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Remembered Today:

Skinner's horse


gnr.ktrha

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:) Hello,

Does anyone have a copy of the N&MP reprint of the history of Skinner's Horse? Is it a very good history with lots of details and photographs? Is there any mention of an officer called Cracroft?

Many thanks for your time.

Stewart

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  • 5 months later...

:) Hello,

That would be great if you could. He was a Major during the 1880 Afghan War and later was the Col. of the regiment. I understand he died in about 1905 and is buried in Bath.

Regards,

Stewart

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Stewart

An extract from the Bengal Army List January 1863 lists for 3rd Bengal Cavalry a Lieutenant B. Cracroft, late of the 50th N.I.P.H. Appointed to the regiment 15th June 1860 (he appears to have been commissioned 21 Feb 1857) and was appointed adjutant 6th March 1861.

Major Cracroft is referred to as commanding 3 troops and " a wing" of the regiment in September and October 1879.

Major Cracroft appears in the Bengal Army List July 1879 as a squadron commander apparently having been appointed to that position (rank?) 17th January 1878. He is also remarked as being second in command. At this time the commandant of the regiment was Col. G.W. Willock in ('til 1892). Our friend Mr Cracroft does not appear on the list of commandants and therefore only appears to have only reached the position of 2IC.

Hope this helps

Regards

Mike

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:) Hello Mike,

Thank you very much for all the information you have sent. Would you say the book is worth getting? Does it give much details of the Afghan service?

Cracroft's regiment, 50th BNI mutinied when he was with them. He seems to have then served with the local police and several other units until he joined the 3rd Cav. in 1860.

It's it mainly Indian units you are interested in?

Regards,

Stewart

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Hi Stewart

You're most welcome. If you're a fan of Skinner's Horse then I would say yes. It's very much written by a military man and not greatly readable, but it does give a great sense of understanding of the famous Yellow Boys. There are several chapter on Afghan exploits.

I'm an Indian cavalry fan, although I do recreate cavalry for a variety of historical periods. I have long been a fan of Indian cavalry and have now decided to finally get my stuff together for Skinner's Horse. Will sweet tlak some of my mates and I have to field a tent pegging team.

Initially I shall be fielding circa 1885, but will also do Skinner's Horse for the Great War (a mate of mine already does WW1 cavalry). Will post some piccies when ready!

Regards

Mike

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Hello,

Mounted Skill-at-Arms is a lot of fun, where do you put on your displays? Do you have any details of the uniform worn by the 3rd Bengal Lancers in the 1880, or do you know of any photographs. I've checked on line, but can only find one.

Thanks once again for all of you help.

Regards,

Stewart

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Stewart,

If you are looking for uniform details the following might be useful (though I have not read them myself) :

Bowling, A. H.

Indian Cavalry Regiments, 1880-1914

ISBN 085524027X

Publisher: Almark Pub. Co

Carman, W Y

Indian Army Uniforms under the British from the 18th century to 1947. Cavalry

Leonard Hill (Books) Limited, 1961

I have an original copy of the Daniels History of Skinners Horse and though its the only book that covers the history of the period it's far from being as detailed as I would like I know that the WW1 section has a number of errors & omission. I have an interest in Indian Cavalry too.

Regards,

Matthew

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Stewart

Skill at arms is great fun - I do stuff all over the country, but mainly southern England.

I would second Matthew B's suggested reading. A.H. Bowling's book is particularly good for uniform details although it tends to show details later than 1880.

I'm afraid all of my research work has gone into 1st Skinner's Horse but can provide the following:

From 1878 to 1891 references indicate that khaki or drab were worn as full dress. For officers silver lace was worn as first but this changed to gold in 1886. In 1880 I believe a kurta rather than the alkalak was worn. The full dress had dark blue facings. An interesting point to note is that for 3rd SH the lance pennon is blue over yellow. A small picture is produced in Osprey's Bengal Cavalry regiments 1857-1914 from 1885 showing Col. A.R.D. Mackenzie in patrol jacket.

Risaldar-Major Mangal Singh from 1897: http://www.members.tripod.com/~Glosters/MangalSingh3BC.JPG

Gents - I was wondering if you may be able to help me? I'm having the devil's own job sourcing the paggree and kummerbund for my uniform - any thoughts?

Thanks

Mike

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Mike,

Sorry but no - I am an armchair student of the Indian Army, I would have no idea about sourcing uniform items - not things currently in production!

A wild shot - the Indian Army still has a mounted unit called (I think) the 61st Cavalry. Perhaps making some contacts in India might be worth doing to see if any of the kit they use could be useful to you and then getting hold of some surplus? Just a wild shot, as I said. Another mounted unit is what is now called the Presidents Bodyguard, in pre-1947 terms the Govenor-Generals (or Viceroys) Bodygaurd. They still have a mounted full dress uniform.

Regards,

Matthew

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Thanks Matthew.

Both the 61st and President's Bodyguard still turn out in mounted full dress, but unfortunately both regiment's pugree patterns are different to the 1885 Skinner's Horse pattern.

I am following up some contacts in India and hopefully will have some luck!

Regards

Mike

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Hi

Is this your man in the 2nd Afghan War, its a scan from the abridged Official History, the classic work on the subject.

What other campaigns was he in? Maybe he's in one of the Frontier and Overseas Volumes?

scan0050.jpg

Regards

Mart

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:) That's him. Thanks for posting the page, it's great to see something about him. The campaigns he served in were the Sonthal/Santal Campaign of 1855-56, where he was wounded with the 50th BNI as a 2nd Lt. { I can't seem to find any information, reference to this campaign} His regiment was at Nagode in 1857 when they mutineed. At this point he was a Lieutenant. He then served under Maj.Gen Whitlock in Centeral India during the mutiny and was present at the action fought at Punwaree Hieghts. He was MID'ed. I think at this point he was Assisstant Supt. of Supplies of the Civil Commissariat. In June 1858 he was Adjutant of Rewah Contingent, Nagode police. He also did some duties with the British 13th Regiment of foot and the 47th Native Infantry until June 1860, when he was then posted to the 4th Irregular Cavalry, which later became the 3rd Bengal Cavalry. He took part in the 2nd Afghan War and was mentioned in despatches twice. He retired on Full Pay in 1885 as an Hon. Major General.

That is about all I know about his service. He died in Bath in 1909 and is buried in Abbey Cemetery.

I would be interested to know what the unit was doing between 1860 and 1880, when they went to Afghanistan? Or any information on the Sonthal Campaign.

Bowling's book is very good, it gives a fair idea of the uniforms worn at the time, but I would like to see more photo's of the unit. I'm sure there was an Ospery or Men at Arms book on Bengal Cav. Does anyone have this. I'm sure I saw a copy a few years ago, but it has not turned up again in local book shops.

Mike, for the uniform point of view, if you know the colours of the turban etc, why do you not try going into a Indian clothing shop and speak to them there, I understand that may of the items worn by Indian troops were of a traditional pattern, so a Sari shop might be worth a try. They are bound to have contacts in India where the item could still be made/ sourced.

Thank you all so much for all of your assisstance,

Regards,

Stewart

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Hi Stewart

I'll do a little looking in my Indian mutiny Official Histories - Forrest, Revolt in Central India, 1857, The Freedom Struggle and the volumes of papers relating to them, also I'll have a look in Frontiers and Overseas Expeditions. and some PPF Officials It will take time I'm supplying scanned maps to one of the most interesting threads, and I've just listed 30 plus volumes...

It would be worthwhile if you could spell his units in full just to make sure I get the right ones.

Regards

Mart

This is strictly not great war, maybe we should take the discussion offline, unless you can link it in.... Unless people are intrested in me using this to illustrate a small essay on the writing of Official Histories in India and why only 5 were done by India with respect to the Great War, when they produced so much before?

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  • 2 weeks later...

A slight deviation

Having read with great interest the topic with regard to Indian military units,on this thread, it occurred to me that here would be an oportunity for me to give an airing to an item that has had me quessing for years.

In my colection of military badges and appropos Indian units. I have had an item for about 30 yrs and I have never obtained any details thereto.

Description:

A hall-marked, ( Birmingham 1910) Officers' quality Helmet plate. surmounted by King Edw.V11th crown and of the 90th Punjabis. Battle Honours featured are Ava, Burma 1885-87, Afganistan 1878-80. The centre symbol is the seated Burmese Griphon (not sure of proper name for it) Overall size: 6 and a half ins.high" x 6ins. wide. fixings are with 3 sets of (even) hallmarked nuts and washers. It is quite an elegant thing but because it is not a typical British Army item, I have never tried to research it, nor have I had it valued at any time. The item is in perfect condition.

So, fellow members, I would welcome your expert opinions with regard to this item of mine and thereby to satisfy my curiosity. May I thank you in anticipation.

Southern Geordie.

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  • 1 month later...
From 1878 to 1891 references indicate that khaki or drab were worn as full dress. For officers silver lace was worn as first but this changed to gold in 1886. In 1880 I believe a kurta rather than the alkalak was worn. The full dress had dark blue facings. An interesting point to note is that for 3rd SH the lance pennon is blue over yellow. A small picture is produced in Osprey's Bengal Cavalry regiments 1857-1914 from 1885 showing Col. A.R.D. Mackenzie in patrol jacket.

Mike - I came across your post while doing some genalogical research.

Col. A.R.D. Mackenzie is my great-great grandfather. I have a letter written by my grandmother, listing some details, specifically that he was a subaltern in Skinner's Horse and was present at the Sepoy mutiny.

Would it be too much trouble to ask you to scan the picture, and any other information regarding Col. Mackenzie and either post it here or email it to me?

I'd be eternally greatful!

John Fisken

Oak Harbor, WA

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Hello John,

And welcome to the forum :) . Have you seen the photo of G G Gradfather in the Bengal Cavalry Book? I don't have the book myself, but have seen it, he looked a very smart officer. If memory service me, he was on the Staff when the photo was taken. Do you have any photographs of him with his regiment or in uniform, that you would not mind sharing with us?

I will see if I can find out any information regarding him for you.

Regards,

Stewart

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Hello John,

And welcome to the forum :) . Have you seen the photo of G G Gradfather in the Bengal Cavalry Book? I don't have the book myself, but have seen it, he looked a very smart officer. If memory service me, he was on the Staff when the photo was taken. Do you have any photographs of him with his regiment or in uniform, that you would not mind sharing with us?

I will see if I can find out any information regarding him for you.

Regards,

Stewart

I have nothing about him.. in fact, just found out his name this year. He had a son, Mervyn, who was a lawyer in the US and Canada, and spent a lot of time moving around, and left a very sparse obituary. It was from the letter that my grandmother wrote to my father and aunt in 1967 where some details were spelled out.

If I do come across any photos, I'll certainly post them for all of you!

John

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For Southern Geordie. The 90th Punjabis were originally formed in 1799 as The Masulipatam Regiment; became the 2/15th Madras Native Infantry in 1800; the 30th Madras NI Regt in 1924; The 30th regt (5th Burma Battalion) Madras Infantry in 18972; the 30th Burma Infantry in 1901; the 90th Punjabis in 1903; the 1st Battalion, 90th Punjabis in 1918; and the 2nd Battalion 8th Punjab Regiment in 1922.

You will easily see, therefore, why your badgee had a Burmese Chinthe (spelling?) on it - a mythical creature, which also gave it's name to the Chindits of WW2.

Ava was the seat of the Burmese Court and was site of the battle of that name in the Burmese War in 1824, in which the 30th was involved - hence your battle honour. The Afghanistan battle honour is an interesting one. The regiment saw no action in the campaign, but suffered so badly from cold that it's soldiers - recruited from the southern states of the Madras Presidency - were held as an example of southern recruits' unsuitability for campaigning in cold climes. As norhtern India/Afghanistan was the seat of most conflict, this may well have hastened the reduction in recruiting from the south.

In 1885-7, they were back in Burma fighting yet another war against that country. In fact, over 30,000 regular Indian Army troops were involved in pacifying the guerilla war.

In the Great War, the 90th were on the Euphrates in 1915, and spent the whole war in Mespot; in 1919 they found time to fit another campaign in Afghanistan into the diary!

Your badge sounds really nice; I attach scans of the 90th's 'service' badges from Reg. Cox's book, plus a scan of the 8th Punjabi's badge, post 1922. The 90th badge with the circlet roubnd it is the o.r.s version.

post-6673-1177268085.jpg

post-6673-1177268096.jpg

post-6673-1177268107.jpg

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