Officer and Private c1900

The officer, on the left, is in wearing his dress tunic which is scarlet with white collar and cuffs, and gold lace. The buttons are gilt with the regimental badge on them. See Officer's Button He has gold lace around the top and front of his collar and Sphinx badges each side facing inwards. See Officer's Collar Badges c1890 After 1881 embroidered badges of rank were worn on the gilt shoulder cords instead of the collar. Rank was also indicated by the amount of lace and braid decorating the cuff, but around 1902 this decoration was simplified. At the same time the crimson sash of office was worn around the waist instead of being hung over the left shoulder. Sergeants' sashes continued to be hung over the right shoulder. The trousers which are blue with a red stripe, are tucked into black leather gaiters for field day activity.

The private is in field day order with his Slade Wallace equipment and Lee Metford rifle. The straps were blancoed white and were uncomfortable to wear because the only way to stabilise the valise on the back when running was to keep the waistbelt very tight. The ammunition pouches at the front held 100 rounds, and the bayonet, carried at the back of the left hip, was 12 inches long. The crossed straps supported a water bottle on his right hip and a haversack for food on his left.

The tunic he wears is a frock for field days. There were two types of frock, one had five buttons down the front and plain cuffs, the other was smarter and had seven buttons and white round cuffs. This garment looks the same as the dress tunic except for the lack of white piping down the front edge. His white collar has silver metal Sphinx badges. See Private Samuel Vickery VC He has a single good conduct stripe on his left fore-arm. The trousers are tucked into black gaiters like the officer. Both men wear the home service blue helmet but the officer has a pointed peak edged in gilt metal. The private's helmet has a rounded front peak edged in black leather.

The Dorsetshire regiment had worn white facings since 1881 when all non-royal English regiments were ordered to do so. Prior to that date the 39th and 54th Regiments both wore green. Many times, the regiment sought permission for their green facings to be restored, and finally, in 1904, after 23 years of wearing the hated white collar and cuffs, they were permitted to change to green.

Uniforms | Regimental Details


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by Stephen Luscombe