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Bill Dienna

Letter "M" on British Shoulder Board ?

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It's not terribly clear in this photograph, but the uniform is that of an officer of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, apparently a Lt. Colonel.

At the end of each shoulder board is a bullion letter "M".

Does anyone know what that means?

Thanks!

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Sorry, Chris, I don't have a good photo of the shoulder boards.

Here is a photo of the complete set.

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I dont know... but I want in on the game.... my guess (which is obviously going to turn out wrong) is something to do with "Militia" ?

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Alas, there is no name.

Unfortunately, the right collar is missing the bullion grenade with eagle device.

If anyone has one of those sitting in an "odds and ends" box, please do let me know!

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from the War Office 1900 Dress Regulations

Edited by Odulf

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Thank you, Odulf !

It looks as though Chris was correct !

The"M" reflects the fact that this officer was a member of a "Militia Battalion" of the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

The only question that I now have is: What was a "militia battalion" in the British Army ?

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The Militia were surplus parttime troops.

As a result ot the Cardwell Reforms in the 3rd quarter of the 19th Century the Army, and in particular the Infantry Regiments, underwent a reconstruction and reformation (see Wikipedia).

Afterwards, most Infantry Regiments consisted of 2 Battns with professional soldiers, one for home service and one for overseas service. Nearly all regiments had Militia Battns, a kind of Regimental reserve pool of volunteers, ex-professionals, etc.

For instance, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), around 1900, was a large Regiment (most regiments had 2 Battalions, but the RF had 4 regular battalions (numbered 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Battn.), plus another three Militia Battns.

5th Batt. = The Royal Westminster Militia

5th Batt. The Royal London Militia

6th batt. The Royal South middlesex Militia.

Edited by Odulf

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Going on comments in some of Kipling's stories, the Militia was looked down on by the professionals of the Regular Army. Generally speaking the 3rd battalion of most regiments was the Militia battalion (some regiments, such as the KRRC and Royal Fusiliers, had more than two Regular battalions).

Michael

Edited by Michael Johnson

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The Militia units have a very ancient history and can be traced back to the times of Henry VIII and who controlled them were one of the triggers for the English Civil War. Essentialy they were home defence troops, organised by county and for most of their history that is what they did which allowed regular units to serve abroad. During the Napoleonic wars, they did then also provide trained replacements for the regular forces and again during the Boer war period when some Militia units were sent to Africa mostly as L of C troops.

They underwent a series of amalgamations until the early 20th century when they were converted in 1908 into Tf or army special reserve Bn's associated with their local regiment.

A comprehensive series of books covering the Welsh Militia units was started by the late Bryn Owen, but sadly he passed away before all of the intended books were published. I think circa six were published and the information above is cribbed from them. Those that were published were done so as a part of a series known collectively as The History of the Welsh Militia and Volunteer Corps.

PS A beautiful uniform grouping.

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Bill! I did not know that you were switching focuses!! Very nice start.

Thank you all for the history/background on this unit.

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I'm not, actually, Paul.

My interest was mostly academic, though if the tunic was not missing the large bullion grenade on one side, I would be tempted!

One side of my family came from Ireland.

My mother's uncle was killed in Belgium in 1916 while serving with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

As a result, I've always had an interest in the Irish aspects of the British military.

But I once spoke with a very well regarding collector-dealer about focusing on Irish material.

He replied "Well you won't find it very often, but you will pay a lot of money for it."

That kind of cured me of the thought of pursuing that line of collecting! :D

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It is definitely a very interesting topic. Is the set super expensive?

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I think it's priced at about $700-$800.

The pants, unfortunately, are quite moth damaged.

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