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?
A contemporary newspaper from 1898 that shows the meeting of Marchand and Kitchener
While there are many “eminent Victorians” in British military history the French have fewer such characters. One largely unknown outside of France was Major Jean-Baptiste Marchand, who led the French expeditionary force during the Fashoda Incident.
Born in Thoisssey, Ain during the Second French Empire in 1863, he participated in the French conquest of Senegal and was wounded at the capture of Diena by the French in 1889. He explored the sources of the Niger River and even tracked the source of the Nile. Continue reading →
Winston Churchill in Bangalore, India in 1898. He is wearing a colonial pattern helmet.
Sir Winston Churchill wore many hats in his life. He was a writer, scholar, soldier, politician, painter and above all English gentleman. Winston as he was often known by friend and foe alike was a Victorian soldier of the Queen, a First World War Lord of the Admiralty and, of course, during the Second World War the Prime Minister.
His most famous hat was his Bowker, but he also sported a Homburg hat as often, and as a soldier wore visor caps and in France in World War I a steel helmet. But of course we remember Mr. Churchill in many a sun helmet! Continue reading →