Remembered Today:

Muerrisch

KD or Whites in the Mediterranean

26 posts in this topic

ID: 1   Posted (edited)

Recent correspondence on white cotton frocks [NOT Highland and Guards white drill jackets] has turned up the very surprising [to me] fact that Clothing Regs 1894 and 1914 have no provision for other than scarlet frocks/tunics for Cyprus, Gibraltar and Malta.

I was as sure as made no difference that KD at least would be scaled for summer use, as it certainly was for Cyprus when I served there.

 

Please, if Forum members have photos of soldiers on the Med. stations in KD or in whites, would they post?

 

The original posts are of today and yesterday at:

 

Edited by Muerrisch

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ID: 2   Posted (edited)

Khaki drill was prescribed for most men at all overseas stations - three "frocks" (i.e. jackets) and three pairs of trousers. There are various separate tables in the Clothing Regulations for different overseas locations but, with the odd exception such as Sierra Leone where certain other items were issued in lieu of one of the suits of khaki drill, they are all quite similar. Khaki drill was even issued in North China, where the climate was noticeably colder than other stations.

 

Apart from the Guards and Highland regiments, the white "drill jacket" was not worn abroad by 1914 by the Army.

 

When I first acquired a copy of the Clothing Regulations, I spent many happy hours compiling tables of clothing, eventually turning them into spreadsheets.

 

Ron

Edited by Ron Clifton

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ID: 3   Posted (edited)

Ron, so is my copy of 1894 CR in error? It is the Westlake reprint. Part II Section I Cyprus, Gibraltar and Malta, Personal Clothing.

Or is there something I have missed?

Halifax and Nova Scotia and St Helena are also bereft of KD issue according to 1894.

Edited by Muerrisch

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I don't yet have a copy of the 'Home' clothing regulations for 1914, just those for 1894, but in support of this research I have looked in the Government of India clothing regulations for 1904, 1909 and 1914 and all three list frocks, drill white and trousers x3 to be issued at all Indian stations, less Quetta.  It's interesting that the term 'drill' (meaning the heavy cotton twill material) is used, whereas it was not in the 1894 Home CRs.

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ID: 5   Posted (edited)

I don't have a copy of the 1894 Regs but I have just checked my copy of the 1914 Regs which confirms what I have said.

 

It doesn't cover Halifax etc as presumably there were no British garrisons there by 1914. What it does say is that service dress jackets and trousers were issued for "Malta, Gibraltar, Egypt and South Africa only", i.e. not for the Far East or Jamaica. I think that troops in Cyprus may have come under Egypt for these purposes but they are not listed separately. Certain service dress items, including a lined jacket, were provided for North China, and Sierra Leone had three drab shirts, a back pad and a couple of other items in lieu of the third suit of khaki drill.

 

Ron

Edit: as Frogsmile has pointed out, there were separate regulations for India and the 1914 Regs which I have do not cover India at all.

Edited by Ron Clifton

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In case anyone needs lookups I have

 

CR 1894 Westlake copy [in which the overseas stations are listed each by name]

CR 1914 Westlake copy [in which the overseas stations are "stations abroad" as a separate column beside Home, with various notes below

 

India CR 1904, 1909, 1914 

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Many thanks.

I will have a good look to check the dates offered.

There seems to have been a big adjustment in thinking re. Hot weather clothing provision between 1894 and 1914.

Very likely announced in Army Orders.

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The British Library has two volumes of online Clothing Regulations

Regulations for the Clothing of the Army. Part I.-Regular Forces. Excluding the Special Reserve War Office, 1914. HMSO (A C D Clothing Regs 1079)

 

Regulations for the Clothing of the Army. Part II.-Special Reserve War Office, 1914. HMSO (A C D Clothing Regs 1087).

Note at the time of writing this link does not open for me. You can also attempt to access the link through the British Library catalogue http://explore.bl.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?vid=BLVU1 using BLL01016606530 as the search term- however at the time of writing this link also did not work.

 

For the Indian army, online volumes are 

Army Regulations India Clothing Vol XI 1916 Archive.org version.

 

Army Regulations (India) 1913. Volume VII. Dress.   There are two copies available, however both copies appear to be incomplete. The better copy is catalogued as army regulations, india, 1913 barcode 99999990265902, but is missing the rear index, pages 91-96.  Archive.org version;  Second Archive.org version. Also available to read online on Scribd

 

Also later editions of Dress Regulations

Dress Regulations India 1926. Archive.org version. Print quality is poor for most pages. It seems likely that pages are missing

Dress Regulations For The Army(1934)  Archive.org version

 

Cheers

Maureen

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Thank you for those.

I think the crux is when and how the army became sensible about hot climate clothing in stations other than India.

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ID: 11   Posted (edited)

The British Army took a long, hard look at itself in the aftermath of the Boer War, just as it had after the Crimean War. Many changes, ranging from the more formal introduction of service dress, through re-equipping the artillery, to the Haldane reforms which created the TF and brought greater focus on the creation of the Expeditionary Force. I suspect that the revision of dress requirements in overseas stations, coupled with the Liberal government's desire to make costs more efficient (and thereby cut defence expenditure), date from this period.

 

The various changes are sometimes difficult to date precisely but perusal of Army Orders from this period should show when the new clothing regulations came in.

 

I have a copy of The Development of the British Army, 1899-1914 by Colonel J K Dunlop which may mention this. I'll try to have a look at it over this weekend.

 

Ron

Edited by Ron Clifton

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Thank you Ron, I will dig out my Dunlop too. I will pursue the Army Orders trail. We really need an index thereto ...... I know each year had its index but I don't think consolidated indices were published covering periods longer than a year.

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ID: 13   Posted (edited)

Dunlop doesn't have much to say, except that in April 1899 the Army had 40,000 sets of KD clothing, which might have been enough for the first batch of forces sent to South Africa but certainly wouldn't be enough for those sent later. Dunlop also confirms that the khaki service dress we know from 1914-18 was introduced by an Army Order dated 1 February 1902 so that for the first time, the Army would train at home in the uniforms it would fight in when at war.

 

I also tried another tack: the Dress Regulations for officers. The 1900 edition has Full Dress and Undress, with no distinction between home and abroad except for a short paragraph towards the end saying that "white clothing may be worn [abroad] under the authority of the general officer commanding". Interestingly, it does not seem to mention service dress at all. The 1911 edition separates uniforms for home and abroad, with khaki service dress at home and khaki drill service dress abroad. This does rather imply that the changes occurred some time between 1902 and 1911 and, as is the way of things, they may actually have been made before the relevant formal orders appeared in print. My own inclination would be to put them near the start of Haldane's term of office, as the efforts of Brodrick and Arnold-Forster seem to have been focussed mainly on trying to make the "Six Army Corps Scheme" work.

 

Ron

Edited by Ron Clifton

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ID: 14   Posted (edited)

Officers drab woollen service dress was designed in the same year as that for the soldiers, 1902.  I don't have it to hand, but I strongly suspect that the first time they appear in officers' dress regulations is in the 1904 iteration.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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According to Gibraltar Fortress orders, KD was the worn there during WW1.

 

TR

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Thanks to al lto here.

 

Gordon92's link Dorsetshire Malta c1898: http://www.soldiersofthequeen.com/Egypt-PrivateGeorgeSteedsDorsetshireRegiment.html

 

has a lot of collateral for KD in malta before 1899, so I had a look at Barthorp's British Army on Campaign 1882 - 1902. On p42 he states that KD was adopted for all foreign service in 1896. He appears to call it "UK Khaki Drill", possibly to distinguish it from the established India Pattern.

 

Whereas Barthorp is at best a secondary source, he is not to be disregarded.

 

 

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I have also found a little more which supposrts a 1890s date.

 

Phttp://www.soldiersofglos.com/1894/05/19/pax-britannica-1st-battalion-in-malta/AX BRITANNICA –

 

1ST BATTALION IN MALTA

On 11th November 1893 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment landed in Malta, not for the first nor last time. The battalion was carried once again by the HIMALAYA, a venerable troop transport that had seen service during the Crimean War, and which would be decommissioned the following year, but remaining afloat until she was bombed and sunk in 1940.

Major, later Lieut.-Colonel, A.H. Radice recalled his days as a young subaltern on Malta, noting, among other things, that perennial complaint of soldiers, the inadequacy of certain items of uniform and kit, and the parsimoniousness of government:-

“The officers had their uniforms made by Zarb, a Maltese who had a small shop in Strada Reale in Valetta. He was the worst tailor in the world, but useful to borrow money from. …

“For the summer the men were issued with white helmets of a rather ugly shape, and khaki drill covers to put over them when in khaki. This made it very difficult to turn out on church parade with properly pipeclayed helmets; and also on some quibble the authorities refused to make an issue of back badges for the helmet and therefore we had to buy them out of funds. I think it was only when we got to India that we were issued with khaki helmets with white covers, a much more practical arrangement.”

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ID: 18   Posted (edited)

I think Barthorp is very probably correct in terms of the authorities intent, although there are numerous photos of soldiers in some foreign stations (but not the Med) still in whites around 1896 and several as late as 1900-1905 (existing stocks would have been wasted out).  I haven't yet seen any later than that, although they were of course resurrected as No 3 Dress after WW2.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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If Barthorp is correct about 1896, and excluding India, we should expect to see scarlet frocks primarily in colder seasons and KD otherwise, with residual whites on some stations probably provided by non Treasury funding.

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ID: 20   Posted (edited)

15 hours ago, Muerrisch said:

If Barthorp is correct about 1896, and excluding India, we should expect to see scarlet frocks primarily in colder seasons and KD otherwise, with residual whites on some stations probably provided by non Treasury funding.

 

Yes, I think that seems most likely, although stocks of whites seem to have lasted for some time and detachments of RMLI continued to wear them in the decade after the 2nd Boer War, presumably from Admiralty stocks given the Army policy, but I do not know for sure.

Seated_Soldier_Jamaica.png

Edited by FROGSMILE

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More information.

 

1. Barthorp repeats his 1896 date for KD suits for all foreign service in his "British Infantry Uniforms since 1660".

 

2. More importantly, the ever useful Dress of the RA by Campbell  identifies:

  a. Whites all ranks AC 34 of 1879 for corps serving in Hong Kong, Straits Settlements, Ceylon only [India also of course but subject to Indian Govt. funding]

  b. Whites officers 1887 list as above but added Mauritius, and permitted off-duty wear in the West Indies and Malta.

  c. KD notes to follow ..... food calls!

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Interesting that Malta is mentioned.  I wonder if in part that was influenced by the significant RGA presence.  Aside from normal wear 'whites' of a basic style were for very long undress wear for coastal and then RGA artillery detachments.

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Campbell on KD:

"In 1893 the Army Book of the British Empire, an official publication, said ""when soldiers are employed abroad, such as Egypt and other parts of Africa, they are generally provided with a special dress".

 

"The first mention of KD in Dress [sic] regulations is an amendment to those of 1894 and was issued in 1896 [AO 83 of 1896]"

 

So there we have it: AO 83/96 next stop.

 

Frogsmile thank you for the Jamaica whites ............ difficult to date, but after 1881 of course [GCB left cuff].

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The Jamaica date was recorded and was 1905, which is why I posted it.  RMLI, so perhaps ship's issue.

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Thank you. Dare I say that whites are a grey area?

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