RDMR

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RDMR

Postby Scotshot » 01 Jul 2015 11:29

Does anyone know what the initials RDMR stand for?
I have a British contract Greene carbine with the initials RDMR stamped on the butt. This arm would have been issued sometime between 1857 and 1861, for trials. I am aware of a volunteer unit known as the Riversdale Mounted Rifles but was hoping that they were also known as Riversdale District Mounted Rifles. I visited Riversdale last year but could find no records. I was told that the records from this period were sent to Cape Town but in Cape Town I was told they had been 'lost'.
Any help with identifying this unit would be most appreciated.
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Re: RDMR

Postby Mark » 01 Jul 2015 16:06

The DMR does sound like it stands for District Mounted Rifles, but I think for Riversdale district they were known as the Riversdale District Mounted Troops. There was also a Robertson's District Mounted Troops.

Are there any other districts in Victorian South Africa beginning with an R?

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Re: RDMR

Postby Scotshot » 01 Jul 2015 17:54

Thanks Mark,
Both the Riversdale District Mounted Troops and the Robertson District Mounted Troops are later. They were raised for the 2nd Boer War, as far as I can determine.
My carbine was taken into The Tower around 1857-58 and had been issued by 1861, so the unit in question would have been active during this 5-year period. In 1861, there was a proposal to issue the remaining Greene carbines to the Cape Mounted Rifles, if suitable ammunition could be developed. This never happened but the fact that the Cape Mounted Rifles were suggested suggests that there could have been previous use of the Greene in that region.
As far as I can determine, the Riversdale Mounted Rifles only amounted to 50 or 60 troopers and the unit was only in existence for a few years before it was incorporated into the Cape Mounted Rifles. Finding actual records, as opposed to mentions in books, is not easy. I was hoping someone on this forum may have information on these small, short-lived volunteer units.
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Re: RDMR

Postby RobD » 02 Jul 2015 09:19

I hadn't come across a Greene carbine in SA before, so I asked a pal who is an expert on SA volunteer units, and he replies as follows:

" I would ... hesitate to emphatically deny that the Greene was ever officially issued in the Cape. However, I have found no mention that such a carbine ever featured. We need to bear in mind that South Africa was the commercially profitable dumping ground of firearms that nobody else wanted. It also spawned quite a few fly-by-night volunteer units which quickly faded away once the initial enthusiasm was lost. I would place the Riversdale Mounted Rifles in that category. It is possible that upon formation those who constituted the R.M.R. privately purchased some Greene carbines, but I very much doubt that they were ever issued to them by the Cape Government. To my experience the Cape Government (unlike Natal) was extremely thorough in marking its rifles. If officially issued I would thus expect it to also have one of the Cape Government markings."

The markings in question would be C^G or a crowned 3
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Re: RDMR

Postby RobD » 02 Jul 2015 11:37

There's more good information:
"...There is another marking which definitely indicates Cape Government property. That is “K.T.” I have military archival proof of this. Unfortunately, the document concerned does not indicate what K.T. actually stands for. One theory is that it is King Williams Town. This could be correct since at one stage it contained a large military base.
The exact significance of the “crowned 3” is uncertain. It is very frequently found on commercially manufactured firearms that also bear Cape Government markings. My theory is that it represents inspection on behalf of the Crown Agent.
The marking thoroughness of the Cape Government is clearly indicated on a commercial Mk.II Pattern Martini Henry in my collection. On the butt it is stamped G.F.M.R. which stands for Great Fish Mounted Rifles. This unit was so obscure that it is not even mentioned by Tylden and I have only ever come across one reference to it. But, sure enough, it bears a Cape Government marks. (K.T. , C/l\G and also the Crowned 3 !)..."
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Re: RDMR

Postby Scotshot » 07 Jul 2015 10:06

Thanks Rob,
There are two possibilities: 1) The Greene carbines held in the Tower Armouries were issued for trials to a unit called the RDMR; then returned and sold out of service. 2) The carbines were sold out of service and purchased by someone who stamped them RDMR.
As I know of two carbines stamped RDMR, I think the former is correct. The sold out of service stamp on my carbine is slightly different from that on unissued carbines that were sold straight from the Tower.
Unfortunately, there are none of the Cape Government stamps on the carbine. The approval stamp is a Crown over 5 and appears on the patch box, breech and barrel. This makes it unlikely that RDMR is Riversdale, so I'll look elsewhere. I'll try to attach a photo of the markings.
Thanks again for the useful information,
Ian
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Re: RDMR

Postby Viclav » 08 Sep 2016 19:56

A friend of mine also has a RDMR marked Greene. Having heard that the initials might signify Royal Durban Mounted Rifles, I did some online trolling and came up with something that might be of interest:

books.google.com/books?id=9g9LAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA588&lpg=PA588&dq=Royal+Durban+Mounted+Rangers&source=bl&ots=52bVAaPhlI&sig=rFuBy_tjfu_hrpVzjhiwZhaAJUs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQwqD6pOzOAhVBmx4KHY1nDnUQ6AEIRDAI#v=onepage&q=Royal%20Durban%20Mounted%20Rangers&f=false

As the author talks about the subsequent establishment of a foot unit, we might imagine someone adding M for "Mounted" when stamping the armament... described as obsolete government cast-offs and, perhaps more significantly, difficult to load.

Not definitive, but plausible?


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