This photograph was sent to me by a fellow contributor that is clearly a mixture of young and old (and rather portly) British “officers.” Interesting to note the “pips” on the soldier seated far right and the brass buttons on most. Also note the variations in the tunics of these British soldiers, and the fact that Sam Browne belt’s do not sport holsters nor sword frogs.
What isn’t so clear is when or where this photograph was taken. Obviously we can narrow it down to the latter decades of the 19th century based on the uniforms, equipment and notably the helmets – the “where” is the other mystery. The terrain appears generally flat without much foliage, but is this South Africa, the Sudan, India or elsewhere?
1900s Motoring and Early World War I Flying Goggles, World War II Japanese Type 5 Dust Goggles, WWII Russian Tank Goggles, Chinese Tank Goggles, RAF Split Lens &etc.
Figure 1, Pre WWI United States Air Corps pilot wearing folding lens goggles
This goggle type has its roots in France, with most references relating them to ‘early French types’. The earliest advertisement sighted for this kind is dated 1904. They may have been a development of the 19th century ‘Railway Spectacle’ with protective glass side panels (Fig. 3). They could be folded into a very compact shape and allowed good peripheral vision. Continue reading →
A Wolseley helmet provenanced to Private Frederick G. Rance of the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. This helmet was manufactured by Percy Ayses & Co. (Author’s collection)
Last year I wrote a companion article to this one, A Berkshire Lad, but have in the last week been contacted by the family of Pte. Frederick G. Rance. I sensed the import and could not but return the helmet to the family to complement the other memorabilia which they have preserved. Continue reading →
An example of a Colonial Pattern helmet with four panels rather than the more usual and authorized six panels. This example is to an Other Rank of the Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey). (Photo courtesy Roland Gruschka)
The 1st Battalion West Surrey was stationed in Malta in 1892 and it appears that this type of helmet was not uncommon in Mediterranean stations for the British Army. However, the Dress Regulations of 1894 state that puggarees were to be worn in such stations as India, Bermuda, Ceylon, Hong Kong, Egypt, the Straits Settlements, West Indies, Mauritius, Malta, West Coast of Africa and Cyprus and that the full Home Service pattern helmet plate was to be worn at other stations, i.e. those where the puggaree was not authorized. There was a term “Mediterranean Order” which translated to no puggaree but full helmet plate and it appears that the cork ventilation was also a feature of this “order.” In 1899 puggarees were authorised for all stations abroad. Continue reading →
Henry James Frampton was born in August 1897, at South Stoneham, Hampshire, first son of Henry Manwell Frampton (plasterer) and Mary Frampton. He served with distinction in the First World War and joined the Indian Civil Service (I.C.S.) in 1921. Continue reading →
Later Victorian Era uniforms and sun helmets at the Guards Museum
The Guards Museum in London chronicles the story of the five regiments of Foot Guards (the Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards, and Welsh Guards). Its collection includes many fine examples of military sun helmets. Continue reading →
One somewhat forgotten sun helmet pattern was that used by the Philippine Commonwealth Army. Issued just months before America’s entry into the Second World War, these seemed based on the pressed fiber helmets used by the United States but offered a larger rear brim. And instead of pressed fiber these were made of pressed coconut fiber!
Reportedly used an a substitute for the campaign or “Montana Peak” hat, these were widely used during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines.