Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

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Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby Fathertime » 02 Jan 2017 20:35

I have here a cabinet photo of a British officer who has been awarded the India General Service medal. He wears the ribbon, and the photo has great clarity, however i can't find a helmet plate, or badge like the one on his helmet, so I am still searching for his unit.
The photo was taken at Muree and Pindee, which is in the Punjab in modern Pakistan, and was a rest area for British troops serving on the Northwest Frontier.

regards
Bob
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby jf42 » 02 Jan 2017 20:48

Bob- hello. That's the badge of the Prince Albert's Somersetshire Light Infantry- a bugle horn topped by the Mural Crown & 'Jellalabad' awarded to the 13th (1st Somersetshire) Light Infantry in 1842. However, it bears the old regimental number '13' instead of the more familiar intials 'P.A.'

The 1st Battalion was in India from 1893-1908, (in the Punjab /NWF until 1904), Rawalpindi from 1899-1902.

The 2nd Battalion were in India, mostly the Punjab/NWF again, from 1913 until 1926. Too late for your photo.

PS. it differs from the official Home Service Helmet Plate badge in being a regimental pattern badge for wear on the pagri of the Foreign Service Helmet (worn until about 1900-02). The old regimental number '13' had been dispensed with in the Childers' regimental reforms of 1881 but, as with a number of other regiments, it seems to have been retained for unofficial use on badges in certain orders of dress.
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby Will Mathieson » 03 Jan 2017 07:15

Bob can you post a closeup of the sword hilt?
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Jan 2017 20:38

I would date this to just before the 2nd Boer War at the latest, if it were 1st Battalion. By the end of the war officers had already started to adopt an open, stepped collar to the jacket, worn with a white shirt and black, ribbed silk tie. Most likely would be 1893-94.
The pattern of shoulder title should provide a clue, but I do not have the Westlake reference book to hand. The 2nd Battalion was in India from 1887 to 1894 and that seems the more likely unit to me.
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby jf42 » 04 Jan 2017 08:17

Are you sure, FS? Are those dates for the 1st Bn Somerset LI?

Mills' archived regiments.org site has these postings for the 1st Bn. P.A.S. LI

1881.07.01 1st Battalion, Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)
1881 Ireland: Curragh
1882 Enniskillen
1885 Birr
1886 England: Colchester
1891 Gibraltar
1893 India: Peshawar
1897 Dalhousie
1897 Mohmand campaign
1899 Rawalpindi
1902 Peshawar

1904 Cawnpore
1906 Poona
1908 England: Portland

http://web.archive.org/web/200712161436 ... /013-1.htm

According to Mills, The 2nd Bn had left Madras sometime in 1892 and were at Home, or in Jersey, until they departed for South Africa in 1899.

Perhaps James would be the man to confirm this but I have a feeling that the stand-and-fall collar on the khaki frock, replacing the lower standing collar, began to appear towards the end of the 1890s.
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby Frogsmile » 04 Jan 2017 12:24

jf42 wrote:Are you sure, FS? Are those dates for the 1st Bn Somerset LI?

Mills' archived regiments.org site has these postings for the 1st Bn. P.A.S. LI

1881.07.01 1st Battalion, Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)
1881 Ireland: Curragh
1882 Enniskillen
1885 Birr
1886 England: Colchester
1891 Gibraltar
1893 India: Peshawar
1897 Dalhousie
1897 Mohmand campaign
1899 Rawalpindi
1902 Peshawar

1904 Cawnpore
1906 Poona
1908 England: Portland

http://web.archive.org/web/200712161436 ... /013-1.htm

According to Mills, The 2nd Bn had left Madras sometime in 1892 and were at Home, or in Jersey, until they departed for South Africa in 1899.

Perhaps James would be the man to confirm this but I have a feeling that the stand-and-fall collar on the khaki frock, replacing the lower standing collar, began to appear towards the end of the 1890s.


Hello JF. I do not know for sure that he is 2nd Battalion, it's just that I feel the style of his uniform lends itself more to the earlier period (pre-1894), rather than just before the Boer War. The pagri badge also suggests an earlier time, based as it is on the old, pre-1881 soldiers glengarry badge. Interestingly the badge does not appear in the dress regulations for 1891, or 1900, so it is clearly being worn under battalion/regimental arrangements.

As you say, the 1st Battalion relieved the 2nd Battalion in India. One source suggests the date as 1893. Access to a generic (not India only) Nafziger pdf. for 1893-94 would confirm it, but I am on a public link and cannot get in.
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby Fathertime » 04 Jan 2017 14:52

here's a closer view of the sword hilt.
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby Frogsmile » 04 Jan 2017 22:32

Fathertime wrote:here's a closer view of the sword hilt.


It's not an ideal view, but looks like VR to me, as we would expect.
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby Fathertime » 05 Jan 2017 04:25

I think I found the Royal Cypher in there.
Cheers
Bob
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby jf42 » 05 Jan 2017 12:28

Frogsmile wrote:
jf42 wrote:Are you sure, FS? Are those dates for the 1st Bn Somerset LI?

Mills' archived regiments.org site has these postings for the 1st Bn. P.A.S. LI

1881.07.01 1st Battalion, Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)
1881 Ireland: Curragh
1882 Enniskillen
1885 Birr
1886 England: Colchester
1891 Gibraltar
1893 India: Peshawar
1897 Dalhousie
1897 Mohmand campaign
1899 Rawalpindi
1902 Peshawar

1904 Cawnpore
1906 Poona
1908 England: Portland

http://web.archive.org/web/200712161436 ... /013-1.htm

According to Mills, The 2nd Bn had left Madras sometime in 1892 and were at Home, or in Jersey, until they departed for South Africa in 1899.

Perhaps James would be the man to confirm this but I have a feeling that the stand-and-fall collar on the khaki frock, replacing the lower standing collar, began to appear towards the end of the 1890s.


Hello JF. I do not know for sure that he is 2nd Battalion, it's just that I feel the style of his uniform lends itself more to the earlier period (pre-1894), rather than just before the Boer War. The pagri badge also suggests an earlier time, based as it is on the old, pre-1881 soldiers glengarry badge. Interestingly the badge does not appear in the dress regulations for 1891, or 1900, so it is clearly being worn under battalion/regimental arrangements.

As you say, the 1st Battalion relieved the 2nd Battalion in India. One source suggests the date as 1893. Access to a generic (not India only) Nafziger pdf. for 1893-94 would confirm it, but I am on a public link and cannot get in.


My apologies, I hadn't noticed that the presence of the Somerset LI's two battalions in India dovetailed so neatly. Perhaps though, the fact that during their time in the east the 2nd Bn were either in Southern India (Madras/ Belgaum), or Burma, would make it less likely that an officer would have had his photo taken in Rawalpindi. I would still have to say that the collar on the frock ( and perhaps the sharpness of the image, too) place the date of the of the photo towards the end of the 1890s

The pre-1881 13th PASLI badge does not appear to be a very common item. It would be interesting to know whether it was retained from 1881 onwards as a pagri badge. The 2nd PASLI were in India from 1878.

The officer's pagri badge in the OP is, as you say, based on the earlier badge but subtly different;. The shape of the 'Jellalabad' scroll, mirroring that of the bugle horn, makes the overall form of the badge more circular. In that regard it seems to resemble more the form of the later 'P.A.' badge although that notion has only just ocurred to me and might not stand up to scrutiny.

The post-1881 regimental badge of the PASLI started with a Sphinx in the triangular space between the bugle horn and the cords, where the number used to be, and the badge worn on the glengarry, based on the helmet plate centre, took that form, as recorded in DRs of 1883 and 1891 (I believe- I have been looking the not-entirely-reliable British Empire site's selection of badges
http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/a ... ge1900.htm) .

As far as I can make out, the Sphinx began to be replaced by the initials 'P.A.' starting with the Foreign Service Cap badge in 1898 (c.f British & Commonwealth Badge Forum) but this was not recorded in DRs until 1900, with the form of the helmet plate badge conforming subsequently. Presumably the nostalgic (or recalcitrant) use of the number '13' as a regimental emblem ended with that change, the Queen's late husband meriting more respect than a 100 year-old campaign distinction.

Why the Sphinx was replaced at that late date by the initials of the long dead Prince Consort, I am not sure. It is interesting that in the 1920s, many regiments with Royal Personages in their 1881 name, reversed their titles to accentuate their regional identity instead. That included 'The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's)'.
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby Frogsmile » 05 Jan 2017 12:57

jf42 wrote:
Frogsmile wrote:
jf42 wrote:Are you sure, FS? Are those dates for the 1st Bn Somerset LI?

Mills' archived regiments.org site has these postings for the 1st Bn. P.A.S. LI

1881.07.01 1st Battalion, Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)
1881 Ireland: Curragh
1882 Enniskillen
1885 Birr
1886 England: Colchester
1891 Gibraltar
1893 India: Peshawar
1897 Dalhousie
1897 Mohmand campaign
1899 Rawalpindi
1902 Peshawar

1904 Cawnpore
1906 Poona
1908 England: Portland

http://web.archive.org/web/200712161436 ... /013-1.htm

According to Mills, The 2nd Bn had left Madras sometime in 1892 and were at Home, or in Jersey, until they departed for South Africa in 1899.

Perhaps James would be the man to confirm this but I have a feeling that the stand-and-fall collar on the khaki frock, replacing the lower standing collar, began to appear towards the end of the 1890s.


Hello JF. I do not know for sure that he is 2nd Battalion, it's just that I feel the style of his uniform lends itself more to the earlier period (pre-1894), rather than just before the Boer War. The pagri badge also suggests an earlier time, based as it is on the old, pre-1881 soldiers glengarry badge. Interestingly the badge does not appear in the dress regulations for 1891, or 1900, so it is clearly being worn under battalion/regimental arrangements.

As you say, the 1st Battalion relieved the 2nd Battalion in India. One source suggests the date as 1893. Access to a generic (not India only) Nafziger pdf. for 1893-94 would confirm it, but I am on a public link and cannot get in.


My apologies, I hadn't noticed that the presence of the Somerset LI's two battalions in India dovetailed so neatly. Perhaps though, the fact that during their time in the east the 2nd Bn were either in Southern India (Madras/ Belgaum), or Burma, would make it less likely that an officer would have had his photo taken in Rawalpindi. I would still have to say that the collar on the frock ( and perhaps the sharpness of the image, too) place the date of the of the photo towards the end of the 1890s

The pre-1881 13th PASLI badge does not appear to be a very common item. It would be interesting to know whether it was retained from 1881 onwards as a pagri badge. The 2nd PASLI were in India from 1878.

The officer's pagri badge in the OP is, as you say, based on the earlier badge but subtly different;. The shape of the 'Jellalabad' scroll, mirroring that of the bugle horn, makes the overall form of the badge more circular. In that regard it seems to resemble more the form of the later 'P.A.' badge although that notion has only just ocurred to me and might not stand up to scrutiny.

The post-1881 regimental badge of the PASLI started with a Sphinx in the triangular space between the bugle horn and the cords, where the number used to be, and the badge worn on the glengarry, based on the helmet plate centre, took that form, as recorded in DRs of 1883 and 1891 (I believe- I have been looking the not-entirely-reliable British Empire site's selection of badges
http://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/a ... ge1900.htm) .

As far as I can make out, the Sphinx began to be replaced by the initials 'P.A.' starting with the Foreign Service Cap badge in 1898 (c.f British & Commonwealth Badge Forum) but this was not recorded in DRs until 1900, with the form of the helmet plate badge conforming subsequently. Presumably the nostalgic (or recalcitrant) use of the number '13' as a regimental emblem ended with that change, the Queen's late husband meriting more respect than a 100 year-old campaign distinction.

Why the Sphinx was replaced at that late date by the initials of the long dead Prince Consort, I am not sure. It is interesting that in the 1920s, many regiments with Royal Personages in their 1881 name, reversed their titles to accentuate their regional identity instead. That included 'The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's)'.


I concur with all that you have said JF, it was just that my initial feelings were that the badge and general appearance of the full lieutenant's uniform with its early pattern KD frock and white shirt collar just protruding lent itself to an earlier date in the 1890s. One key aspect mentioned by the OP that I missed and that now changes my mind (in addition to your well made points) is the medal ribbon, which as he said appears to be the India General Service Medal (IGSM)1895-1902. The 2nd Battalion had fought in Burma in the mid-1880s, but had left India, of course, before the IGSM was instituted. Conversely the 1st Battalion fought in the first Mohmand campaign (1897) and earned the IGSM accordingly. I suspect that the photo was taken not long after the conclusion of the campaign, to mark the young officer's first medal.

1. https://cgsc2.leavenworth.army.mil/CARL ... 7NWFXD.pdf

2. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WsA ... gn&f=false
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby jf42 » 05 Jan 2017 17:01

[quote="Frogsmile" I suspect that the photo was taken not long after the conclusion of the campaign, to mark the young officer's first medal.

1. https://cgsc2.leavenworth.army.mil/CARL ... 7NWFXD.pdf

2. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WsA ... gn&f=false[/quote]

That seems a good working hypothesis.
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby Bondy » 17 Jan 2017 18:55

Such a wonderfully sharp photograph, great to see it.
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Re: Photo British Lieutenant in India , Unit?

Postby jonc@adelaide.on.net » 18 Jan 2017 14:15

I am away from my reference on Victorian photographs and how colours appeared in b/w photos, but how confident are people that the medal is green and red (IGS 1895) and not red and dark blue (IGS 1854) ?
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