This young man is an officer in the 1st Battalion which served in India from 1875 to 1884. The tunic he wears was designed for service in hot climates and temporarily replaced the dress tunic which was of thicker material. There were various styles of 'frock' and this one is different from the ones usually seen in photos of the 1870s. The pointed cuff, which looks as if it is the same scarlet colour as the rest of the garment, has a simple edge of white piping, as does the edge of the front. There are five gilt buttons and the collar, which was blue, has no edge and no rank badge. There are shoulder straps with an edge of white piping and a badge in the middle which may be his one star rank badge (lieutenant). The position of the rank badge was moved from the collar to the shoulder strap on the dress tunic, but not until 1881.
In India it would be reasonable to expect the soldiers and officers to wear a white helmet as protection from the sun but this officer is wearing his dress shako which was the home service headwear for infantry regiments from 1869 to 1878. This photo may have been taken in Britain before the issue of the white helmets. Of interest is the dark coloured ball tuft on the front of the shako; this is a scarlet tuft, the sign of a Royal regiment.
Regimental Details | Uniforms