The Gordons

NCOs, Marching order 1885

This informally posed photo shows a sergeant and corporal of the 2nd Gordon Highlanders wearing full marching order. The valise equipment introduced in 1882 has buff leather straps blancoed white, with large ammunition pouches on the front of the waist-belt, carrying 70 rounds. The shoulder straps crossed over at the back and attached to the belt, and the valise could be strapped on with the mess tins on top. The corporal is turned so that we have a clear view of the Italian water bottle introduced to the British infantry in 1873. This is held by a thin leather strap over the left shoulder. Another white strap over the right shoulder is for the canvas haversack. There is a medal on the sergeant with 3 bars; this is probably for the Afghan War of 1878-80.

The Martini Henry rifle is the Mark III .45in type of 1883. It has the sword bayonet attached, 18.5 inches long. It was replaced by the Lee Metford around 1889. Both men wear white gloves and have white rank stripes on their right sleeve only. The sergeant has a brass cantle to his sporran with a white metal badge, while the corporal would have the rank and file type of sporran with brass-edged black leather cantle. The collar and cuffs appear dark because of the photographic process of the time, but they are yellow with a brass Tiger badge on the collar and 3 buttons on each cuff. The red shoulder straps have GORDON embroidered in white in a curve. The hose and garter ribbons are not very clear but the white spats turn up at the back of the leg, to a point, with a whale-bone stiffener extending the length of the spat.

Uniforms | Regimental Details


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by Stephen Luscombe