mewafarosh

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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 14 Aug 2014 22:18

What do you make of this chap? I observe concealed sword bayonet and visible kukri, with Brunswick Rifle and 60-round ammo pouch. I wouldn't call that a kurta, but I wouldn't ordinarily term it a 'tunic' either. It has red piping at cuffs and shoulder straps, is a field dress and I reckon the red piping makes it in that archetypal Guides dust-brown colour. Whether or not it might be Lumsden's English cloth I could not say. Turban in the same colour as coat and 'pyjama' trousers I reckon.

M
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 14 Aug 2014 22:33

Here for interest is one Ram Singh, Sikh obviously, a dafadar of the mewafarosh 1st Punjab Cavalry after Mr Daly had uniformed them. Clearly they weren't all Afghans! If I'm now looking at a blue alkaluk, then I would guess that's a red chest trim. Lord knows what that is hanging from his carbine sling. Am I seeing a double barrelled weapon with improvised cloth/skin hand-guard? Seems improbable. Dunno.

M
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 15 Aug 2014 19:45

Great images although frustrating not to have them in colour. Certainly, the Nepalese sepoy gives a good impression of what I imagine the outline of the Guides field uniform to have been. I can't comment on the difadar of the 1st Punjab Cavalry, the decoration of his shoulder belt or the nature of his weapon.

To help fill out the general picture, I'll take this opportunity to post a couple of photos I have been meaning to put up for a while. They are both from the Mutiny period but show the outline of native field dress we can reasonably assume were worn by these and similar units since their formation in the Punjab a few years earlier.

15th Punjab1857.jpg
15th Punjab1857.jpg (85.52 KiB) Viewed 805 times


Punjabi sappers 1858.jpg
Punjabi sappers 1858.jpg (49.89 KiB) Viewed 805 times


These excerpts from Harry Lumsden's notes from 1861 - ''Frontier Thoughts and Frontier Circumstances' - casts some light on a practice doubtless established in the early years of the Guides and which appears to have held good some fifteen years later.

"EXPEDITIONS

[Point 14th]

In the Punjab Force it is customary to allow men on service to wear their native pyjamas, provided they are dyed the colour of their uniform; this practice eases the fatigue of working on a hillside considerably, and is looked on as a great boon by the men."

(Lumsden of the Guides 1899, p.308)

Earlier, in 'Point 5th' Lumsden counselled provision of "Clothing according to the season, but especially warm night work in a hill climate and such as affords protection against wet- a choga [WOOL COAT/CLOAK] and poshteen, besides cloth coat (Cloth pantaloons are useless, for the men cannot go uphill in them)."

In relation to this present discussion, I think they are particularly helpful in indicating the relationship between the formal uniform chosen by Lumsden and Hodson for the Guides and the field uniform that was adapted from local clothing.

As far as indigo is concerned, I am not familiar with the references under discussion. I read recently that blue was apparently a particularly favoured colour among the Pathans. I think the observation about Coke's Rifles' uniforms looking particularly black at a distance a fair one and it ocurrs to me that the issue of unsatisfactory green dye might well be an extrapolation made by the writer of the 1953 JSAHR article, linking the nickname 'siah posh' with the perennial problems experienced by HM's Rifle regiments with their home service Rifle Green.
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 15 Aug 2014 22:18

jf (and of course entirely open to comment from anybody....not a private conversation by any means)

I'm always very suspicious (I think with good reason) of photograph captions addressing subjects from the Victorian era. It gets worse all the time in the age of the internet of course. It's only a matter of time before we see a picture of Sir Garnet captioned as a Cardinal! But even some national collections have some pretty spurious captions assigned to original items in their respective collections. You can have a lot of fun with the photographic captions, or indeed real life sign-boards, on artillery pieces in particular. There was a bloody great gun I looked at the other day, with an ornately carved serpent or dragon, wriggling along the top of its carriage, as well as creeping creatures engraved all over the barrel, which somebody had labelled 'British 9-pounder c 1807 (or such like). I nearly drowned my keyboard in coffee. So against that background....

On a too good true to be basis, I'd be a bit wary of putting an 1857 date on that 15th Punjab photo, (newly raised in that year, initially as a pioneer regiment, as I understand it), because I've also seen it dated...I think either 1860 or 1861, by which time they weren't pioneers. And if it is 1857, with the army concentrated in field forces, why didn't such a good photographer with such a good camera walk round the camp and photograph everybody else I ask myself. He would have, I fancy, requiring this shot alone to have survived by fluke, unless that is it's actually part of the Beato set, which would put it....what....mid to late 1858 at the earliest. Personally though, I don't associate it with Beato (happy to be corrected). The chaps, whilst encamped, and at the very least on some sort of demonstration or annual manoeuvres, are also a little too neat and tidy, to my mind, for wartime conditions,(which the Beato photos were not...close, but definitely post-fighting in the Lucknow area at least).

I question too, (for our collective benefit you understand, not to be an a***), the use of the plural on the 'Punjabi Sappers' shot, and indeed happily recognise that you, jf, or somebody else, might well have originally captioned it in the sense of a generic name of the troop type, intending it only to apply to the man (clearly uniformed) on the left. I don't know if you've seen the full width photo, but to the right of those two bods are three other figures. Two of them are rather camply turned out mathlockmen, after the fashion of the mufti-clad bloke above, while the fifth, seated figure, who has a huge turban, looks to me to be a uniformed 'native' officer of the same unit as the uniformed chap on display here. Whether they are indeed 'Punjabi sappers' (as in Sappers & Miners), two of whom are uniformed and three of whom haven't got any kit, I wouldn't particularly like to underwrite with my pension. I see a cap pouch, a 60-round ammo pouch and... I don't know...is that a sash of some kind? He has trousers on, not pyjamas, as do the men of the 15th Punjab. The weapons in the two photos are interesting me. I see the little brass fitting, (which looks like a lever but obviously isn't), to the rear of the trigger guard, which I would Immediately associate with the Brunswick...but heck I don't know...they don't look like Brunswicks to me, or at least not the pattern one normally sees and associates with the Mutiny period. I don't think that there was ever a later mark. Missing entirely is the large brass plate normally running along the side of the Brunswick's stock. I'm hopeless on those odd artillery and engineer carbines/rifles which started creeping in, but are they perhaps one of those? To bewilder me further, I reckon the length of barrel in the 15th Punjab is not consistent. Surely the standing guy on the right is holding something of percussion musket length, rather than the similar but not identical rifle-length item, (as in pre-Enfield length rifle), in the hands of the seated figures.

I'm more inclined to think of the early field uniform of the Guides (and other PIF infantry) as not like these, but as a local kurta, which is to say an item without buttons, (save perhaps at the upper chest and throat), which went on over the head, smock fashion. In other words something a bit more rough and ready which would pre-date by a handful of years the more formal button up items with shoulder straps we see in these images. Don't ask me to prove it though! I don't think I would be able to. More a hunch based on sniffing about a lot, I guess, than anything else. It's interesting that my Gurkha chap (who I can't date to anything tighter than 1851-1860-ish, and even that's only my own estimate), appears to have concealed buttons, whilst the 15th lads have visible buttons, but that apart it looks to be broadly the same item or general pattern. The 15th don't look to have any sort of problem with consistency of colour, I note, albeit in less than helpful black and white!

If in the after life I ever get my hands on that Beato bloke, I'll want to know why he was so damned slow getting into the field and, where the hell were all his photographer mates, like good old Fenton?! Ah well...perhaps we should console ourselves with the thought that somewhere on this planet there is an untouched draw or a cupboard with a stack of crystal clear photographs of the mid-nineteenth century military on campaign in India.

Hey ho. All observations welcome.

As ever

M
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby rd72 » 16 Aug 2014 02:27

Hi all,

I am not an expert but I feel that the weapon in the hand of the Sapper on the left of the lower image is this one....

Image

The EIC Sapper's and Miner's Carbine.... It is definitely not a Brunswick...

The weapon in the hands of the right hand man in the former picture is a Pattern "F" EIC Musket. The man seated beside him has what also appears to be a carbine of the above pattern....

Image

The Sgt's seem to be armed with the EIC Sergeant's Carbine...

If you would like to see these "in action" and have the time and/or inclination, here is a video of them being shot... albeit with "target" loads.... @ 1:35, 9:30 and 13:46...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuoi9kjW-sQ

Not an exhaustive addition but maybe will provide some clarification... If you like I can ask more expert individuals to comment on the weapons?..
Cheers,
Rob
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 16 Aug 2014 10:36

Yes Rob...good one....that certainly looks like a match and also serves to validate the 'Punjabi sapper' attribution on the left hand of the pair.

The sgts are cpls though, which is not to say they wouldn't have acquired weapons nominally for sgts.

Are there any dates associated with the introduction of the sappers and miners carbine? Going to be tough to tell the difference between 1857 and 1860/1, and be certain, but a definite date of first manufacture for such a weapon might throw some light. I'll see what I can find out about 15th Sikhs being roled as pioneers and re-roled as infantry.

I attach the full width picture so we can see what I think is an officer fellow, together with the more improbable types. I sense this picture has a back-story which would be very interesting. I just don't know what it is. Who, where, when and why? The date 1857-60 in the caption is my guesstimate only.

M
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Punjabi 'Sappers & Miners' (left and offr std) (ques) plus matchlockmen (ques) 1857-60.jpg
Punjabi 'Sappers & Miners' (left and offr std) (ques) plus matchlockmen (ques) 1857-60.jpg (197.76 KiB) Viewed 793 times
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 16 Aug 2014 10:46

Mike, I agree entirely with the issue of captioning round this period and can only acknowledge the detailed 'critique' (always wondered when I might have cause to use that word) of the images I posted. I am pleased to see them set in an informed context. Surely the-(misdated)- '15th Punjabi' group couldn't be by Beato: it's too well composed! How I came to caption ''Punjabi'- the detail crop of the mixed group of raffish fellows, usually captioned 'Sikh sappers', all I can say is that I had been up since 0500 and it made sense at the time. I did wonder why so many of them were not wearing what we might term 'uniform' but wondered vaguely if this came under the heading 'own clothes.' I was also distracted by having only just come upon Lumsden's notes at the end of his brother's book.

I still think it is useful to see those photos. I did use the word 'outline' advisedly. My main interest was to add concrete images of troops raised in the Punjab to help flesh out the discussion of early uniforms/clothing. It is useful now to be considering details such as the form of the upper garments: button-through or pullover, shoulder straps,facings, etc.; as well as distinguishing, for instance, between trousers and pyjamas/shalwars. If these all help us put dates to pictures- or pictures to dates, it will help take us from the general to the particular, which seems to me to be the best way to reach an accurate account of the process that started with the Guides circa 1846-50.

In the same spirit I'll post this charming image, allegedly of the 18th Punjab Infantry in Delhi from May 1859.

18th Punjab Infantry. Delhi May 1859.jpg
18th Punjab Infantry. Delhi May 1859.jpg (99.23 KiB) Viewed 793 times


I shall have to leave you and Rob to hammer out the details of the weaponry as all I know is which end the bullet is meant to come out of.
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 16 Aug 2014 10:54

While I'm at it, I'm going to pop up two N.O.s of the mewafroshes. Usefully the picture is dated 1852 at bottom right. The chap on the left is called Jal Singh and the chap on the right is called Abed Ali Khan, so Sikh and Muslim respectively. These portrayals were done from life I would venture. So there we go....How Daly and Forbes dressed the officers of 1st Punjab Cavalry. All the right peacock boxes ticked ...certainly for the officers with all that gold up their arms. I suspect that the date 1852 can also be extended to the daffadar shown above.

M
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 16 Aug 2014 10:58

jf,

Very nice indeed sir. Not seen that one before. Lots of things going on with Punjab Infantry regiments being formed, re-designated and disbanded and adopted into the Bengal line etc at exactly that period, so the style very much fits that turbulent period. Going to have to digest that one a bit. Fascinating.

As ever

M
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 16 Aug 2014 11:07

PS

Going to sniff around the hard copy of my images, to see if the 1852 date might not also apply to the Guides Gurkha. Speculative at this stage.

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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 16 Aug 2014 11:24

First thoughts....if we have nothing more concrete to go on...

I think I see a visiting, (or possibly hosting), Sikh dignitary (central) of some kind who is obviously not a member of the regiment, as he is standing like he owns the place....and indeed might well do so! He might for example have played a significant loyalist role, by raising the lads in the Punjab or some such similar thing. He might just be terribly important on a 'political' level. Mixed up with the native officers are some of the boss man's counsellors and retainers. The ones with cross belts are the obvious soldiers.

I say this because the man I take to be the commanding officer, [long beard, possibly one-armed (?) and with an admirably casual approach to the question of uniform (!), (the sword indicating that he does indeed consider himself to be in uniform)], together with the younger man, who might well be the adjutant, have so obviously stepped aside out of deference to this senior and evidently prestigious visitor (or host), which they would not have done were they solely amongst their own officers.

Worth drawing attention to the drainpipe style of pyjama, very popular with the Sikhs at this time (it seems to me) and still seen today, an item which I have definitely tracked down to be part of the dress of the Ferezopore Regiment (one of the earliest Sikh regiments in the British service, which did such distinguished service under Brasyer in Havelock's Allahabad Moveable Column and in and around Lucknow subsequently). These are the items, I believe, which Col Francis Maude VC RA, (Capt Maude at the time), terms 'pantaloons' in his book.

It occurs to me now....if I was to be forced to place a bet....I'd say the big man was the host rather than the visitor. If he was the visitor to the regiment, then surely all the officers (20-30) would be in the photo. If, however, he had invited the CO to 'bring over a few of your officers for lunch' or some such, then this sort of group.... CO, adjutant, a guy at the back who is possibly the only other European in the regiment, the subadar major and a couple more senior subadars....is just what such a regimental delegation might look like. Arguing against this speculative interpretation of course is the attribution to Delhi as a venue which to my mind would say visitor not host.

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Re: mewafarosh

Postby mike snook » 16 Aug 2014 12:15

The more eagle-eyed might be able to read some of this on one of the images I have posted, but the 1st Punjab Cavalry paintings were done by a James Rattray. Both are dated 1852 and one of them has 'Kohat' as the location, which I think we can reasonably safely assume also applies to the sister painting. The Guide Corps chap, whose name was Tooleram, doesn't have a date, location or artist marked. I find it difficult to tell whether stylistically it's another artist altogether, but forced to jump one way or the other I would plump for somebody other than Rattray. I think it unsafe, therefore, to stamp Mr Tooleram with anno domini 1852.

My guess is that the original paintings were, and might still be for all I know, in the hands of the Daly family, as they appear as plates in a biography of General Daly written by his son.


Hmm...'Rattray's Sikhs' rings a bell.

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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 16 Aug 2014 15:42

mike snook wrote:While I'm at it, I'm going to pop up two N.O.s of the mewafroshes. Usefully the picture is dated 1852 at bottom right. The chap on the left is called Jal Singh and the chap on the right is called Abed Ali Khan, so Sikh and Muslim respectively. These portrayals were done from life I would venture. So there we go....How Daly and Forbes dressed the officers of 1st Punjab Cavalry. All the right peacock boxes ticked ...


Very handsome, the pair of them. {EDIT:Jal Singh and Abed Ali Khan}

I meant to raise this point before. I believe it is possible that Lumsden's remark from July 1849: "It won't do to be done by Greens like Coke's Rifles, or Forbes' mewafaroshes" is open to interpretation. Without wanting to get hung up on minutiae of syntax here, I think that Lumsden, writing hastily, could have been listing smart regiments that he wanted to show up and was thinking of a) 'Greens' like Cokes' Rifles, and b) Forbes' mewafaroshes (who were clearly dandy enough without being dressed in green).

A few more images to ponder. W. Carpenter was a prolific recorder of native costume and architecture in the 1850s. Here is detail from a print published in the ILN from 1858 showing 'Native Officers And soldiers in the East India Company`s Service.'
 The figure on the left captioned 'Chief Native Officer of the guide Corps' is Fateh Khan a rissaldar in the Guides cavalry. The man next to him is not captioned but it seems fair to assume from the grouping that he is either a sowar or sepoy of the Guides (Remaining figures, not shown here, are an Afghan cavalry man in the back ground and two members of Skinner's Horse). Are there details of weaponry or other that contradict such an assumption? Does the tulwar make it more likely he is a sowar?

Guides .jpg
Guides .jpg (153.68 KiB) Viewed 789 times


Here is a print of Carpenter's original portrait of Fateh Khan from Younghusband's Story of the Guides

jp024.jpg
jp024.jpg (27.15 KiB) Viewed 789 times


This is a group of infantry and cavalry of the Punjab irregular force, again by W. Carpenter.
Infantry and cavalry of PIF (Carpenter).jpg
Infantry and cavalry of PIF (Carpenter).jpg (89.81 KiB) Viewed 789 times


Meanwhile, I thought these portraits from the NAM website might be of interest re: the mewafarosh uniforms of 1st Punjab Cavalry. The captions are NAM's. Judging from Fane's portrait, the chains appear to be part of a picker set on the cross belt.

Rissaldar Mohubut Khan, bahadur, 2nd Scinde Irrg.Horse, 1852.jpg
Rissaldar Mohubut Khan, bahadur, 2nd Scinde Irrg.Horse, 1852.jpg (148.73 KiB) Viewed 789 times


Lt (later Colonel) Walter Fane, Fane's Horse (later the 19th Regt of Bengal Lancers), 1860 (c).jpg
Lt (later Colonel) Walter Fane, Fane's Horse (later the 19th Regt of Bengal Lancers), 1860 (c).jpg (111.06 KiB) Viewed 789 times


{EDIT: 45th (Rattrays) Sikhs?}
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 16 Aug 2014 17:13

mike snook wrote:First thoughts....if we have nothing more concrete to go on...

I think I see a visiting, (or possibly hosting), Sikh dignitary (central) of some kind who is obviously not a member of the regiment, as he is standing like he owns the place....and indeed might well do so! He might for example have played a significant loyalist role, by raising the lads in the Punjab or some such similar thing. He might just be terribly important on a 'political' level. Mixed up with the native officers are some of the boss man's counsellors and retainers. The ones with cross belts are the obvious soldiers.

I say this because the man I take to be the commanding officer, [long beard, possibly one-armed (?) and with an admirably casual approach to the question of uniform (!), (the sword indicating that he does indeed consider himself to be in uniform)], together with the younger man, who might well be the adjutant, have so obviously stepped aside out of deference to this senior and evidently prestigious visitor (or host), which they would not have done were they solely amongst their own officers.

Worth drawing attention to the drainpipe style of pyjama, very popular with the Sikhs at this time (it seems to me) and still seen today, an item which I have definitely tracked down to be part of the dress of the Ferezopore Regiment (one of the earliest Sikh regiments in the British service, which did such distinguished service under Brasyer in Havelock's Allahabad Moveable Column and in and around Lucknow subsequently). These are the items, I believe, which Col Francis Maude VC RA, (Capt Maude at the time), terms 'pantaloons' in his book.

It occurs to me now....if I was to be forced to place a bet....I'd say the big man was the host rather than the visitor. If he was the visitor to the regiment, then surely all the officers (20-30) would be in the photo. If, however, he had invited the CO to 'bring over a few of your officers for lunch' or some such, then this sort of group.... CO, adjutant, a guy at the back who is possibly the only other European in the regiment, the subadar major and a couple more senior subadars....is just what such a regimental delegation might look like. Arguing against this speculative interpretation of course is the attribution to Delhi as a venue which to my mind would say visitor not host.

M


According to the source of this photograph, A History of the 26th Punjabis, 1857-1923. Stoney, Lt. P.S. (1924), quoted in Wikipedia, the group shows 'British and Indian Officers of the 18th Punjab Infantry, Delhi, May 1859. Captain J Williamson, the Commandant, 2nd from right.'

The regiment was recruited from Pathans, Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs and Dogras. That suggests this occasion dealt with the Sikh element of the regiment only.

Perhaps Captain Williamson's record is to hand somewhere, with information as to whether and, if so, how he lost his right arm.
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Re: mewafarosh

Postby jf42 » 16 Aug 2014 17:27

Expedition No 13 to Sitana Apr- May 1858, under General Sir Sydney J. Cotton

MID (inter al): Lieutenant J. Williamson, Commanding 18th Punjab Infantry

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