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Canadian Artillery tunic Staff Officer circa 1865-1880??

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Hello, i work at RCA museum in Shilo, MB have been for 20 yrs look after the collection and  knowledgeable on the the uniforms but this one i cannot find a definite answer my guess is Staff Officer pattern but in blue  for the artillery whereas they were usually red, this one did belong to M/Gen D.W.Cotton showing the rank of Colonel, we have another one that belonged to Col D.T.Irwin both these men in their career where "Inspectors of Artillery" there would have been the same term used for the Infantry as well. photos of this uniform tunic where worn by M/Gen French CA/NWMP,  M/Gen Strange. any help would be apreciated


M/Gen T.B. StrangeLt Col French  Commandant of the School of Gunnery, Kingston and Officer Commanding “A” BatteryL1100754.thumb.JPG.7ee4d695d146ecf239e8327051a86db7.JPGL1100759.thumb.JPG.6fd03b6fbe720557ef6fb9338aad7f0e.JPGL1100762.thumb.JPG.0f587dd5dff68bd817b9bb4037390bdf.JPG



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  • 1 month later...

i see some people have looked at this, all i am looking for is confirmation my identification is correct, on the other hand maybe this is quite rare? being blue and not red as for the more common staff officers variant. any comment welcome.



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I don't want to stick my neck out here - neither artillery nor the Victorian periods are things I know much about - but I do know in the Napoleonic era, an earlier period, folks like Commissariat inspectors and some of the other 'technical' departments [my term, noty theirs] wore dark blue tunics. 

I think to suggest that the were what today would be HQ/staff appointments and ranks, not strictly combat arms but I may be wrong.  As I recall, the Commissariat chap in 'Zulu' wears a blue tunic in the period.  Not suggesting for a minute that Gunners are/were non-combatant, but the old British Army and it's affiliates had some very odd customs, IMHO.  On a related note, can you tell from the photos whether the two other Inspectors' tunics are in fact red?  Or could they be blue as well? 

I hope somebody more knowledgeable than I can chime in here.  I hang out in museums as a volunteer and know how frustrating it is to have incomplete [or wrong!] info. on artifacts.  Good luck!


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Peter, thanks for the reply, i am guessing the the two B/W photos are showing a blue uniform. there is one print i have seen which is a lithograph see below does show the differences in the two jackets red and blue. and the association of blue tunic has always been used by the Artillery, similar to other corps, Army Service Corps. and Medical.


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Bayern, i re looked at the shoulders as well we have two tunic`s, one now i realize correct with the gold shoulder cords and the one here where they have sewn  in the standard officers shoulder straps probably to save money!! which would appear incorrect.

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  • 2 months later...


The use of a blue tunic with scarlet facings in place of the scarlet tunic with blue facings for staff tunics was standard for Artillery Staff officers at this period.  Canadian dress regulations of 1898 for example stated "Officer on the Staff of the Canadian Artillery both at Headqaurters and elsewhere -- Uniform dress and undress, and horse furniture, in every respect as for officers holding similar appointments on the General Staff, except that the tunic and mess jacket are blue with scarlet cloth collar and cuffs".  Further "the shoulder straps ... are of artillery pattern and width".

This did not apply to staff officers appointed from other blue-clad units such as army service corps, etc. who wore the standard scarlet tunic on staff appointments.

Uniquely, the Canadian "permanent" Artillery during the 1890s wore "shoulder straps of scarlet cloth, edged with round gold cord', unlike the shoulder knots used in most of the British empire, so the use of these straps is absolutely correct.

This pattern of staff tunic was abolished in the UK in 1897.  It was discontinued in the Canadian dress regulations of 1898 but allowed to be worn until 1902.  Canadian oficers rank badges were worn on the collar pre-1883, so the tunic can be no earlier than that.

 In summary I would 100 per cent confirm the identfication as Canadian pattern "Artillery Staff" tunic made between 1883 and 1897.



Edited by Timothy
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  • 2 weeks later...

Not sure I'm afraid, I've had them for ages - maybe from "Canadiana", although I also have some Canadian regs that I originally scanned at the British Library.

(I generally keep the details I would need for referencing, so as these are publications I didn't keep a note of the repository).

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