perfect match to me. Thanks to everyone, and especially Frogsmile for all the great details! Now off to seeing if I can narrow down who it might be. My Great-Grandfather wrote a biography about his time as a diplomat and then a Colonel in WWI, so hoping it mentions someone in the book.
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby acanthus » 21 Oct 2016 07:19

Knowing the dates when your ancestor was in India could give additional clues.
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby Frogsmile » 21 Oct 2016 11:35

emehegan wrote:I would agree completely. When I saw the 9th Bengal Lancers uniform, every detail looked like a perfect match to me. Thanks to everyone, and especially Frogsmile for all the great details! Now off to seeing if I can narrow down who it might be. My Great-Grandfather wrote a biography about his time as a diplomat and then a Colonel in WWI, so hoping it mentions someone in the book.


The regiment had very famous origins and, like all the rest of the Indian Army (former Honourable East India Company Army), was reorganised to a large degree three times before the partition of India in 1947. The first time was in 1861, following the taking over of the HEIC by the Crown (i.e. British government), then again in 1903 and finally, in 1922, as a result of lessons learned in WW1.

The regiment was originally one of three raised by a British infantry officer, William Stephen Raikes Hodson, as an irregular unit, during the Indian Mutiny (1st Indian War of Independence) in 1857, all of which were named after him as Hodson's Horse. This regiment was 1st Hodson's Horse until 1861, when it became the 9th (Hodson's) Horse until 1886, when along with several other regiments of horse, they were made Lancers. In 1903, the title was formalised as 9th Bengal Lancers. Finally, in 1922, the 9th Bengal Lancers amalgamated with the 10th (DCO) Bengal Lancers, who had been the 2nd Hodson's Horse, under the new title of 4th Duke of Cambridges Own Lancers (Hodson's Horse). It is today known simply as 4th Horse (Hodson's Horse). As the 9th Bengal Lancers it was the only Indian Cavalry Regiment to serve in the Sudan campaign and during WW1 it held the records as the Indian cavalry regiment with the most foreign (i.e away from India) service.

Interestingly Hodson is generally accepted as the originator of khaki (Kharkee), although in its original form it was more of a blue-grey dust colour. You can read more about it within the forum if you use the search function for 'khaki' and/or 'Hodson'.
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby emehegan » 21 Oct 2016 23:52

My ancestor was first posted in England I want to say in roughly 1899 and then was appointed Minister to Persia in 1901. That photo seems to be from the 1890s but I could be off on that. I'm wondering if they crossed paths while he was stationed in England, or I suppose it's possible while he was in Persia. My guess is if they knew each other during WWI that the officer would have given him a more current photo of himself. I also have a signed photo of Winston Churchill thanking him for all his help during the war, but it's a contemporaneous photo which makes sense. I think it's time to break out the book again and see if there are any clues there.
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby emehegan » 22 Oct 2016 00:11

Frogsmile, thanks for the historical info. I just looked at the back of the photo and noticed that this photographer won an award in 1899 so it's a little later than I expected. It could mean that they crossed paths in 1901 while my great-grandfather was stationed in Persia. I'll post the back too if anyone wants to see it.
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Re: Looking for any information on uniform, year, etc. Than

Postby Frogsmile » 22 Oct 2016 09:40

emehegan wrote:Frogsmile, thanks for the historical info. I just looked at the back of the photo and noticed that this photographer won an award in 1899 so it's a little later than I expected. It could mean that they crossed paths in 1901 while my great-grandfather was stationed in Persia. I'll post the back too if anyone wants to see it.


That's interesting Eben. I was going to say even before you noted trhe back of the photo that it was quite likely to be 1901 and Persia where they met. All British officers of the Indian Army were expected to be proficient in one or more languages native to India if they wanted to progress well in their career. A big focus at that time was Afghanistan (plus ca change!) and the aristocratic language of Afghanistan was Persian (Farsi) - the other languages being Pashtu and various tribal dialects - so it seems likely to me that he was a fluent speaker and then, later perhaps, obtained an appointment as a military attache at the British Embassy in Teheran.

It ought to be possible to trace the British officer's name via the London Gazette, which has an online archive. The London Gazette is the official government organ/review by which official appointments and resignations, dismissals, etc. are notified. It still exists today, although much more as a digital outlet than print. Bear in mind that until 1903 the title of his regiment was 9th (Hodson's) Horse.
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