Canteens & Waterbottles

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Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby HMS Troutbridge » 30 Nov 2016 19:09

Interested in canteens used by the Royal Navy during the Victorian era.

I have details of the naval issue Oliver water bottle and prior to this use of the Italian pattern, the carriage of which seems to have mirrored that of the army, moving from a separate carrier with shoulder strap to a carrier which attached to the belt in the 1880s.

Prior to the introduction of the Italian Pattern I would assume that supplies of the round wooden canteen first introduced in 1793 would have been provided?

Any further details very much appreciated!
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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby mike snook » 30 Nov 2016 20:30

I'm not aware of a belt mounted waterbottle being used in the 1880s..(at least I don't think I am...no, can't think of one!). In the P1871 Valise kit and subsequent editions thereof it was carried on a shoulder strap as you know. In the P1888 Slade-Wallace kit, which succeeded the last edition of P1871,...ditto...shoulder strap job.

There are earlier 'unofficials' (all on straps) such as...

Glass soda bottles in a wicker carrier were pressed into service in India at the time of the Mutiny (prior to which the campaign season had traditionally been in the winter, when units got by, with the help of civilian bhistis, carrying water about for the troops in water skins....in large part because Indian troops wouldn't carry their own water for caste reasons. Units arriving at Calcutta from the deferred China expedition of 1857 or from the Home Army came with the official B.O. waterbottle described at the bottom. Not too sure what the Naval Brigade used If anything - might have been provided with bhistis).

The 7th DG used non-issue 'calabashes' in South Africa in the 7th Cape Frontier War of 1846-7. These were generally attached to the saddlery not the person.

There will be other such examples no doubt.

But the most frequently seen official waterbottle was the round blue-grey Board of Ordnance one you describe, which ran throughout the Napoleonic era and on to the Crimea, Mutiny, 2nd China War, 2nd Anglo-Maori War, etc.

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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby tabony » 30 Nov 2016 21:34

I believe it was the first pattern of water bottle carrier, for 1882 valise equipment, that was clipped directly to the belt. By 1885 it was replaced by the earlier (1874?) pattern.

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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby mike snook » 30 Nov 2016 21:59

http://thediehards.co.uk/articles/article-1/

This one I'm guessing you mean Martin?

Looks like a daft idea to me! That one had evaded me.

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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby HMS Troutbridge » 30 Nov 2016 22:37

Thanks for the info Mike, I had heard of the soda bottles in India, I can only imagine the round BO type canteens must have been particularly bad in hot climates, as I say I am simply assuming it must have been used when canteens were deemed necessary, whether the Admiralty had their own supplies or drew them from BO stocks as necessary when going ashore would be another question.

Interesting point about the bhistis in India, something I had not come across before.

Regarding the belt carrier for the bottle Martin's right I was referring to the 1882 type, you can see the naval equivalent here.

braces.jpg
braces.jpg (74.16 KiB) Viewed 592 times

The carrier doesn't seem to have been withdrawn from RN use and was later redesigned to carry the round enamel 'Oliver' waterbottle when it came into use.
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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby HMS Troutbridge » 30 Nov 2016 22:58

The Australian War Memorial collection includes what I believe to be one of the Italian bottle carriers https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/REL26333.007

Image


The updated design for the Oliver can be seen here.

1890 small.jpg
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Last edited by HMS Troutbridge on 01 Dec 2016 13:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby Peter » 01 Dec 2016 03:58

Troutbridge,

The Austrlain War Memorial collection includes ...


Oh, my goodness.

To remove any further confusion, please be advised the “The Austrlain War Memorial” is not surrounded at its national borders by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby mike snook » 01 Dec 2016 12:36

T

I did not mean you to imply that BO waterbottles were no good in hot climates (if I read you correctly). It is simply that India was run by the East India Company, not by the Crown or the Home Army. The BO waterbottle gave good service all over the world, but the EIC relied for its logistics on huge armies of camp followers - believe it or not this could in earlier and rather more extreme examples run to several thousand to the regiment - so there was never a shortage of water carriers. As I understand it the three HEIC Armies just didn't use waterbottles, because the typically brahmin sepoys/sowars didn't want them and wouldn't have them for caste reasons. Each company had bhistis running about from man to man with their skins. The central supply was carried in larger skins ferried around by the company water bullock. For the European troops this was not tenable during the Mutiny, because it started at the height of summer, in really extreme temperatures. It was this led to the adoption of soda bottles - not ideal obviously. Even so, in the early days at least, during some of the heaviest fighting, there was only the bhisti system. It is to this that I would attribute so many fatal cases of 'sunstroke' - caused in very large part, in contemporary terms, by dehydration, which of course accelerates with physical activity. The China expedition was mounted by the Home Army, so when the troops were diverted to Calcutta they went ashore with BO waterbottles, which, as far as I know, proved perfectly adequate. Many things changed after 1857-8, including practice in respect of waterbottles!

Nice photo of those Tars...I wouldn't argue with them.

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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby HMS Troutbridge » 01 Dec 2016 13:23

Peter wrote:Troutbridge,

The Austrlain War Memorial collection includes ...


Oh, my goodness.

To remove any further confusion, please be advised the “The Austrlain War Memorial” is not surrounded at its national borders by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Regards,


Fixed! :lol:
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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby HMS Troutbridge » 01 Dec 2016 13:26

Thanks for all the info Mike, very interesting reading, I had read elsewhere of problems with the water turning foetid in the BO waterbottles though this was purely anecdotal and I had posited this would be worse in hot climates, thanks for the clarification!
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Re: Canteens & Waterbottles

Postby mike snook » 01 Dec 2016 16:53

T

Well I suppose that could well be the case with an aged and degrading wooden waterbottle that was well past a reasonable shelf life, but I have not myself come across such remarks in my reading. That's more to do with ordnance stores maintenance and management, than an issue with the item of kit per se I would have thought.

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