Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Australian uniform - or is it?


nhclark
 Share

Recommended Posts

This photograph was taken about 1914, and is believed to be that of an Australian. (I've compressed the file to fit within the 100K limit.)

The corrugated iron fence in the background suggests that it could well be!

But can anyone help me, please, with a more positive identification? Perhaps even a unit? (The leather gaiters suggest a light horseman to me, but I may be completely up the creek.)

Many thanks as always.

Noel

post-16913-087807200 1295934621.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Noel,

The slouch hat looks a bit funny...not a classic Australian style that I am used to seeing. The indent is not deep enough and the brim seems too small.

In regard to this style of felt hat, I believe that South Africans used one and that there may have been a British regiment who used them pre-war. I have no doubt that there are Forum Members who specialise in these things and will set us straight. Suspect that they would like to see an enlargement of the front hat badge.

Corrugated Iron was invented in the U.K. by a builder.

Regards, Peter

Melbourne, Australia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fiji Volunteer Force C 1911? I've a feeling that they had a diamond shaped badge at this time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Corrugated Iron was invented in the U.K. by a builder.

Called Palmer. C 1820 however it wasn't until about the 1840s that galvanized corrugated iron (using a French process) became available - it was about this time that it was first introduced into Australia (the word galvanized just seems to lend itself to an Australian accent) . If a corrugated iron fence means in Australia my compost heap is in the Antipodes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd love to expand on the close connection between the Schism in the Church of Scotland, mid 19th Century and corrugated iron. Hence ' tin kirks', but that might be considered off topic. Many ex parishioners emigrated to Australia and their sons served in the Great war.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I have this vision of queues of Scotsmen arriving in Australia, clutching little packages of wriggly tin to make themselves feel at home.

And on Burns' Night, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'Slouch' hats have been around for a long while.They seem to have become popular in the 1870s for campaigning. Many units in South Africa used them(including SA units- if you see what I mean) and as a result in in the period before the war they were adopted widely in the British Army including the volunteer forces. They were also adopted by the Irish Volunteers!

In this case the badge on the front is very unusual - mostly badges were worn on the turned up flap. It also has a simple hatband rather than a pleated pugri. As you say the brim is very narrow almost as if it is a civilian hat. The uniform is khaki drill therfore tropics or hot area. I don't think Sam Browne and whistle on cross strap was common in Australia. The anecdotal evidence of it being an Australian would fit with either Fiji or South Africa (as well as Australia). Leather leggings common for officers and mounted men and also frequently worn in civilian dress at the time. The badge of the Fiji Defence Force was a 'star' around the royal crest in the Second World War (as worn by staff officers and brigadiers today) with FIJI in capitals below it - giving the impresion of a 'diamond' shape. This could well be an earlier Fijian badge with a scroll instead.Have a look at http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-badges/fiji.htm for comparison.

Greg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Adding another slant.

It has the rough shape of the Hauraki cap badge but not identical. The Kiwi mounted troops were known to wear slouch hats in a similar fashion.

Cheers

Grant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies so far.

Here's the bloke's head showing the badge (uncompressed file). It's the best I can do. None of my photo software can do anything to get any detail of the badge whatsoever. It looks to me that the badge is mounted on a separate piece of felt that has then been attached to the hat.

Agree about the hat - it could even be your standard Fedora 'adapted' for use in a uniform?

post-16913-088107300 1296005378.jpg

The fence behind the bloke has all the appearance to me of a chook run - the tin at the bottom to stop them scratching their way out and the wire mesh above to stop them flying out.

I've sought any possible further information about the photograph itself and will report back if anything comes in.

Thank you again,

Noel

[Edit] The other things that occur to me now after further reading are that:

- shouldn't the frog on the belt should be on the chap's left hand side (for a sword) rather than on the right (for a pistol perhaps)?

- why would someone wear a Sam Browne belt with a whistle?

- weren't Sam Browne belts issued to officers rather than men?

and a few more besides that would display my total ignorance of things, but put together lead me to ask the supplementary question: Is this in fact more likely to be a police uniform rather than an army uniform? Which is getting off-topic but I'll ask the question anyway... [End of Edit]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The man is an officer, its not just he Sam Browne, he is wearing an officer's uniform with the open collar, shirt and tie. The cane/walking stick is also something of a give away

Junior officers carried whistles to signal to their men in the din of battle

BTW you need to remove this fixation with corrugated iron being associated with Australia - chicken runs made of this with chicken wire over the top were/are almost universal. You could find similar in Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia, Sir Jeremy Clarkesonland etc - any part of the Empire

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My apologies to all concerned. This could be the last time that I will offer to try to assist someone...

It turns out that rather more is known about this chap than was originally provided to me.

His name was Cedric Charles Spear, born in Yorkshire in 1889 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1909. Ended up in Christchurch. It is a simple matter to consult the on-line sources and show that no-one of that name served with either the Australian or New Zealand forces in the First World War - at least, not overseas.

Apparently, previous research has suggested that the uniform may be a South African uniform of some sort, although Spear had no known association with that country.

I don't think that we need to spend any more time on it.

Thank you one and all, and my apologies once again.

Noel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My apologies to all concerned. This could be the last time that I will offer to try to assist someone...

It turns out that rather more is known about this chap than was originally provided to me.

His name was Cedric Charles Spear, born in Yorkshire in 1889 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1909. Ended up in Christchurch. It is a simple matter to consult the on-line sources and show that no-one of that name served with either the Australian or New Zealand forces in the First World War - at least, not overseas.

Married in 1914 - family still live in New Zealand

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...