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k bandow

WWI British Field Artillery uniform

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I had picked up this grouping this weekend. The story the seller told me about it is that he bought it from a friend (now deceased) who'd purchased it from Niles Laughner, a US dealer, in the late 1990's. The uniform apparently had come out of an estate in Canada in the 1970's, but sadly there is no name with it. The boots are marked on the tag as being French made, and based on the hobnails, I think I'd agree. I would love to find out more about the grouping, as I know quite little about WWI British uniforms. Any help is appreciated!

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K.Bandow (first name ?) - welcome to GMIC.

You show a very fine example of an early Royal Field Artillery uniform - the 'T' above RFA is for the Territorial unit he was in - obviously tthis was in the London District.

I am sure this will generate a lot of interest and responses from our members. Mervyn

The ammunition bandolier for .303 is of the cavalry pattern and was in use during the Boer War.

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Thank you gentlemen for your responses! Mervyn, my first name is Karl and it's a pleasure to be here!

I have recently began to collect UK militaria and this seems like the best forum on the net to learn about the latter.

Hopefully more gents will be able to chime in! I'd been told it is to a senior sergeant quartermaster and a master gunner.

Thanks again, guys, and look forward to more information!

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Here is how I currently have it displayed. Lucked out greatly on a nice condition SBR to go with it.

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Great set Karl and thanks for posting.

My grandfather was in the RFA during WWI and here is a photo i have of him as a Sergeant circa 1919.

He was a regular and not a territorial,maybe this has something to do with the placement of the insignia on the sleeve ??

Not too sure here so maybe someone more knowledgble can add some input

Regards,Martin.

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Wonderful photo Martin! You must be very proud of him. I had been told that quartermasters had the chevrons upside-down and positioned toward the mid/bottom of the sleeves. Learning more and more as time moves along! British militaria is fascinating!

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Hi,

From what I can see the upside down chevrons are not rank, but good conduct chevrons? The star being a Territorial force proficiency star?

So his rank is Gunner, the is proficient and he has 2 good conduct stripes?

I really like the tunic!

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Hi,

From what I can see the upside down chevrons are not rank, but good conduct chevrons? The star being a Territorial force proficiency star?

So his rank is Gunner, the is proficient and he has 2 good conduct stripes?

I really like the tunic!

Chris,

This is cropped out from a shot of Royal Field Artillery men, and shown are the NCO in charge and the Quartermaster. That uniform just about could be the one I own!

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Sorry that haven't jumped in here earlier. Life is intervening heavily.

From my info, "four stripes" designate a "Quartermaster Sergeant"; in this case, probably a "Battery Quartermaster Sergeant" But these are "rank" insignia and I think should be higher on the sleeve. In your photo, the Sergeant's rank (3 stripes and gun badge) are higher and on both sleeves.

Good conduct stripes look similar - 4 for 18 years; and are lower and but only the left sleeve. These were removed after the soldier advanced in rank beyond corporal. Therefore, I suspect the owner of the uniform just may be as Chris suggests, a Gunner (no rank stripes) with long service, which makes sense for a Territorial.

But I am by no means an expert in British Army ranks.

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The "Gun Badge" should indicate the owner is a "Master Gunner" - but I do not know if a gunner had to be a certain rank to earn this distinction.

Here's a good link with some basics about the Territorial Force. T-RFA-LONDON shoulder title designates 1st London (City of London) Brigade RFA (TF). This is wikipedia; however, it's the most info available: City of London Artillery There may be clues for further research among this info.

I am not familiar with the "rosette" on the sleeve. A Chris suggests, this may not have anything to do with artillery and could be TF related. Here's where I will hand off to a broader UK expert.

Edited by IrishGunner

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I am looking at this again; our subject has the sleeve insignia on both right and left lower sleeves.

Now I'm confused. That does make it seem more like rank insignia. But why so low?

Maybe it's not original...

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IrishGunner, did you see the photo from 1916 that I posted above your original post?

The Quartermaster Sergeant has the rank on both sleeves, exactly where they are positioned on my example. It seems to be practice for the quartermasters?

I am looking at this again; our subject has the sleeve insignia on both right and left lower sleeves.

Now I'm confused. That does make it seem more like rank insignia. But why so low?

Maybe it's not original...

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IrishGunner, did you see the photo from 1916 that I posted above your original post?

The Quartermaster Sergeant has the rank on both sleeves, exactly where they are positioned on my example. It seems to be practice for the quartermasters?

Yes; that photo certainly lends credibility to the uniform. Like I said, I am not a British uniform expert. More research yields evidence that points to your original conclusion.

A Battery Quartermaster Sergeant rank insignia:

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This matches your photo; the man in the photo is a BQMS.

But your uniform also has the rosette on each sleeve; so, this must be part of the rank also. So... Here is the rank for a Regimental or Brigade Quartermaster Sergeant:

rqms.gif

I am now reversing all the nonsense I posted earlier. I think your uniform is of a T-RFA Brigade Quartermaster Sergeant.

There were only a few T-RFA London brigades; so, your uniform should be scarce.

Here is the link for the above rank insignia.

A good lesson in British Army quartermaster ranks! One of our best topics in awhile.

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Well done everone - as Irish Gunner says - a good subject that had heads 'scratching'. Karl, being so complete be careful should

you decide to sell. The rank has to be a rare one and I think you might be surprised at the value. Keep it in one of those

moth proof hanging bags for suits and uniforms and don't let people keep handling it - at approx. 100 years old it needs to be

handled carefully. (Gee - at my age that sounds like me - but not the bag - please !)

Keep looking for things and post on GMIC. Mervyn

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Yes; that photo certainly lends credibility to the uniform. Like I said, I am not a British uniform expert. More research yields evidence that points to your original conclusion.

A Battery Quartermaster Sergeant rank insignia:

bqms.gif

This matches your photo; the man in the photo is a BQMS.

But your uniform also has the rosette on each sleeve; so, this must be part of the rank also. So... Here is the rank for a Regimental or Brigade Quartermaster Sergeant:

rqms.gif

I am now reversing all the nonsense I posted earlier. I think your uniform is of a T-RFA Brigade Quartermaster Sergeant.

There were only a few T-RFA London brigades; so, your uniform should be scarce.

Here is the link for the above rank insignia.

A good lesson in British Army quartermaster ranks! One of our best topics in awhile.

IrishGunner,

Thank you so much for all the research! I had tried and tried, but being a greenhorn to the British collecting field, I just had no luck. I sure wish I could identify the original owner! It seems it should be traceable if the rank is a rarer one?

Once again, thank you ever so kindly, sir!

Karl

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Well done everone - as Irish Gunner says - a good subject that had heads 'scratching'. Karl, being so complete be careful should

you decide to sell. The rank has to be a rare one and I think you might be surprised at the value. Keep it in one of those

moth proof hanging bags for suits and uniforms and don't let people keep handling it - at approx. 100 years old it needs to be

handled carefully. (Gee - at my age that sounds like me - but not the bag - please !)

Keep looking for things and post on GMIC. Mervyn

Mervyn,

I am astonished to say the least! I had no idea when I bought it that it could have been a rare piece. Heck, it sat at that military show for two days and no one bought it. Seeing what an "average" Tommy 1902 SD can go for blows me away! :speechless1: I will make sure to invest in a vacuum-seal bag and likely put some cedar in with it to protect against further mothing.

Thank you all for your inputs! And please, if there is more to learn, definitely share with us!

All the best from across the pond,

Karl

Edited by k bandow

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This is a prewar jacket with the "half moon" upper pocket reinforcing pieces, I forget the exact date but perhaps 1910-ish? The cap also looks like an early TA one with the cotton crown lining instead of the regular army's American cloth. It is a good match date-wise for the jacket and probably a more apt display companion than the helmet, if you don't mind me pointing that out.

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The boots and bandolier are also very nice - the bandoliers being restricted to mounted troops which, of course, included Gunners in WWI.  Shots of RA types serving guns with the bandoliers on are not uncommon.  The boots are, I think, indicative of his rank, as even mounted troops were wearing 'ammo boots' and puttees in the ranks, with tall [expensive] boots generally restricted to officers and some NCOs.  It was customary for RSMs, for example, to wear boots and officer style breeches and, often, a Sam Browne, so they would be very appropriate for a BQSM.  A lovely uniform!

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