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Remembered Today:

Tropical jacket and trousers - suitable for WW1 or not?


Andrew Upton
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Reading through an old thread which is below:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...showtopic=7987g

brought to mind something that's been in my collection for a few years now. This was a tropical jacket-trousers-cap grouping that I bought, but have always wondered if it was of WW1 date/suitable for WW1 reenactment or of later WW2 or ? date. It seems to fit several of the characteristics making it suitable for WW1 from the earlier thread, but would be interested in a few other opinions..

Tunic is slightly odd insignia-wise, bearing Kings-crown RA buttons and RA collar badges, but having Palestine Police shoulder-titles - I don't know if these have been replaced at some time, but if they have they fit the sewn holes very well, so it's a bit of a mystery. It's numbered 808231 inside, which doesn't match anything on the WW1 MIC's, and correspondance with the Palestine Police Old Comrades Association soon after I bought the grouping said this number was not one of theirs, so that's a blank too. The material of the tunic and trousers is a perfect match, and the cap has the same scribbled mark on the liner as is on the tunics field-dressing pocket, so I am certain in my mind that it is not an assembled group.

Is the grouping suitable for WW1 display/reenactment? And can anyone shed any light on the unusual insignia and other oddities?

Thanks in advance.

Plenty more pictures to follow.

post-2039-1167676768.jpg

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Back of tunic:

post-2039-1167677403.jpg

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Collar detail:

post-2039-1167677494.jpg

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Interior of jacket:

post-2039-1167677551.jpg

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Field-dressing pocket markings:

post-2039-1167677662.jpg

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Inside number, also shows split-ring attached RA Kings-crown buttons:

Belt hook attachments:

post-2039-1167677715.jpg

post-2039-1167677788.jpg

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Stamped markings behind belt hook attacment:

post-2039-1167677856.jpg

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Pencilled "33" behind second belt hook attachment:

post-2039-1167677932.jpg

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Lanyard detail on right shoulder:

post-2039-1167678075.jpg

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Lanyard and whistle on left shoulder:

post-2039-1167678172.jpg

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Bullion Sergeants stripe found in pocket:

post-2039-1167678293.jpg

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Pocket detail:

post-2039-1167678419.jpg

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V-ended/Lancer cuff detail:

Collar detail:

post-2039-1167678494.jpg

post-2039-1167678556.jpg

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Trouser front:

Fly detail:

post-2039-1167678617.jpg

post-2039-1167678670.jpg

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Buttons to rear (note - when purchased, most of the dished brass buttons around the waist were missing, but the holes were still clearly visible, so I replaced them):

post-2039-1167678726.jpg

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Detail of trouser pockets from exterior:

post-2039-1167678870.jpg

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Marks on left seat where something/s that was stitched in place has been untidily removed:

post-2039-1167678943.jpg

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Nearly identical mark by right pocket:

post-2039-1167679065.jpg

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Stamped mark to trousers waist interior:

Cap exterior left:

Cap exterior right:

Cap interior:

post-2039-1167679124.jpg

post-2039-1167679188.jpg

post-2039-1167679230.jpg

post-2039-1167679300.jpg

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Same mark on cap as on tunics field-dressing pocket:

Cap-badge attachment, interior:

post-2039-1167679353.jpg

post-2039-1167679411.jpg

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Last picture - detail of cap buttons, all Kings crown RA (the five on the front of the tunic are all very large ball versions):

Any help you can give would be appreciated!

post-2039-1167679460.jpg

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Andrew,

I've not done nearly as much research into KD as I've done SD.

However, I believe that these date no earlier than the 1920's. Although the cut of jacket and trouser are very similar to the patterns that came-out in/about 1906 so for reenactor work might be good.

Is there the double stitch around the armhole? I can't make out any.

I hate to base some of this on the color, as my computer never presents a very clear picture, but in the early 1920' the color of KD was universally changed from one that is very tan/brown to one of a more pale color. To me that looks like yours.

Also in the 1920's the buttons were changed from the universal use of Zinc or Black Japanned steel for trousers to Brass. In fact brass became the metal of choice for most garmenst such as over-alls etc.

The removed stitch lines might be an indication of label removal again another sign of postwar.

Brass buttons were used on pantaloons very early on but are dropped from the PVCN before the war genuine ones on WWI vintage clothing are only rarely encountered.

Hope this helps,

Joe

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Andrew,

I've not done nearly as much research into KD as I've done SD.

However, I believe that these date no earlier than the 1920's. Although the cut of jacket and trouser are very similar to the patterns that came-out in/about 1906 so for reenactor work might be good.

Is there the double stitch around the armhole? I can't make out any.

I hate to base some of this on the color, as my computer never presents a very clear picture, but in the early 1920' the color of KD was universally changed from one that is very tan/brown to one of a more pale color. To me that looks like yours.

Also in the 1920's the buttons were changed from the universal use of Zinc or Black Japanned steel for trousers to Brass. In fact brass became the metal of choice for most garmenst such as over-alls etc.

The removed stitch lines might be an indication of label removal again another sign of postwar.

Brass buttons were used on pantaloons very early on but are dropped from the PVCN before the war genuine ones on WWI vintage clothing are only rarely encountered.

Hope this helps,

Joe

Thanks for the reply.

"Very similar" sounds good from my point of view, as the jacket could have been tailored for me! Bar the trousers being a little long in the leg, the cap is a good fit too, so from what you've said it probably could be used as WW1, with the interpretation that its private purchase to explain the slight anomalies.

I don't know what you mean by double stitch around the armhole, do you have an example I can compare to? If you mean using two lines of stitching to hold the sleeve to the body of the jacket at the armpit then I can see only one line of machine stitching, but this seems to have been lightly hand stitched in place first.

Through a combination of the cameras flash and monitor brightness the colour of the pictures makes the material look considerably brighter than it does in person, although the material has faded lighter over much of the outside, a process not helped by the fact it appears to have been heavily laundered before storage, and is still very crisply starched in most places!

Having looked carefully again, the two most left and right stitch marks (about 2.5 x 0.5 cm) appear to be the lower marks from two massive belt loops (which appear to have been about three inches long - a 1908 pattern belt could just be used) that have been removed. The other stitch mark measures 2 x 1 cm - a bit small for a label!

Interestingly, having double checked my work, all the buttons at the waist were missing when I acquired the trousers, and I simply replaced them with ones which matched those on the fly - however, those are all made by different makers, and there are some rust spots to the right of the fly - perhaps someone at a later date converting the trousers from button waist to having belt loops, and replacing the by now rusty japanned buttons at the fly??? This would fit with the grouping having been used by more than one owner, but is of course completely unprovable...

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I don't know what you mean by double stitch around the armhole, do you have an example I can compare to? If you mean using two lines of stitiching to hold the sleeve to the body of the jacket at the armpit then I can see only one line of machine stitching, but this seems to have been lightly hand stitched in place first.

Through a combination of the cameras flash and monitor brightness the colour of the pictures makes the material look considerably brighter than it does in person, although the material has faded lighter over much of the outside, a process not helped by the fact it appears to have been heavily laundered before storage, and is still very crisply starched in most places!

Andrew,

When I say double stitch I was talking about the felling stitch that is very similar to the one found on the SD Jacket. If it is there then it points to maybe WW1.

The color thing is really tough. There are too many variables to be certain and my call was strictly a subjective call. Holding WWI KD next to KD made in the 20's and 30's after the change in the Khaki there is a telling difference, but the forum posting of quick photos is not the best way to make a determination.

If belts loops were present then I would say this probably is a postwar feature, although I'm uncertain if postwar trousers had this feature (wartime were not supposed too). I've seen postwar shorts with a similar feature so I'm assuming at some point they might have.

Hope this helps,

Joe Sweeney

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Andrew,

"...It's numbered 808231 inside, which doesn't match anything on the WW1 MIC's, and correspondance with the Palestine Police Old Comrades Association soon after I bought the grouping said this number was not one of theirs..."

My first thought was, have you considered checking any Indian Army listings?

A friend of mine once picked up someting similar with (IIRC) Indian Army Ordnance Corps badges and buttons*.

While I yield to Joe's greater knowledge of service dress (serge or KD), I must say that, given the cost of tailoring 'Out East', 'bazaar made' goods may not (IMHO) be totally out of the picture.

Tom

* That's not to say his badges were 'right'.

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