British Units Photographed in Natal

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 13 Mar 2013 09:03

Frogsmile, thanks for the confirmation. Excellent as always!

Would this be the regimental button worn before the 1881 reforms?
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Frogsmile » 13 Mar 2013 11:24

Burgher wrote:Frogsmile, thanks for the confirmation. Excellent as always!

Would this be the regimental button worn before the 1881 reforms?


I think that you probably have the officers pre-1881 version there Burgher. The other ranks button pre 1881 had no crown. See enclosed images.

Also, with regard to the khaki drill frock, the rear configuration had a form of so-called 'patrol seams', which comprised two seams, one on each side that followed the natural line of the shoulder, tapering to the waist, flaring a little again in the skirts and generally ending in two shallow vents at each side to facilitate movement.
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 13 Mar 2013 14:14

Any pics of the back available?
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 13 Mar 2013 14:15

I then also guess these are the post 1881 regimental buttons?
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Frogsmile » 13 Mar 2013 18:40

Burgher wrote:Any pics of the back available?


I could not find the exact jacket type, but the enclosed image serves to show the appearance of the distinctive 'patrol seams'.
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Frogsmile » 13 Mar 2013 18:41

Burgher wrote:I then also guess these are the post 1881 regimental buttons?


Yes, those are the post 1881 design. The emblems refer to their forebears, the Indian Tiger of the 75th and the Egypt Sphinx of the 92nd.
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 14 Mar 2013 07:49

Thanks for clearing that up Frosmile.
Any idea what waterbottle they were carrying at Majuba?
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Frogsmile » 14 Mar 2013 12:16

Burgher wrote:Thanks for clearing that up Frosmile. Attached two artworks from Osprey's "Majuba 1881" and "Boer Wars 1":


Any idea what waterbottle they were carrying at Majuba?


Evocative artwork.

I believe that they were still using the 1873 Patt Italian Water Bottle. You can see some images in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1383

The bottle is reproduced for reenactors, as it was also used in the Zulu wars.
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 14 Mar 2013 15:27

It seems to be the same as the bottle shown in this post:

viewtopic.php?f=73&t=7528
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Frogsmile » 14 Mar 2013 16:53

Burgher wrote:It seems to be the same as the bottle shown in this post:

viewtopic.php?f=73&t=7528


No I don't think so. It seems that the 72nd were still using the old 'knapsack equipment' and its associated leather covered bottle. The Italian pattern (aka Oliver Patt in some pubs) was made of wood and bound with metal, rather like a small barrel. It appears to have been used until the 1882 pattern Valise equipment was issued.
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby mike snook » 14 Mar 2013 20:38

Dear Burgher

Without wishing to spoil your enjoyment in any way that's in copyright artwork belonging to somebody else and hence isn't permissible. Could I ask to you to take it down please. Sorry to be a killjoy but the law is the law. I appreciate you are in Bloom but VWF operates under UK copyright law.

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 18 Mar 2013 13:16

Mike, done. Sorry.

Frogsmile, the Osprey work show the Gordons with the same leather covered bottle that is carried by the 72nd toy soldier. Since the Gordons climed Majuba with the same old cross belt and expense pouche type equipment as the 72nd I guess they would have carried the old leather covered bottle as well?

Was this an official issue bottle? I have never come across one before...
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Frogsmile » 20 Mar 2013 16:52

Burgher wrote:Mike, done. Sorry.

Frogsmile, the Osprey work show the Gordons with the same leather covered bottle that is carried by the 72nd toy soldier. Since the Gordons climed Majuba with the same old cross belt and expense pouche type equipment as the 72nd I guess they would have carried the old leather covered bottle as well?

Was this an official issue bottle? I have never come across one before...


I think the bottle must have been locally acquired (or perhaps was from India). The official 'canteens' (as they were known at that time) for that period were the Italian/Oliver pattern that I have shown you and in use since 1870. The Italian type was replaced by an oval bottle of enamelled metal in 1888 as part of the Slade Wallace equipment. Before 1870 the circular wooden type that had been in service in various forms since the 18th C was the standard issue.

It is worthy of note that for a long time the canteen was not considered an integral part of a man's equipment and so it was procured separately and stored as camp equipment (and thus belonging to the Board of Ordnance, rather than the War Department) that was only issued when a man departed on campaign. Any water requirements for training were produced from a well or towed water cart and each man used a mug or cup to take his fill.

Interestingly almost all the stocks of the pre 1870 round wooden bottles, last used in the Crimea (and even then not all the stocks), were sold to the Americans (both sides) for their civil war of the 1860s. Aren't our treasury officials wonderful people.
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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby mike snook » 21 Mar 2013 02:12

Thanks Burgher.

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Re: British Units Photographed in Natal

Postby Burgher » 04 Apr 2013 07:27

Frogsmile, I got the following info on the Gordons water bottle from Osprey 198 "The British Army on Campaign (3) 1856-1881", p19:

"There is no evidence of the latter (the old blue painted round wooden canteen) being issued in India, where, from the Mutiny onwards, a soda-water bottle covered in cloth, leather or buckram was used, even after the Oliver Type's introduction."

Elsewhere in the book the "buckram-covered Indian water bottle" is shown carried by the 33rd in Abyssinia in 1868, the 59th in Afghanistan in 1879 and of course the Gordons at Majuba in 1881.

As illustrated in this book they seem to have been made of the round or "torpedo" bottomed type of soda bottle (http://www.sha.org/bottle/Bases/torpedo.jpg) with a leather cup fitting over the bottle top. The 72nd regiment toy soldier and the drawing in Osprey's "Majuba" work on the other hand shows more of a flask shaped bottle.
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