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Jamie M.

British Rifles Pillbox Cap & Royal Artillery Officer's Tunic

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Hello everyone. I have just joined this website and am happy to have done so. I've been eager to learn more about my new interest of collecting British Military militaria. Just today I won two auctions on eBay. One being listed as a "Victorian British Rifles Pillbox Cap" and the other a "Pre-WWI Royal Artillery Officer's Tunic." I was wondering if I could get some information on these items whilst they are being shipped to my front door as I don't know much about them. I don't know if this site allows assessing the value of items or not, but any information would be extremely helpful. The pillbox hat appears to have one little rifle regiment button on each side near the sweatband, though unfortunately they are hard to see in pictures. The artillery officer's tunic appears to hold the rank of Lieutenant and is has a name on it. I also noticed the buttons have the VR crown on it could that mean it is late Victorian??? Here's some images below, thank you for reading and have a nice day!

-J.M

  

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Edited by Jamie M.

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Jamie

Welcome to the GMIC.  'VR' buttons would certainly indicate a pre-1900 uniform and/or cap.  The pill box was common to many units in the Victorian period, both regular army and, I think, Volunteers, but I'll leave it to our several head dress speicalists to comment further.

The tunic seems to be a fairly standard pre-War RA tunic which means, sadly, that the surname may not be rare enough for you ID the original owner, as the Gunners were a big bunch!  Again, someone on the UK side of the pond may have more information, including perhaps access to Army Lists as a way of identifying possible owners.  I trust you'll find both items satisfactory and enjoy many years of colecting!

Peter

[also in Canada]

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2 hours ago, peter monahan said:

Jamie

Welcome to the GMIC.  'VR' buttons would certainly indicate a pre-1900 uniform and/or cap.  The pill box was common to many units in the Victorian period, both regular army and, I think, Volunteers, but I'll leave it to our several head dress speicalists to comment further.

The tunic seems to be a fairly standard pre-War RA tunic which means, sadly, that the surname may not be rare enough for you ID the original owner, as the Gunners were a big bunch!  Again, someone on the UK side of the pond may have more information, including perhaps access to Army Lists as a way of identifying possible owners.  I trust you'll find both items satisfactory and enjoy many years of colecting!

Peter

[also in Canada]

Thank you kindly Peter for your help and information! I really like my new hobby of collecting these historical things, because it's kind of like a treasure hunt and I really like that. Hopefully like you said some head dress specialists here can help me as well. I appreciate your help, thank you and have a nice day.

-Jamie M.

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The hat maker were best known for making bandsmens/musicians uniforms and I have  a cap by them.  The markings on yours looks interwars/WWII.

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9 hours ago, Jerry B said:

The hat maker were best known for making bandsmens/musicians uniforms and I have  a cap by them.  The markings on yours looks interwars/WWII.

Do you think it is a musicians cap or still a rifle volunteer cap then?

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I'd still go with Rifle's.  it seems awfully 'restrained' for a civilian band item, unles they were trying to mimic the Rifles.

hat.jpg

Edited by peter monahan

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19 hours ago, Jamie M. said:

Do you think it is a musicians cap or still a rifle volunteer cap then?

If it has rifles on on the buttons then it makes it seem like rifles then or perhaps the rifles band?  I can only tell you what I already posted, uniquip are best known for making civilian band uniforms.  I have never seen a military uniform with their label in it, but that does not mean they did not make them and to be honest it would be odd if they did not supply the military.

Here is the bandmasters cap I own made by the firm.  Apart from the metal gold braid on the peak aping senior army officer peak braid it is very like a military cap and even has plain ball buttons.  Not really that OTT!  In fact it is very similar to Army forage/dress caps of the period.

 

 

 

Bandmasters cap montage vm.jpg

Edited by Jerry B

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Thank you all for pitching in to help me find out what this cap is from. The seller that I bought it for, whom I trust (although mistakes can be made) listed it as Pre-ww1, so I originally thought it was either Victorian, Edwardian or Early Georgian. Now of course when it arrived, on the buttons it is a King's Crown over a strung up bugle. So that limits it down to either Edwardian or Georgian. And that's my question, do you guys think it is Pre-ww1? Because that is my main collecting interest. I have a rather long period of British Military history personal interest around 1720-1914. I mean, the first quarter of the 20th century is cool, like World War 1, but I prefer Victorian Wars and such. I personally still think it is a Rifle Volunteer Regiment pill box, because Rifle Volunteer regiments (to my knowledge) usually had different pill box's than other Rifle Volunteer regiments and Royal Army pill box's. So IDing this one is going to be very, very hard unless someone shows up with specific knowledge about a volunteer rifle unit and knows what their caps looked like. Thank you all for you help. I really appreciate it.

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I'd say your best bet - as a non-expert [me, I mean] - is to keep searching for examples of 'Rifles cap', 'pill box cap' and whatever other variant search strings pull up images and look for similar pieces.  OR, check the Rifles Museum - http://riflesmuseum.co.uk/?page_id=142 - and see what they can tell you.  It certainly has the character of a late 19th century Rifles cap, or something made to look as if it were - again, to my non-expert eye - but the King's crown may argue the latter: a modern piece made up for the historically garbed band of a Rifles regiment.

Good luck.  Nulli deperandum!

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Not sure to whom the tunic belonged.  I cannot find an "R H Clark" in the List of Officers of the Royal Regiment of Artillery from June 1862 to June 1914.  There is a "Robert Henry Brent Clark" who was commissioned on 9 Jan 1900 and promoted Lieutenant on 3 April 1901, or it is possible the tailor misspelled the surname and it belonged to "Reginald Hugh Clarke" who was commissioned 12 Dec 1903 and promoted Lieutenant 12 Dec 1906.

 

Edited by Gunner 1

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Evidence posted elsewhere suggest the company is only known from c. 1912, though it might have existed before then, but has so far left no trace of that.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Gunner 1 said:

Not sure to whom the tunic belonged.  I cannot find an "R H Clark" in the List of Officers of the Royal Regiment of Artillery from June 1862 to June 1914.  There is a "Robert Henry Brent Clark" who was commissioned on 9 Jan 1900 and promoted Lieutenant on 3 April 1901, or it is possible the tailor misspelled the surname and it belonged to "Reginald Hugh Clarke" who was commissioned 12 Dec 1903 and promoted Lieutenant 12 Dec 1906.

 

I was looking up both RH Clark and RH Clarke (later when I also thought it could be a mistake), nothing showed up for RH Clark for me, however I did find one thing while searching in google books. It was some book all about Singapore, and there is a list of Officers in different units, and when it underlines RH Clarke, No 80. Company, Royal Garrison Artillery stationed in Singapore. I believe Singapore was a British colony and or trading post? However this tunic being later Victorian may dismiss anyone past 1902 but not impossible, i'm not sure if officers were allowed to wear the pre-1902 pattern of Royal Artillery tunics if they had already had one when they were commissioned before the reforms. Thank you for your assistance.

6 hours ago, Jerry B said:

Evidence posted elsewhere suggest the company is only known from c. 1912, though it might have existed before then, but has so far left no trace of that.

 

 

Being c.1912 it may still be possible for it to be Pre-ww1 Georgian however 2 years is a very slim amount of time. And it could have existed earlier and so far no trace of it, as you said. I believe the Rifle Volunteer movement was popular from about the 1860s-WW1, but we are still not positive if this is even a Rifle Volunteer Pill Box. This is a very hard object to uncover it's past, but I kind of like this sort of "treasure hunt" for information. Thank you for your assistance. 

9 hours ago, peter monahan said:

I'd say your best bet - as a non-expert [me, I mean] - is to keep searching for examples of 'Rifles cap', 'pill box cap' and whatever other variant search strings pull up images and look for similar pieces.  OR, check the Rifles Museum - http://riflesmuseum.co.uk/?page_id=142 - and see what they can tell you.  It certainly has the character of a late 19th century Rifles cap, or something made to look as if it were - again, to my non-expert eye - but the King's crown may argue the latter: a modern piece made up for the historically garbed band of a Rifles regiment.

Good luck.  Nulli deperandum!

I have been looking for similar things on google images and pinterest and such however nothing really has shown up so far. I have seen one similar but it was still quite different in a few ways and not the same cap. And it was Victorian like 1880s or something. Thank you for your help and encouragement, though.

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The Gurkha Rifles still wear a pillbox cap similar to this, though they have a red pom on top of it.  I would try searching the Gurkha's for the source of this, one of their regiments in existence in the inter wars period.

 

In the images note some also have the dark green pom as well as a red pom, though these are more modern in date.

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Edited by Jerry B

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I should have thought of the Gurkhas, all of whom of course were Rifle regiments.  Ten regiments pre-1947 and 3 after gives lots of scope for pill boxes, which were standard gear fro them for many years.  Not sure when the Indian Army, who got the other 7 units at Indepepndence, would have stopped using pill boxes but possibly quite late, as they have a great affection for the old style uniforms and seem to have the funds to outfit bands, honour guards and so on in the 'old style' uniforms.

Sending a phoito to the Rifles Muzeum may be your best bet.

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