Officer and Private 1878

The change in the style of the doublet occurred in 1868, the year that the regiment returned from India. The slash flap cuff was replaced by the gauntlet style and was decorated with three buttons and button loops. In this painting the button loops look as if they are made of twisted blue thread, but were later made more distinct by using white piping. The same seems to be the case on the Inverness flaps except that the loops look red.

His equipment is very different from that seen in the photos of the mid 1860s. The 1871 pattern valise equipment was the first attempt to change the infantry's method of carrying ammunition and essential items following the findings of investigative committees in 1865. The private on the left in this 1878 Simkin painting wears the equipment with ammunition pouches on the front that carried 70 rounds. The pouches were initially of black leather but were changed to white later. The criss-crossing of white straps looks complicated but the two main straps that cross his chest are for the canvas haversack and the slimmer strap for his water-bottle. The equipment on his back includes a folded greatcoat that can be seen above his shoulders, and a knapsack attached at waist level.

He is armed with the Martini-Henry rifle which was first issued in 1874. It was six inches shorter than the rifle it replaced (either the Enfield or the Snider) and was breech-loading. The bayonet is the slim socket type, although sergeants had the sword bayonet, both 22 inches long.

The officer, on the right, also has the gauntlet cuffs which are in his case, edged with gold lace. His low blue collar is also edged in gold and has a silver embroidered rank badge. In 1881 the rank badges were sewn onto plaited shoulder cords so that regimental badges of St Andrew and his saltire cross cold be placed each side. He has the undress sporan with black brushes.

Regimental Details | Uniforms

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by Stephen Luscombe