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bonjedward

Need uniforms identified - Belgian Relief Fund humour

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bonjedward

I inherited a photo album from my grandmother, which has these photos taken at a fundraising event for the Belgian Distress Fund. They were taken at the Robertson Park, Renfrew, Scotland. Monty Python humour didn't come from nowhere!

My grandmother remembered being at the event. The man with the bandaged arm, representing a wounded Belgian civilian, got McWhinnie's the butcher to put some blood on it, and lots of women fussed around him, thinking it was real.

I'm interested to hear if people can identify the uniforms. The man in the sailor's uniform must have borrowed it - he was my great-grandfather William Robertson (1872-1952), and was a costing clerk at a shipyard.

I'm particularly interested in the guy in the white uniform. Was he from a colonial regiment, or a sailor? He looks like he could be from southern India, or maybe Africa (Sudan, Somalia?). A former merchant seaman from India I spoke to even suggested Madagascar.

I haven't found out when the event took place - I'm waiting for the relevant local newspapers to be digitised.

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post-115392-0-22882100-1410645939_thumb.

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trajan

You'd be better off reposting under uniforms and cross-reference back to this thread!

Nice photograph, with some serving local(?) lads and some possibly mocked-up others. All with P.1888 bayonets!

The kilted guy at the front is, I think, an Argyll and Sutherlands man. The one above is Black Watch?

Trajan

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trajan

Or you could use the edit function to change the title around. to, e.g. "Need uniforms identified - Belgian Relief Fund humour"

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bonjedward

I posted a few amusing photos of a fund-raising event for the Belgian Distress Fund i

 

and asked if anyone could identify the uniforms. TRAJAN replied "the kilted guy at the front is, I think, an Argyll and Sutherlands man. The one above is Black Watch?", and that some were possibly mocked-up (the sailor's uniform was certainly borrowed).

I'm particularly interested in the guy in the white uniform. Was he from a colonial regiment, or a sailor? He looks like he could be from southern India, or maybe Africa (Sudan, Somalia?). A former merchant seaman from India I spoke to even suggested Madagascar.

Fundraise.jpg

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gordon92

The IDs of the A&SH in front and Black Watch in rear are entirely correct.

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Scalyback

Left over uniforms from the Boer war?

The Scottish guys never change(roughly). However the chap on the far left appears to be more a volunteer uniform.The chap in white a generic uniform for colonial duty for local troops. The chap with the slouch hat appears to be roughly a "Imperial trooper". Sailor boy does give the impression of pre war sailor. Just can't pin it down but the chaps could easily be on Boer war duty rather than great war. The final point and now way an expert but the rilfe appear to the be long version of the rifle rather than the short one.

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4thGordons

The final point and now way an expert but the rilfe appear to the be long version of the rifle rather than the short one.

The rifles are indeed Magazine Lee Enfields (or possibly Metfords). By WWI the majority of the "long Lees" in service were Charger Loading Lee Enfields, which it does not appear these are (whilst I cannot make out the charger bridge CLLE's had foresight protectors and these rifles do not) Having said this, there are plenty of pictures of MLEs and even MLMs in the very early days of the war in the hands of Kitchener troops etc so they were certainly around in the UK. Large numbers of CLLEs served in F&F up to early 1916. So this doesn't help much. BTW the Sht LE was introduced in 1902/3 in its MkI version and 1907 as the MkIII so there was an overlap there too.

This actually reminds me of a recreation of the sorts of pictures you find on Boer War biscuit tins and cigarette cards so I would guess perhaps left-over/recerated uniforms as Scalyback suggests

Chris

Edit: The bandolier of the chap in the slouch hat is of Boer War vintage (see that the cartridges are held individually rather than in chargers of 5 as would later be the case with the 1903 pattern Bandolier) However the A&SH front right appears to have a 1903 pattern belt on.

Edit 2: Sikh soldiers were often shown in uniforms that resemble the one shown so this may be an attempt to recreate that.

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bonjedward

The picture is definitely taken during the First World war, at the same time as the Belgian Distress Fund photos

in the Robertson Park, Renfrew. My grandmother (1906-1992) and her sister (1904-1994) remebered being there. Their father is the one in the borrowed sailor uniform, and would have been in his early 40's, so that looks right. At some time when the local newspapers for the period are available online, I will try to find the exact date. I'm guessing it was early in the war, given the focus on Belgian refugees.

That sounds plausible about the attempt to recreate some kind of colonial uniform with whatever materials they had at hand. I'm guessing he was most likely a lascar seaman - they were often seen on the Clyde (always walking in single file in order of seniority when they went ashore, my dad remembers).

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trajan

The rifles are indeed Magazine Lee Enfields (or possibly Metfords). By WWI the majority of the "long Lees" in service were Charger Loading Lee Enfields, which it does not appear these are (whilst I cannot make out the charger bridge CLLE's had foresight protectors and these rifles do not) Having said this, there are plenty of pictures of MLEs and even MLMs in the very early days of the war in the hands of Kitchener troops etc so they were certainly around in the UK. Large numbers of CLLEs served in F&F up to early 1916. So this doesn't help much. BTW the Sht LE was introduced in 1902/3 in its MkI version and 1907 as the MkIII so there was an overlap there too.

Thanks 4th - I could see they were P.1888's on the end but that was my limit!

Returning to the photograph, I thought that the slouch hat has a rather 'made-up appearance. But the brim seems too narrow even for a scout hat (well, not one of the 1950's-1960's era!)

Trajan

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centurion

I would guess mainly a melange of old Boer war uniforms, volunteer kit and madee uppie bits and pieces. The guy standing in front of the sailor looks as if he is in the Spring 1915 version of the Belgian infantry uniform which would seem plausible if this is a Belgian refugee aid event. The dark gentleman appears to be pretending to be a member of some local African force rather than a lascar seaman as these being employed mainly in the mercantile service wouldn't be uniformed.

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SiegeGunner

I think Bonjedward was suggesting that the dark gentlemen might actually be a Lascar seaman, pressed into service to portray a Colonial soldier.

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centurion

I think Bonjedward was suggesting that the dark gentlemen might actually be a Lascar seaman, pressed into service to portray a Colonial soldier.

Unless he came from Tamil Nadu, not renowned for producing lascar seamen I'd say he was probably a Brit who'd applied the boot polish

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Scalyback

It is his natural skin tone, there was not a rare sight to see other skin colours in port areas. Tiger bay comes to mind.

Great war photo no doubt but the uniforms are fancy dress. Given the K battalions had to scabble around for uniform would the powers that be hand out any useable spares? To the untrained one uniform is the same as another on the day. I stand by my comments and those echoed by Mr C.

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centurion

It is his natural skin tone, there was not a rare sight to see other skin colours in port areas. Tiger bay comes to mind.

Great war photo no doubt but the uniforms are fancy dress. Given the K battalions had to scabble around for uniform would the powers that be hand out any useable spares? To the untrained one uniform is the same as another on the day. I stand by my comments and those echoed by Mr C.

I think you'd not find not many Lascars as dark as that (and I've spent time in India and Cardiff) The guys from Tamil Nadu could be even darker in tone (I've worked with a few) but they didn't have that Kiwi or Cherry Blossom glow

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Scalyback

If it is boot polish they have done a good job!

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bonjedward

I'm pretty sure it's not boot polish! I was in India last year and asked a number of people whether they thought he was Indian. Almost all said his face was clearly that of someone from southern India, but one person, a former merchant seaman himself, suggested possibly from Madagascar (where the first settlers came 1000 years ago from both India and Africa). He could also from around the Horn of Africa, for example British Somaliland or the Sudan.

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Scalyback

On viewing the photograph again the Scot on the platform, why can I not remove from my head "Carry on up the Kyber"!

Port area you are going to get men of every possible ethnic background going. Work your ticket(in that almost literal sense) you will get all over the world. African ports did they care if a chap was a Brit, Yank or Dutch?

Fancy dress with overage chaps for the front. Every single one of them is over 35, possible past service but not enough to get them into the front line.

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