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DapperDave
Posted (edited)

Has anyone seen or handled an original Indian/Sikh kurta tunic from the Great War or even pre-War period? Has anyone ever encountered a kullah or pagri conical caps and head wraps from the same period?

 

I've been searching for years to see or even buy an original of any of the items above, but it's almost as if they've all vanished :(

 

Thank you! :D

 

- Dave

indians-930x600.jpg

dc6aa07f499d1c33f4511017902cc183--indian-army-military-uniforms.jpg

Edited by DapperDave

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Dave,

I recall seeing an Imperial War Museum panorama-type British India display showing figures of Officers being served by Indian servants. The latter figures were realistically clothed in khaki cotton uniforms, but I am hazy on their headwear - it was a decade or more, ago.

I collect medal groups to Officers of the IA and IARO, but the only piece of uniform I have managed to acquire, has been an Officer's Swagger Stick, with a silver tip showing a Railway Regt., and the Officer's name...

Indeed, I believe much of the type of thing which you are searching for, has simply disappeared, sad to say. My own father was a 2AIF Officer with the MC, yet the little which remained of his uniforms would have been pitched out by my older brother, had I not rescued things like his swagger stick, summer uniform tunic, white tie and tails - and of course his medals.

(Silver medals to Indians also tend not to have survived, as opposed to, say, bronze 15 Stars and Victory Medals...)

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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DapperDave
4 minutes ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

Dear Dave,

I recall seeing an Imperial War Museum panorama-type British India display showing figures of Officers being served by Indian servants. The latter figures were realistically clothed in khaki cotton uniforms, but I am hazy on their headwear - it was a decade or more, ago.

I collect medal groups to Officers of the IA and IARO, but the only piece of uniform I have managed to acquire, has been an Officer's Swagger Stick, with a silver tip showing a Railway Regt., and the Officer's name...

Indeed, I believe much of the type of thing which you are searching for, has simply disappeared, sad to say. My own father was a 2AIF Officer with the MC, yet the little which remained of his uniforms would have been pitched out by my older brother, had I not rescued things like his swagger stick, summer uniform tunic, white tie and tails - and of course his medals.

(Silver medals to Indians also tend not to have survived, as opposed to, say, bronze 15 Stars and Victory Medals...)

Kindest regards,

Kim.

 

Hi Kim,

Thank you for your reply. What you say makes sense. After so much time and perhaps chaos and turmoil in other countries, these things vanish. Such a shame. Hopefully (wishful thinking) I'll come across some original WW1 Indian items. I'm glad you saved your ancestor's things. Same here and now they're carefully protected and preserved. 

 

Best,

- Dave

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Dave,

I couldn't agree more.

In fact I also saved (no one else in the family was particularly interested, especially in the research angle), many of my grandfather's things, including his MC, ED group (W. F. Lindsay, D Coy Cdr 53 Bn AIF and wounded at Perone, 1 Sep 1918: MC).

Having said that, I not only hope, but am pretty sure that you will a la longue, find at least a piece or two of what you are looking for. Money talks!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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Steven Broomfield

Just to state what you probably already know, but none of the chaps in your photos are Sikh (except possibly the bloke rear left of the upper picture, having a drink), and there's no special need to refer to 'Indian/Sikh' - Sikhs were/are Indian* and wear/wore the same kit.

 

* Sounds like a sketch from Goodness Gracious Me.:mellow:

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DapperDave
13 hours ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

Dear Dave,

I couldn't agree more.

In fact I also saved (no one else in the family was particularly interested, especially in the research angle), many of my grandfather's things, including his MC, ED group (W. F. Lindsay, D Coy Cdr 53 Bn AIF and wounded at Perone, 1 Sep 1918: MC).

Having said that, I not only hope, but am pretty sure that you will a la longue, find at least a piece or two of what you are looking for. Money talks!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

 

I'm not sure if there's another way of replying without quoting, but that's some very interesting family history. A while ago I found an entire grouping of someone who served in the American WAVES and sent it to our town's historical society. Only weeks later a contemporary of this woman reached out and explained that they had known each other during the Second World War. It was a pretty special moment and makes me glad to 'save' this stuff :D

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DapperDave
4 hours ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Just to state what you probably already know, but none of the chaps in your photos are Sikh (except possibly the bloke rear left of the upper picture, having a drink), and there's no special need to refer to 'Indian/Sikh' - Sikhs were/are Indian* and wear/wore the same kit.

 

* Sounds like a sketch from Goodness Gracious Me.:mellow:

 

Hi Steven, I'm glad you brought this to my attention because I was actually unaware that none of them are Sikh. I wasn't sure if they were kitted out with the same equipment and uniform ensemble. Always good to learn! Thank you :)

 

- Dave

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Steven Broomfield

Top picture are mostly Muslims of one sort or another. The one centre, facing to our right, is probably an Afridi (Pathan), while the rest are mostly other types of Pathans from the Frontier. The lower picture may well be Punjabi Muslims.

 

Sikhs would not have a kullah (the pointed cap worn under the pugaree (sticking up in the photos), and would almost always be bearded.

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Maureene

"Turbans of the Indian Army" by Peter Suciu MilitarySunHelmets.com. Provides details of the various styles and includes photos. 

 

There are some links on the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Indian Army, to images of items of Indian Army uniforms, although most are from periods other than WW1. 

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Army#Uniforms

 

Cheers

Maureen

 

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