Hot climate uniforms

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Hot climate uniforms

Postby susancammas » 22 Jan 2017 19:51

Good afternoon

Does anyone happen to know whether, in the last quarter of the 19th century, the heavy woollen uniforms the RHA wore were adapted to take into consideration the very hot climate in India. I have my gunner grandfather's blue (dress?) jacket with all the frogging and it's very heavy. I know that the colour khaki was adopted, but was this made of lighter weight fabric?
Thanks for your help.

Susan

PS: My search on the FIBIS website hasn't hasn't been succcessful.
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby VictorianEra » 23 Jan 2017 06:13

Can I possibly see a picture of the said uniform? Full dress uniforms are quite heavy. Khaki drill frocks were more lightweight and easier to wear in the hot climates, though if this uniform you describe is full dress, he only would've worn it one parade, so I would imagine it would've been too much of an issue for him.
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby Frogsmile » 23 Jan 2017 12:33

susancammas wrote:Good afternoon

Does anyone happen to know whether, in the last quarter of the 19th century, the heavy woollen uniforms the RHA wore were adapted to take into consideration the very hot climate in India. I have my gunner grandfather's blue (dress?) jacket with all the frogging and it's very heavy. I know that the colour khaki was adopted, but was this made of lighter weight fabric?
Thanks for your help.

Susan

PS: My search on the FIBIS website hasn't hasn't been succcessful.


There were of course no synthetics at that time Susan and so the uniforms were made of either wool, linen, or cotton (canvas duck or drill).

For hot climates woollen serge jackets were usually issued, but for the most part without a lining, as serge was a thinner weave, yet hard wearing and relatively cheap.

Service in India was dress wise divided between the hot season and cold season (which was a relative term) and for some parts of the sub-continent, the monsoon (rainy season).

In the cold season the men were obliged to wear full dress garments, such as the frogged jacket to which you refer, when in review order and when on guard. For the rest of the time they wore an undress jacket, which until the late 1860s was a stable/shell jacket (waist length with no skirt) and then after around 1868 a loose fitting, skirted jacket called a frock, generally with 5-buttons, was issued.

In the hot season men were issued with several suits of white, cotton (previously linen) uniform that could be laundered and changed regularly. On some occasions, depending upon local climatic conditions and orders, a mix of wool and cotton was worn, usually with the serge jacket and white cotton trousers, although this could also be reversed. There were also occasions when a drab cotton jacket was worn with white cotton trousers and visa-versa.

When a more practical and drab hued uniform began to be considered around the mid 1870s, it was initially grey in colour and wool was still favoured, although it was not generally worn for other than specific campaigns in places such as Africa. It was for the campaigns in the early 1880s that drab (khaki) started to be worn by some units, but it was for the Sudan campaigns that this dress really took hold and later spread to punitive expeditions on the North West Frontier of India.

Soldiers going about their routine garrison duties in relative peacetime conditions continued to wear cotton whites and blue, or scarlet serge, depending upon the time of year.

It was only during and after, the 2nd Anglo/Boer War of 1899-1902, that pre-dyed drab (khaki) became 'universally' the field dress of choice, at first in cotton drill (khaki drill = KD) and then in serge (serge = service dress or SD). Garrison dress remained as above for several more years to come.
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Last edited by Frogsmile on 27 Jan 2017 14:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby Maureene » 24 Jan 2017 03:20

Interesting to read, thanks Frogsmile.

Not directly relevant , but perhaps of interest in respect of the Madras Army: Regulations for the Dress of General, Staff and Regimental Officers of the Army of Fort St George 1838 Google Books.
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=W5peAAAAcAAJ&pg=PP3

The regulations, which as stated were for officers, indicate that cloth trousers were to be worn 15th October to 31st January (page 2). The remainder of the year, white linen trousers were to be worn. (multiple references, use the Search)

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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby tabony » 25 Jan 2017 03:10

R.H.A in India
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby Frogsmile » 25 Jan 2017 15:02

Some more RHA and RFA in India, mainly during cold season.

Notice how those pillbox caps with gold lace bands appear much lighter because of orthochromatic film. Also the staff sergeants frogging (sergeants class garment) and 'cap-lines' in the uppermost photo.
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Last edited by Frogsmile on 08 Feb 2017 14:35, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby susancammas » 05 Feb 2017 16:51

VictorianEra wrote:Can I possibly see a picture of the said uniform? Full dress uniforms are quite heavy. Khaki drill frocks were more lightweight and easier to wear in the hot climates, though if this uniform you describe is full dress, he only would've worn it one parade, so I would imagine it would've been too much of an issue for him.


Good afternoon from France

Thanks for your comments. The photos are ready, but I can't attach to this message because of a size problem. I have tried every way I know to make them smaller but I am at my wits end - can anyody HELP please???
From what I know of my grandfather's life, photos and the sergeant's stripe on the jacket, I can deduce that this is probably the jacket he wore at his wedding in Abbasseyah Egypt in 1911.

If I can manage to upload the photos, could anybody possibly identify and explain the sleeve badges?

Many thanks
Susan
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby susancammas » 05 Feb 2017 16:54

Frogsmile wrote:Some more RHA and RFA in India, mainly during cold season.

Notice how those pillbox caps with gold lace bands appear much lighter because of orthochromatic film. Also the staff sergeants frogging (1st class garment) in the uppermost photo.


Good afteroon - one of the men in the back row of the first photo looks like one of my great grandfathers. Is there any information available about the photo - date, place, batttery etc?

Many thanks
Susan
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby tabony » 05 Feb 2017 22:59

susancammas wrote:
VictorianEra wrote:Can I possibly see a picture of the said uniform? Full dress uniforms are quite heavy. Khaki drill frocks were more lightweight and easier to wear in the hot climates, though if this uniform you describe is full dress, he only would've worn it one parade, so I would imagine it would've been too much of an issue for him.


Good afternoon from France

Thanks for your comments. The photos are ready, but I can't attach to this message because of a size problem. I have tried every way I know to make them smaller but I am at my wits end - can anyody HELP please???
From what I know of my grandfather's life, photos and the sergeant's stripe on the jacket, I can deduce that this is probably the jacket he wore at his wedding in Abbasseyah Egypt in 1911.

If I can manage to upload the photos, could anybody possibly identify and explain the sleeve badges?

Many thanks
Susan

I usually just right click on the image, open with "paint". When the picture is open there'll be a box above it with a bunch of things to select, including "resize". When you click resize, a box will open that gives you a choice of "percentage" or "pixels". Click pixels and then change the largest number to no more than 700. Click OK . Then save the image as whatever you want. Then upload the image.
I hope I've explained my method clearly enough for you to follow.

Martin
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby susancammas » 06 Feb 2017 10:14

Many thanks Martin, you're a STAR!
Here are the photos.

KInd regards
Susan
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CJT RHA jacket inside for VWF.jpg
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CJT RHA jacket left sleeve for VWF.jpg
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CJT RHA Jacket front view for VWF.jpg
CJT RHA Jacket front view for VWF.jpg (123.44 KiB) Viewed 212 times
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Feb 2017 14:21

susancammas wrote:
Frogsmile wrote:Some more RHA and RFA in India, mainly during cold season.

Notice how those pillbox caps with gold lace bands appear much lighter because of orthochromatic film. Also the staff sergeants frogging (1st class garment) in the uppermost photo.


Good afteroon - one of the men in the back row of the first photo looks like one of my great grandfathers. Is there any information available about the photo - date, place, batttery etc?

Many thanks
Susan


I found the image in the Great War Forum, Susan. Unfortunately there was no provenance to indicate the date, or battery concerned.
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Feb 2017 14:27

susancammas wrote:Many thanks Martin, you're a STAR!
Here are the photos.

KInd regards
Susan


Great photos Susan. You can really see the padding typical in full dress garments. You are correct that wearing them can be a very hot experience in warm weather. The crossed gun barrels and crown on his left forearm is a gunnery prize badge showing that his battery came top in a competition. As an RA sergeant all the frogging on his tunic is gilt.

I enclose some coloured images that you might find interesting, as well as another RHA soldier with a gun 'Layer' badge on his right upper arm, as per the mounted soldier in the uppermost, post-card picture.

Last of all, a contemporary image, reflecting the modern make-up of the RHA. A significant number of the rough riders (equestrian instructors) today are female, often reflecting a youthful start in the pony club.
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby susancammas » 09 Feb 2017 16:31

Thanks Frogsmile for your interesting response.
My cousin will be disappointed because she suggested that one of the badges indicated our grandfather was a Master Gunner and the other indicated he was an Assistant Instructor in Gunnery.
Incidentally, as men gained more experience and expertise and earned more badges, some of them must have become outdated. In this case, did they stay stitched on or were they removed?

Kind regards
Susan
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby Frogsmile » 09 Feb 2017 20:33

susancammas wrote:Thanks Frogsmile for your interesting response.
My cousin will be disappointed because she suggested that one of the badges indicated our grandfather was a Master Gunner and the other indicated he was an Assistant Instructor in Gunnery.
Incidentally, as men gained more experience and expertise and earned more badges, some of them must have become outdated. In this case, did they stay stitched on or were they removed?

Kind regards
Susan


Unfortunately you are right that your cousin is incorrect, although in fairness some of the badges usage has changed since Queen Victoria's reign, especially in 1915 and 1918. The RA (all parts) was one regiment significantly affected.

Your GF was a straightforward sergeant of RHA (3-stripes with gun over) and his battery won the 1st Prize in competition (crossed guns surmounted by crown). The battery coming 2nd had crossed guns and a star instead of crown and for 3rd place just the crossed guns. The badges were only retained until the next periodic competition, and then removed, or modified according to placing.
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Re: Hot climate uniforms

Postby susancammas » 09 Feb 2017 22:21

Thanks Frogsmile - I'll (smugly) forward to her the expert's opinion!
It always pays to consult those who really know!
Susan
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