Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

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Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby VictorianEra » 03 Jan 2017 07:57

Hello everyone, Happy New Year! You all may remember my recent post on my Senior NCO Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Boer War scarlet patrol frock. I have now come across and in the process of buying (I have it reserved and am making payment tomorrow) an interesting Officer's Patrol Frock to the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), which I think could be quite a rare find? The frock is interestingly not like my other frock in the sense that there is no open gap for the kilt. As I understand it, the Cameronians did not wear kilts, but rather tartan trews, but I still found this absent feature interesting. Although it does make sense for it to be absent is the feature wasn't necessary. It is a very nice rifle-green colour. The buttons, though hard to see, are in fact Cameronians buttons, and are Victorian as they have Queen's Crowns. The arms feature gauntlet cuffs, with buttons to the back of it. As in the description, it is a wool frock, and not a warm climate frock as my previous A&SH frock. It has four pockets, which if I am correct is a proper indicator of an officer's tunic? (It was listed as an officer's tunic). Interesting also, it has no shoulder boards, nor any trace of any, whatsoever. It is named, but unfortunately it is too hard to determine the original owners name. The interesting part for be is the ribbon bar, I know what the one to the right is, the Queen's South Africa medal, but not personally being a medal expert, I have no idea what the one to the left is. It appears to be a purple colour. It was listed as a "Victoria Cross winner", but I don't know what the Victoria Cross ribbon bar looked like in the Victorian era. The more recent examples of Victoria Cross ribbon bars have a purple colour with a very miniature VC in the centre of the ribbon, but I have no idea about the Victorian Era examples. If it was a VC winner it would be very interesting, but if it's not I won't be disappointed, as I just don't know what it could be. Perhaps medal experts could help me out on this one. I have seen a similar example to the Rifle Brigade which is very similar, though obviously not exactly the same (I will include a picture below) I would love any information about the uniform itself, other possible examples of this type of frock, or help with the interesting ribbon bar. I am very happy to add yet another interesting patrol frock to my collection, perhaps I start a serious collection of Victorian-Edwardian period patrol frocks :) Pictures below. Thank you for reading, and happy new year.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby VictorianEra » 03 Jan 2017 08:00

Accidentely left out the most important pictures... the front :lol: Here are the pictures of the front, the picture of the rifle brigade frock is also included at the bottom.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Jan 2017 10:49

You have indeed found another rare garment. It is, as you surmised an officers regimental pattern frock (not tunic/doublet) of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), a regiment formed in 1881 from the merger of the 26th Foot (Cameronians) and the 90th Foot (Perthshire Light Infantry). The regiment was one of the most religious in the British Army, having inherited from the 26th its strong Presbyterian culture and so the chaplain was always from that branch of the Protestant faith.

The undress frock was of a pattern unique to the regiment and the first mention of it that I have found is in the 1891 Dress Regulations for officers of the army. It was worn for regimental duty in barracks, including courts martial. For full dress a more elaborate, rifle green doublet, with inverness flaps, was worn (see enclosed photo).

I did post images of the same frock in your thread on the A&SH garment, but you appear to have missed that. It seems to have been removed from dress regulations in 1934.

As regards the VC, I do not think that fits with the known winners: http://www.cameronians.org/victoriacross/

The original ribbon of the regular army's long service and good conduct medal fits, as it had a crimson ribbon without the white edges that were later added, which would fit for an officer commissioned from the ranks, although I am unsure of the positioning protocol alongside the SA medal.

You can learn more about the regiment's traditions and dress here: http://www.cameronians.siteiscentral.co ... no-1-dress (ironically one of the few garments that they do not have an image of is the officers' undress frock).
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Jan 2017 11:32

And here is the other ranks equivalent, undress frock (a rare survivor). The paper label inside reads: “Rifle Frock, Nov. 1899.” Size 16 with “WD” War Department mark, and British Broad arrow.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Jan 2017 11:36

And RACD label plus another view. The 'other ranks' button is the general, rifles pattern in black bone, whereas the officers had a regimental pattern in metal.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby VictorianEra » 03 Jan 2017 16:46

Frogsmile, where would I be without your seemingly endless knowledge? I'm sorry, yes, I did forget about the one you posted in the A&SH Frock topic. I also did check the Cameronians Victoria Cross winners on that website prior to buying it, but I thought there could've possibly been more winners. Interesting no soldier/officer won a VC from 1879-1914. Did the Cameronians serve in any major battles during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War? Also, I notice the other Cameronian Frocks, officer and ORs alike, have shoulder boards on them. My example does not, do you think they have become absent due to age, or were they not there in the start? I'm sorry to say I have no close-up pictures of the shoulders of this frock, but when it arrives, I will take detailed pictures when the frock arrives in the mail. These detailed pictures are very appreciated and very helpful, Frogsmile.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Jan 2017 20:24

VictorianEra wrote:Frogsmile, where would I be without your seemingly endless knowledge? I'm sorry, yes, I did forget about the one you posted in the A&SH Frock topic. I also did check the Cameronians Victoria Cross winners on that website prior to buying it, but I thought there could've possibly been more winners. Interesting no soldier/officer won a VC from 1879-1914. Did the Cameronians serve in any major battles during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War? Also, I notice the other Cameronian Frocks, officer and ORs alike, have shoulder boards on them. My example does not, do you think they have become absent due to age, or were they not there in the start? I'm sorry to say I have no close-up pictures of the shoulders of this frock, but when it arrives, I will take detailed pictures when the frock arrives in the mail. These detailed pictures are very appreciated and very helpful, Frogsmile.


For some reason the shoulder strap (as usually termed in British usage) on the officers frock was generally stitched down on top of the shoulder rather than inserted and stitched into the the shoulder seam, as it would be on a doublet/tunic. You can see this clearly on the photos that I posted in the A&SH thread. It would appear then that the shoulder strap has been unpicked and removed from your frock.

The 2nd Battalion (old 90th Foot) Cameronians (SR) did serve in the 2nd Anglo Boer War and thus the regiment were awarded the honours that you can see on the regimental details post card that I included above, i.e. South Africa and Relief of Ladysmith. No VCs were won.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby gordon92 » 03 Jan 2017 23:57

In connection with the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), it is worth mentioning that that only the 1st Battalion referred to themselves as The Cameronians. All other battalions used the appellation Scottish Rifles.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby VictorianEra » 04 Jan 2017 01:01

So this is likely a 2nd Battalion (Scottish Rifles) Frock, the officer has a long service/good conduct medal and a QSA medal, and served in the Boer War. Frogsmile, I was reading everything over again and you said
The original ribbon of the regular army's long service and good conduct medal fits, as it had a crimson ribbon without the white edges that were later added, which would fit for an officer commissioned from the ranks, although I am unsure of the positioning protocol alongside the SA medal.


So this officer may have been commissioned from the ranks, which was a rare occurrence? Also, would Trews, a SR Black Glengarry likely been worn with this, and a Rifle Brigade cross belt be worn with this? Are there instances where Officers would wear their Sam Browne with their undress frock while in the barracks, or no?
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby Frogsmile » 04 Jan 2017 12:28

VictorianEra wrote:So this is likely a 2nd Battalion (Scottish Rifles) Frock, the officer has a long service/good conduct medal and a QSA medal, and served in the Boer War. Frogsmile, I was reading everything over again and you said
The original ribbon of the regular army's long service and good conduct medal fits, as it had a crimson ribbon without the white edges that were later added, which would fit for an officer commissioned from the ranks, although I am unsure of the positioning protocol alongside the SA medal.


So this officer may have been commissioned from the ranks, which was a rare occurrence? Also, would Trews, a SR Black Glengarry likely been worn with this, and a Rifle Brigade cross belt be worn with this? Are there instances where Officers would wear their Sam Browne with their undress frock while in the barracks, or no?


The 2nd Battalion does seem more likely. If it belonged to an officer commissioned from the ranks then the quartermaster would be a strong possibility. The frock would have been worn with either, a Scottish Rifles (not RB) cross belt, or a Sam Browne with two shoulder straps (suspenders), depending upon the order of dress. If you look at the lowermost of the first four images that I posted above you can seen a photo of an officer wearing a frock, cross belt and glengarry.

There were four generic orders of dress for infantry and other 'dismounted' arms, as follows:

1. Review Order. Ceremonial dress (including battalion duty officer after 6pm). Doublet, full dress helmet/shako (depending on period) and cross belt.

2. Drill Order. Day-to-day wear for barracks routine and duty (including battalion duty officer before 6pm). Frock, glengarry and cross belt.

3. Field Day Order. Dress when training with troops out of barracks. Frock and glengarry, Sam Browne with both shoulder straps, swords and pistol as ordered.

3. Marching Order. Dress on operations in temperate climates before 1902. Frock and glengarry, Sam Browne with both shoulder straps, swords and pistol, valise, etc. as ordered.

N.B. In overseas garrisons and operations the latter was increasingly being replaced by khaki and completely so after 1902.

In addition to the generic orders of dress above Scottish regiments, especially highlanders, had a number of subsets that determined such things as kilts, or trews, hose, and, or spats, etc. Before 1902, there was also Levee Order which was a subset, or variation of Review Order. After 1902 the number of variations was reduced and many specific (and expensive) levee items of dress abolished.

The cross belt was black for regular units, but some volunteer battalions wore brown.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby VictorianEra » 04 Jan 2017 16:49

On another militaria website I found a Scottish Rifles black Sam Browne with two shoulder straps as you said. It has on it a .455 holster, sword frog and 1 bullet pouch, and was Victorian. Victorian Scottish Rifles glengarries and trews are quite scarce/rare for purchase as well, I would imagine. It's a shame the name tag on this is all scratched up and hard to read, it would've been interesting to research this Officer's career. I noticed that there is my example of this frock, and the Cameronians Doublet that you just posted a picture of, Frogsmile, that are clearly rifle green. But most of the other pictures of the uniform displays are very black or appear black, especially the ORs frocks, on the ORs shoulder I even detect a dark blue colour. Wondering if the "black" is a darker version of rifle green, where some examples such as the one I just purchased are clearly rifle green, whereas the "black" examples are more black with a hint of green, or is it just the lighting in the photo, perhaps? Or were there different colours depending on maker/battalion? Or maybe it's just my eyes... :?
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby Mark A. Reid » 04 Jan 2017 16:55

Hello All;

What a fascinating discussion! My knowledge of patrol dress has grown exponentially thanks to the shared knowledge of the Forum. Being unable to add anything I thought I might offer a couple of observations regarding the medal ribbons;

1) As Frogsmile has pointed out, these appear to be that of the Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal ( pre-1917 ) and the Queen's South Africa Medal. However, the order of precedence is wrong and would have been instantly corrected by the Adjutant, Sergeant Major or anyone in the Tailor Shop. As it is unlikely to be that of the Victoria Cross I am left wondering if it might be the ribbon of the Order of the Bath? This would make sense in terms of its precedence over the QSA ribbon.

2) The 1900 Dress Regulations, para 36, make it very clear that all Orders are mounted before the VC and British War Medals.

Any thoughts from our other medal-types?

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby Frogsmile » 04 Jan 2017 17:33

VictorianEra wrote:On another militaria website I found a Scottish Rifles black Sam Browne with two shoulder straps as you said. It has on it a .455 holster, sword frog and 1 bullet pouch, and was Victorian. Victorian Scottish Rifles glengarries and trews are quite scarce/rare for purchase as well, I would imagine. It's a shame the name tag on this is all scratched up and hard to read, it would've been interesting to research this Officer's career. I noticed that there is my example of this frock, and the Cameronians Doublet that you just posted a picture of, Frogsmile, that are clearly rifle green. But most of the other pictures of the uniform displays are very black or appear black, especially the ORs frocks, on the ORs shoulder I even detect a dark blue colour. Wondering if the "black" is a darker version of rifle green, where some examples such as the one I just purchased are clearly rifle green, whereas the "black" examples are more black with a hint of green, or is it just the lighting in the photo, perhaps? Or were there different colours depending on maker/battalion? Or maybe it's just my eyes... :?


Your eyes are very good. The other ranks frock was a shade of rifle green that was actually black and is recognised as such in clothing regulations, as was noted by W Y Carman when examining a sealed pattern dated 1899. The problem was producing a colour fast dye that did not fade in sunlight, something critical for the British Army with so many of its garrisons in hot climates. A colour fast dye was eventually found for officers uniforms, but did not become common for other ranks until between the two world wars. Ironically the leading Nation for producing colour fast dyes was Germany and as late as 1914 Britain was still (secretly) importing them from Germany for the purpose of dyeing uniforms.

Because the Rifle Brigade wore black facings, as well as black frocks and 'tartan' (a special weave, not plaid) trousers, it gave them an all black appearance. This was quickly seized upon by other British regiments, always quick with a jibe for units other than their own, who gave that regiment the nick name "the sweeps" (as in sooty chimney sweeps).

Mark has made a sensible suggestion that the crimson ribbon might well be the order of the Bath and ostensibly that seems quite feasible to me.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby VictorianEra » 05 Jan 2017 03:10

That would be very interesting if the crimson-purple ribbon is in fact the Order of the Bath. I don't tend to study the prestigious orders and medals, but if this was indeed the Order of the Bath, wouldn't it be likely the opposite of being commissioned from the ranks, probably a well-off officer who bought his commission and somehow received this prestigious order? When it arrives, I will take close up pictures under good lighting and perhaps that may confirm it, but as Mark you said before, it is mounted before a British war medal, which only an order would take precedence. It could be a mistake, but I mean I doubt it, because as you also said before Mark, it would have likely been corrected. I am also wondering, if this (because of the absent shoulder strap) could be "almost any rank" that is an officer, or if the higher ranking, perhaps Colonel or another higher rank and above Scottish Rifles Officers had a more elaborate frock than this example, or.. no? In connecting with the possible Order of the Bath ribbon bar, if I am correct, didn't higher ranking officers tend to be awarded this order? But I am no expert on orders and medals, so I wouldn't know. This frock, as with the A&SH frock before, has certainly sparked an interesting discussion, in which I am learning loads of information. I hope we can solve the interesting ribbon bar "mystery" if we haven't already with the Order of the Bath suggestion, which would certainly make this frock even more interesting if the ribbon bar did have the Order of the Bath ribbon on it. My goal, other than to learn more from the experts of this amazing forum (that I cannot thank enough) with these topics is to try to shine more light onto Victorian-Edwardian period patrol frocks, and more patrol frocks topics will likely come up in the future, as I said before, I am trying to start a collection of Victorian patrol frocks.
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Re: Interesting Boer War Cameronians Officer's Patrol Frock

Postby Frogsmile » 05 Jan 2017 13:09

The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (dormant). There are four rankings in this order and the lowest is Companion (Companion of the Bath), which shows after a recipients name (i.e. post nominal) as CB. There is a military division and a civil division (originally just military).

It was usually awarded to senior officers as you have surmised, at the very least a full Colonel. As such it implies an officer who had moved on from regimental duty and was on the staff. There would still be occasions on which he wore regimental uniform, but more rarely, as once a full colonel and on the staff a special, staff uniform in scarlet was generally worn. This makes the scenario of CB less likely, but not impossible.

As an example, the enclosed image of an Admiral shows him wearing the CB alongside a campaign medal. The decoration usually came in several parts, including a chest star and neck decoration that would be worn according to the order of dress. Each award came with a framed citation.

It might well still be possible to ascertain an ID from your tailors label. You will need to contact a forensics laboratory (you can find your nearest online, or from your local police/coroner) and then contact them for tentative help. Depending upon how busy they are at the time they might well help in return for a contribution to their Christmas Box/coffee fund. Techniques such as ultraviolet light will often read an old label that is illegible to the human eye.
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