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Remembered Today:

Is this the RHA/ RFA blue dress uniform please.My Grandad 15, 1902.

Bren Hodges

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He appears to be a Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) gunner in undress working frock (a loose fitting jacket) with shoulder chains to protect against sword cuts.  He wears the ball shaped buttons and ‘cap lines’ (stout coloured cords that would in full dress be attached to his fur cap) typical of RHA.  The brass collar grenades were adopted from 1881 and his headdress is the pill box forage cap that was gradually replaced from 1900 although the RHA abroad kept it for at least another 5-years.  The frock was very much pre-khaki field dress at the time, and in barracks the iconic, braided waist length jacket was worn instead.

All-in-all the image dates approximately to between 1890 and 1899, although it could extend a few years beyond that in India especially.  As a 15-year old he is probably a Boy Trumpeter.

I enclose images of a similar garment from around 40-years later when it was worn only in barracks rather than in the field.




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22 minutes ago, Bren Hodges said:

It is about 1902 as when he first joined, the regiment!

That makes sense, his uniform suggests India to me for the reasons that I’ve explained, do you know where he was based?  Blue woollen uniform was still worn in the winter months there, whereas elsewhere drab khaki was issued instead.
If he was effectively masquerading as an 18-year old then he wasn’t necessarily a trumpeter and could fulfil any of the roles laid down for an RHA gunner at that time. 

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4 hours ago, Bren Hodges said:

I believe he was based at Ipswitch at the time, what would the braids on the jacket be as not on your pic, thank you 

Like the enclosed.


He cannot have been at Ipswich when that photo was taken, as shoulder chains were not worn at Home establishment stations during that period. If you can find a service record for him it will list his stations. I suspect that he went to India from Ipswich (which latter was probably Colchester garrison in reality).




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No says Ipswitch,  then posted but doesn't say where.

Then he finished 1905  and had 9 yrs as reserve, called back in 1914.

Was a Bombadier!!

Home in 15 as time finished.

called back and was gassed at Passchrndael Nov 17.

Luckily survived  till 1940.


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Yes it seems that there was an artillery barracks in Ipswich.  Originally intended for Cavalry it was constructed in 1796 and housed 1,500 men. Located on 9¼ acres of land in St Matthews Parish, and bordered by St Matthew’s Street to the south, Anglesea Road to the north, Berners Street to the east, and Orford Street to the west.  The nearby Gymnasium Street, was probably named after the troops' gym. 


“The brick buildings of the barracks stood on three sides of the parade ground. An officers’ mess stood along one side flanked at either end by barracks for the troops. Ipswich was well used to having soldiers stationed within its limits but it was the first time that permanent accommodation had been constructed for them.”


”The first regiment to move in were the Queen’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards, but later the cavalry made way for artillery with units of both the Royal Field Artillery and the Royal Horse Artillery stationed there well into the 20th century. St Matthew’s Church became the garrison place of worship, with troops parading through the streets to the church each Sunday morning.”

“The site was sold to Ipswich Corporation in 1929 which demolished the barracks a year later to make way for council homes.  All that remains of the site now are the entrance gate posts, while a few sections of its boundary walls can be found in surrounding gardens, some apparently with tethering rings for horses still set into them.”


The uniform jacket with its shoulder chains must have been taken at a subsequent posting for the reasons I’ve explained.  You cannot always rely on annotation on the back of a photo, as it’s often written years afterward when memories are dimmed, or by a later relative unaware of the full facts.





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