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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Rifle Volunteers uniform ID request

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Dear All,

Attached is a recent acquisition. I bought it under the misapprehension that the uniform was that of the Rifle Brigade, but no Rifle Brigade Colonel had this medal combination, and the RB wore black rank insignia, not bright metal, on their collars. An officer of Rifle Volunteers, then, wearing Turkish Crimea, three-clasp Crimea, and what may be a South Africa 1853 medal. The photograph was taken by celebrated Chelsea pornographer* Claude Bossoli, (which implies a Middlesex Corps), and probably dates to 1865-67.   Rank badges were only worn on the collars of patrol jackets by Field Officers in the regular army, but I am not sure how true that was of the Volunteers, and his sleeve lace is out of sight.   Is he a full Colonel, or a mere Captain?   Can anyone identify the uniform, or even perhaps the sitter?

Thanks in advance for any assistance anyone may be able to offer.



* Bossoli was sentenced to 12 months hard labour for selling "grossly obscene photographs . . . at a very low price" in 1871!   If nothing else, this gives a latest possible date for the photograph.

Rifle Volunteer Veteran.jpg

Edited by mikehm

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The First Rifle Brigade Served in both South Africa and the Crimea if the portrait dates around 1867 or later He could well have received a promotion following the Crimean War and  maybe another subsequent one. So he could have been a Captain in 1856. Obviously the judge who convicted him obviously knew the going rate for obscene photographs if he thought two shillings cheap.


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Yes, that was why I jumped to the conclusion that he was an RB officer, but he cannot be (or at least not by the time this picture was taken).   No RB Colonel earned that medal combination without also picking up a foreign order (I checked), and, besides, the RB did not wear shiny rank badges.   This must be an RV uniform.

As for the judge, that was exactly my thought!   It reminded me of this Not the Nine O'Clock News sketch:


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