Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

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Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby armagh444 » 04 Mar 2016 13:20

found these two old military photos on glass plates have had them developed in the hope that i could identify the regiment it certainly appears to be around the 1900s going by the civilian dress amongst the soldiers .the soldiers in the background appear to be holding standards and the civilians appear to be from a wealthy background i would love to identify the regiment and also the parade ground. I have no real idea at all other than a speculation that the photos origins (may) be of norfolk suffolk in origin . I would be truly grateful if someone could point me in the right direction. grateful thanks armagh 444
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby gordon92 » 04 Mar 2016 23:59

There is little to go on except to say that that the small group photo includes officers of a line infantry regiment in full dress.

It is worth mentioning that the photo is printed in reverse. Notice that in the image the uniform jackets are buttoned right-over-left thus opposite with actuality.

The timeframe of the photo is pre-1902 as indicated by the over the shoulder sashes. Beginning in 1902 the sashes were configured around the waist (except for Scottish regiments).

It would help to identify regiment if you could provide a zoom on the helmet plate.
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby rd72 » 05 Mar 2016 00:25

Hi there. It's hard to tell but it looks like the men are carrying Martinis, by the silhouette at the muzzle. It seems to look like a socket bayonet vs the sword on the Lee Metford.
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby armagh444 » 05 Mar 2016 15:30

Thanks so much folks it would appear you have been able to put some flesh on the bones of this photo.However if would be great to determine a regiment .who knows something might surface .. kind regards armagh444
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby jf42 » 05 Mar 2016 16:01

This is not my AOE but the decoration on the officers' cuffs I believe is specific to the 1890s. I also think the helmets indicate the earlier profile following the adoption of the Home Service helmet in 1878. I have been wrong about that before.

The site of the battalion parade is clearly one of the larger regional garrisons. Identifying that location will go someway to identifying the regiment and the date.

A quick, unscientific survey of photos of Aldershot and Colchester from the 1890s haven't turned up a match; nor did Plymouth and Portsmouth.
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby Stuart_Bates » 07 Mar 2016 00:50

The photo is indeed reversed as is also evidenced by the chinchain on the helmets being hooked up right to left.

A good hi-res scan of a helmet plate and collar dogs may provide useful information.

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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby jf42 » 07 Mar 2016 10:06

Regarding the civilians in the photo, I think "a wealthy background" might be overstating the case somewhat.

Although we can see one silk hat and frock coat bottom left, there is a certain informality about the group, the mix of civilians (or men in civilian clothing) and officers, the light country suits worn by most of the former, and a couple of raffish straw 'boaters' (indicating the season)- all of which raise questions about the nature of the occasion and the relationship between the men in uniform and the men in mufti.

The exact social status of the latter is not clear. My impression is that they are not local dignitaries, burghers or leading tradesmen. Could they be officers in mufti? I suspect not, at least not regulars, but there is a sense of familiarity, of something in common. Could this be a militia battalion that has just been embodied as a volunteer battalion of the new 'local' regiment created by the Childers reforms in 1881, with former members joining existing officers for an informal group portrait? There may be uniform details that contradict that suggestion but is it possible?
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby armagh444 » 07 Mar 2016 11:18

Thanks so much folks. I continue to beaver away at the identification of these two photos and i take on board everything you have said .With a fair wind at some stage an answer will surface. any further information will be gratefully acknowledged . regards armagh444
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby jf42 » 07 Mar 2016 13:02

Postscript.

There are two battalions represented here, with two sets of colours at the back of the group. Alternatively, the ceremony shown in the upper 'wide shot' might have been the presentation of new colours to a single battalion. There is a group of people, obscured by the perspex ruler, which could be masking a drum head altar. (Intriguingly, it seems that some of our light-suited friends from the lower photo might be in that group).

There are 22 officers present that I can count. That would suggest only one battalion is present. Five are wearing a single medal, which might offer a clue, and suggests that these are regulars after all

Otherwise the two sets of colours might represent two battalions of the same regiment. The tunics have the same dark facings. Yellow facings that have come out black due to photographic process of the day, cannot be ruled out but I am not sure what to make of the shade of the regimental colours, which would be of the facing colour. Oddly there seems to be only one Union flag Queen's Colour visible, but that must be a trick of the light and the way the other Queen's colour is folded.

It's worth observing perhaps that the collar dogs do not seem to be identical in form on every officer. However, given the resolution, that can hardly be relied on. As Stuart says, a better resolution image will help narrow down the possibilities.
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby rd72 » 07 Mar 2016 23:08

In looking at the parade photo, the pouches at the small of the men's backs seems to be rather large... Indicating '82 pattern equipment in review order, placing it in the mid-to-late 1880s? Not being very well versed on the swords of the era, maybe the hilts of those visible in the foreground of the group shot might lend some clarity.
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby jf42 » 07 Mar 2016 23:39

If these aren't Regulars (the medals aside), would the '82 equipment and Martini-Henrys ( if that's what we're looking at) indicate a later set of dates?
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby rd72 » 07 Mar 2016 23:53

jf,

Good point. I would suppose that it would be no later than 1896 as they are using the pre '96 "Shoulder" and "Advance"... In looking at the few pictures of post '96, Martini-armed troops I have seen, (and I only mention this as food for thought/speculation) it would seem that the "new" drill was adopted by all troops regardless of what they were armed with...

For example, here at the 14 sec mark... The rear rank of these Indian Troops is at the slope with the rifle flat on shoulder, as per the position used wit the Lee Metford. Albeit from a lot later (they are armed with Martini Metfords/Enfields as is evidenced by the socket bayonet mounted directly under the barrel instead of at it's side) it does show the concept of adopting the latest drill for older weapons.

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Rob
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby jf42 » 08 Mar 2016 08:33

Fascinating footage- !
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby rd72 » 09 Mar 2016 16:49

I agree. I came across it while hunting for some moving picture showing Victorian drill... There are some examples out there... I found this one to be particular exemplary as it shows the "Charge" as per the book...
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Rob
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Re: Victorian military group photo, can't identify, HELP

Postby jf42 » 09 Mar 2016 19:54

Yes, I enjoyed 'The Charge', including the quiet professionallism as they went back to starting positions for the 'wide shot'.

I also liked the 30-second sequence around the 7 minute mark, of the troops disembarking- a Rifle regiment?-in their bush hats and great coats, not a combination you see often, coming from the South African summer to a chilly homecoming in Blighty. The faces register a wide variety of experience and emotions.
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