British Units Photographed in Natal

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British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 09 Mar 2012 08:52

Some interesting pics dating from the First War of Independance/Transvaal War that comes from the collection of the Fort Amiel Museum at Newcastel in KwaZulu-Natal:

Image
3/60th Rifles

Image
92nd Highlanders in Khaki (but still wearing old pouches and cross belts).

Any ideas when these pics were taken? Both units were in action at Majuba. Were these the survivors?
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby roconn » 09 Mar 2012 22:44

Burger:
Good photos indeed -- It is amazing how clearly the the 93rd tunics stand out as compared to the dark green tunics of the 3/60th.
Would you not think these were prior to Majuba as the ranks would have been thinned by casualties? Just a guess.

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby jf42 » 10 Mar 2012 01:14

I am intrigued. I was aware that in 1882 troops from India arrived in Egypt with local khaki drill service clothing- the 72nd for instance- but I didn't wasn't aware that a battalion such as the 92nd posted to Natal might also have arrived wearing Indian-khaki.

I am bound to ask are those frocks khaki or simply standard white tropical clothing that has seen better days? Perhaps it's to do with the contrast in the photo but it looks to me as if they might have been better off wearing their red frocks in the field. Perhaps they did!
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Brett Hendey » 10 Mar 2012 06:06

Burgher

These photos are new to me. Thank you for posting them. It makes me wonder what else is kept in KwaZulu-Natal's smaller museums and in the KZN Museum Service headquarters in Pietermaritzburg?

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 13 Mar 2012 14:56

JF42, the 92nd were the first unit (arriving from India) to wear khaki in South Africa. They also still had the older pouch equipment and not the latest 1871 Valice equipment.

Although khaki might be a good form of camouflage in the Indian desert, it shows up white in the much greener fields on Natal. This I have personally seen during a skirmish a few years back between our re-enactment group and the 17th Lancer Display Troop in the Biggarsberg range. We Boers were waitig in ambush on the ridge and could see the Lancers coming towards us for several miles. Especially the khaki covers on their pith helmets were like bright beacon lights in the sharp Natal sun!

http://www.whitesmoke.co.za/powwow/view ... 005e9c4857
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby almaboy » 04 Apr 2012 13:52

Burgher, cracking post. Any chance of a date for these photos?

They both look as if they are arranged by companies, Possibly HQ and Band members in the foreground, followed by the 8 Service Companies.

If I had to guess, I would say these are post-Majuba, as I can't imagine either Regt finding the time to pose for photos prior to this. Be really nice to bre proved wrong though!

Also interesting to note that the 92nd appear to have 'long' slings fitted to their Martinis. That is to say that the sling attaches to a swivel loop on the underside of the butt rather than to the one fitted to the front of the trigger guard. I was under the impression that this was peculiar to Rifle Regiments only.

Any thoughts anyone?

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Isandlwana » 05 Apr 2012 09:13

Tony,

If you are referring to the men at the front of the 92nd's group, they are the Battalion's Pioneers and those are axes rather than Martini-Henrys.

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby almaboy » 05 Apr 2012 13:28

Ha! Should have gone to Specsavers....... :oops:

Thanks for pointing that out John, that makes perfect sense. Shot my theory down in flames, I have a Mk2 Martini, with many features left over from the Mk1 still on the gun. That includes a rear sling swivel on the butt, and I wondered if this was an original feature or a specific fit for certain regiments. I thought this photo might have proved the theory!

As an aside, I have an Afghan medal to a 92nd man who was at Majuba. This photo is a real bonus as I guess he's on there somewhere, staring back at me......

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 10 Apr 2012 11:53

Hi

Unfortunately I don't know the exact date. My guess was also somewhere post Feb 1881.

The lower sling swivel on the MH was omitted at some stage for all services except the Rifle Regiments - I saw a listing to this effect in the List of Changes a few days ago. Will see if I can find it again...
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 20 Apr 2012 06:33

List of changes no. 3193 of 25 April 1877 (the introduction of the Martini-Henry Mk II) mentions right at the end that the lower butt swivel had been abolished in March 1875 for all services except the Rifle Regiments.
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby almaboy » 20 Apr 2012 13:27

Burgher,

many thanks for that. Extremely useful in helping me date the rifle, and obtaining the correct coloured sling!

I don't suppose there are any photos relating to the 58th Regt in the Museum are there? Images of them are few and far between, which is a pity as they suffered badly during their time in the Transvaal. I should have thought someone would have taken some pictures post-Majuba.

Once again, thankyou for taking the trouble to post that little snippet.

Kind Regards Tony.
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Isandlwana » 22 Apr 2012 21:38

Tony,

I've got some 58th officers & other-ranks in my collection, are you looking for someone in particular?

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby almaboy » 23 Apr 2012 11:15

Hi John,

I'm not after anybody in a particular, I would be happy with just a nice picture of the period. The 58th have a special place in my heart as I am a Rutlander born and bred!

I have several medals to men of the 58th who fought in the Transvaal, so any pictures would be a wonderful bonus.

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 06 Mar 2013 15:08

I have been reading up a bit on the subject as I would love to assemble a Gordons outfit from Majuba. The Osprey work on the subject states that the Gordons wore white fatigues that were dyed khaki, which explains why they appear so light on the photo above. Does anyone have detail on these white fatigue uniforms? What were they made of? Were they perhaps similar to the frocks worn by other units? They don't seem to have had any pockets on the front.
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Frogsmile » 06 Mar 2013 21:43

Burgher wrote:I have been reading up a bit on the subject as I would love to assemble a Gordons outfit from Majuba. The Osprey work on the subject states that the Gordons wore white fatigues that were dyed khaki, which explains why they appear so light on the photo above. Does anyone have detail on these white fatigue uniforms? What were they made of? Were they perhaps similar to the frocks worn by other units? They don't seem to have had any pockets on the front.


According to Ian Hamilton, who was the CO and who had transferred in to his father's regiment from the Suffolks (12th Regt), the 92nd wore their 5-button white drill frocks dyed under regimental arrangements with tea. This would explain the poor results. The jacket had no pockets and seems to have been based on the design of the simple red frock with the single cuff loop of white piping, a photo of which I posted in answer to a query about 1878 foreign service frocks (the first Indian Pattern frock was also similar). It had a curved bottom edge and was later dyed chemically using a patented, colourfast dye produced in Britain and became the first 'issued' khaki.
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