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Identifying an Indian-made British Patrol Jacket


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Hello all,

I just picked up a probably Victorian British patrol jacket and trousers at a price that was just too good to pass up. It is dark blue wool with four rows of frogging along the front with dropped loops and no bossing on the braids, red collar and cuff decoration, flat cloth epaulettes edged in flat mohair braid (with no rank or signs of rank), frogging up the back, and a braid trefoil knot on each sleeve (as opposed to the typical Austrian knot). While there is no tailor's label, the buttons were made in Poona (now in Pakistan), and the trousers are matching dark blue with a thin red stripe.

The dealer who I purchased it from actually posted his first-run images on a thread here, where he searched for an identification:

http://www.victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=5655

I'm sincerely hoping the member of the forum can help with with a positive identification. To begin, I'll list the units that it has been proposed to belong to:

Madras Guards (colors are correct)

Poona Volunteer Rifles (est. 1887, became the 35 Poona BN in 1917 - this is mostly based on the buttons, although one of the two Indian staff colleges was at Poona)

various other volunteer units etc.

And next, I'll emphasize the characteristics that differentiate this from the standard 1882-pattern patrol:

The braid trefoil knot on the sleeves (as opposed to the Austrian knot)

Red facing on the cuffs and collar

Does anyone have any idea what the uniform may be?

V/r,

~TS

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I noted the discussion on the other Forum and have to say Frogsmile may be on the right track. This pattern coincides exactly with the photograph and description in Dress Regulations 1900, for the pattern 'Patrol Jacket', as worn by "Rifle" regiments. The red facings obviously pointing to the Kings Royal Rifles "and it's affiliates".

I'll post more as and when time allows.

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The jacket as described in Dress Reg's 1900. Having looked at your jacket on the other Forum I would say it's Rifle Green as opposed to blue in colour.

Note that the jacket in DR's is for an officer 5ft 9ins tall and jackets would be then produced in proportion to the height of the officer - i.e. a smaller officer would possibly require less frogging!!

Edited by Graham Stewart
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My only contribution, as uniforms are not my particular interest, is that the Dress Regulations for the Indian Army, at least as late as 1900, were compiled by sending a questionnaire round to regiments and publishing what they sent back! In some cases this included scrupulously detailed descriptions of the up to eight or ten orders of dress for British Officers in mounte units - mounted Dress, mounted Undress, mounted field service and so on. In other cases, it appears as a list of the orders of dress each followed by the phrase 'to/in the regimental pattern'.

This suggests to me that the whole concept of 'uniform', as meaning 'the same' was only vaguely understood or adhered to under the Raj. There is also the well known penchant for volunteer units - the Auxilliary Force, India, for example - to do whatever they wanted vis-a-vis uniforms and, in many cases, get away with it! I would suggest, therefore, that if the jacket was made for an Indian unit, regular or volunteer, evidence leading to a positive ID will be photographic, not written.

My tuppence worth!

Peter

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Graham,

This answers many of my questions, most importantly being that there are only four sets of frogging. i also think you're correct in it being a KRRC-affiliated unit. The jacket, however, appears to be blue. What unit in India wore this color combination? Blue with red facings on patrols?

V/r,

~TS

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Graham,

This answers many of my questions, most importantly being that there are only four sets of frogging. i also think you're correct in it being a KRRC-affiliated unit. The jacket, however, appears to be blue. What unit in India wore this color combination? Blue with red facings on patrols?

V/r,

~TS

Actually it isn't blue at all, but what we would determine as dark "bottle green", which is so dark a hue, as to be almost mistaken for black/very dark blue. It's a shade very difficult to describe unless you have seen these really dark green bottles used at the turn of the century in the UK. I certainly wouldn't describe the jacket as blue, not in the same sense as for No.1 Dress "Blues", which again is more on the black than blue side and for me it's Rifles any day of the week.

Again all of those units in India, with KRR affiliations(and more importantly dress) would qualify - certainly Gurkha Rifles units spring to mind. I believe the Army List for Indian units will describe who and who aren't affiliated to the KRR.

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I've decided to hold judgement on the color until I have the tunic in person and can size it up in comparison to other Victorian examples of green and blue in the collection. I understand, of course, that colors change as old dies age.

I picked up a military tailor's pattern book from 1894 in the library and started trying to identify this further. The cuff is correct for staff officers, but the rest of the uniform and the coloration isn't. The cuff is also correct for captain's on infantry mess uniforms. The pattern does conform properly to the pattern for line infantry patrols, except the cuffs. Rifle unit patrols varied by regiment, but the tunic lacks the proper shoulder boards and the five rows of frogging that would normally be correct for a rifle uniform.

Also, why would a uniform likely not have any rank? While this uniform isn't anywhere near conforming to the pattern for chaplains, the service corps etc., the lack of rank or signs of it having once been there makes me suspect this may not be a line uniform at all. Thoughts?

V/r,

~TS

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I've decided to hold judgement on the color until I have the tunic in person and can size it up in comparison to other Victorian examples of green and blue in the collection. I understand, of course, that colors change as old dies age.

I picked up a military tailor's pattern book from 1894 in the library and started trying to identify this further. The cuff is correct for staff officers, but the rest of the uniform and the coloration isn't. The cuff is also correct for captain's on infantry mess uniforms. The pattern does conform properly to the pattern for line infantry patrols, except the cuffs. Rifle unit patrols varied by regiment, but the tunic lacks the proper shoulder boards and the five rows of frogging that would normally be correct for a rifle uniform.

Also, why would a uniform likely not have any rank? While this uniform isn't anywhere near conforming to the pattern for chaplains, the service corps etc., the lack of rank or signs of it having once been there makes me suspect this may not be a line uniform at all. Thoughts?

V/r,

~TS

I think you'll find the rank was fitted to shoulder boards, which slipped over the shoulder strap.

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The only thing I can add, which actually adds nothing of substance, is that is BEAUTFIUL jacket!!!! :jumping: :jumping: :jumping: I think the old patrol jackets and whatever you call those greatcoats with the black silk braid on them that were worn back then, are among the most beautiful military garments every. Even if they were "subdued."

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