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Scarlet tunic 1881-1914


Brian37
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This tunic is a real puzzle! It is the normal scarlet melton cloth and the sleeve rank is recognisable as that of a Lt. Colonel or full colonel. It would appear to be from 1881 to 1914 by the Austrian knot of the sleeve rank. Now it gets tricky. I don't know any scarlet tunic which has gold lace facings across the chest nor indeed that have a hook and eye closure to the front. The back is also difficult because I have not seen the gold lacing running vertically on both sides of the back.

Anyone with any ideas?

post-9594-1209751369.jpg

post-9594-1209751399.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

This tunic is probably Royal Engineers bandsman, i have one nearly identical with except 5 facing tapes instead of your six and single row tapes on cuff instead of your double row, yours is very similar but not quite as richly decorated as mine, but mine also has the very rare serjeant trumpeters chevrons/trumpets badge and grenade,gold cord eppaulettes and more intricate lace to the tails on the lace down the back and at the bottoms of the front lace at the opening. mine is named to Mcnulty Royal Engineers however i have found no details about him yet. The lace seems to be of identical pattern as these vary regiment to regiment. Cheers Ian.

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This tunic is a real puzzle! It is the normal scarlet melton cloth and the sleeve rank is recognisable as that of a Lt. Colonel or full colonel. It would appear to be from 1881 to 1914 by the Austrian knot of the sleeve rank. Now it gets tricky. I don't know any scarlet tunic which has gold lace facings across the chest nor indeed that have a hook and eye closure to the front. The back is also difficult because I have not seen the gold lacing running vertically on both sides of the back.

Anyone with any ideas?

Could it be Royal Marine Light Infantry Director of Music circa 1910-14? I seem to recall that they had something similar to this.

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This tunic is probably Royal Engineers bandsman, i have one nearly identical with except 5 facing tapes instead of your six and single row tapes on cuff instead of your double row, yours is very similar but not quite as richly decorated as mine, but mine also has the very rare serjeant trumpeters chevrons/trumpets badge and grenade,gold cord eppaulettes and more intricate lace to the tails on the lace down the back and at the bottoms of the front lace at the opening. mine is named to Mcnulty Royal Engineers however i have found no details about him yet. The lace seems to be of identical pattern as these vary regiment to regiment. Cheers Ian.

May I ask, are the trumpets and grenade superimposed on the chevrons?

And may we have a photo, please?

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Is it possibly a Royal North West Mounted Police officer's uniform? From 1886 to 1904 (1904 being date of their reciving the "Royal") the North West Mounted Police marked thier officers ranks by the use of the Austrian Knot on the cuff. An Inspector wore one, a Superintendent wore two, while an Assistant Commissioner and Commisioner both wore three. Each rank had other indicators on the collar in the way of a crown and/or stars of the order of bath. I'm not sure of the exact date the RNWMP added the blue collar patches to their NCO and Constable ranks, but the officers were wearing Blue Collars and Cuffs, I believe around the time they became "Royal." The gold lace on the front is similar to the lacing the officers of the NWMP often sported.

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Thanks for all of the contributions. It still remains something of a mystery. Have checked out the volunteer band on the net but nothing looks similar, The only thing I have seen is one of the Beetles album covers!

Will try to research the other suggestions and will post a reply if I find an answer.

Brian

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Hello Brian,

I don't want to be a real party pooper, but this style of jacket, inclusive of all its finery, was very popular with high class hotels, both here and in the USA. There doorman, bell-boys, lift attendants, etc;, all wore similar attire.

Also, local society bands, police bands, fire brigade bands, factory bands, local village bands... once again wore similar attire.

If its military connected, it will have the units buttons.

Sorry to be so negative, but this form of jacket is not always military, even though most people convince themselves that it is..

Seph

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Hi Seph,

Must be military as the rank on the cuffs is attributed to the Cardington regulations of 1881 and is that ofr a Lt. Col or full Colonel. I have an identical cuff rank from a Royal Welch Fusiliers. This is a Majors ranking, but the tunic inquestion has a set of eyes below the last chevron.

I cannot see the Victorian army allowing doormen to wear such sleeve ranking.

Regarding buttons. There are none as it is a hook and eye closure, which in the Victorian army is quite common and I have some in my collection i.e. Rifle Brigade, and some Cavalry regiments.

My belief is that this is a tunic of the director of music for one of the regimental bands

Regards

Brian

post-9594-1211050247.jpg

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Hi Seph,

Must be military as the rank on the cuffs is attributed to the Cardington regulations of 1881 and is that ofr a Lt. Col or full Colonel. I have an identical cuff rank from a Royal Welch Fusiliers. This is a Majors ranking, but the tunic inquestion has a set of eyes below the last chevron.

I cannot see the Victorian army allowing doormen to wear such sleeve ranking.

Regarding buttons. There are none as it is a hook and eye closure, which in the Victorian army is quite common and I have some in my collection i.e. Rifle Brigade, and some Cavalry regiments.

My belief is that this is a tunic of the director of music for one of the regimental bands

Regards

Brian

I'm also of the opinion of Seph, that it could be a hotel porter/doorman.

If you compare the quality of the two uniforms there appears to be a marked difference.

OR's quality, so the sleeve rank seems out of place and the lace look's a little cheap.

Look's like the sort of uniform a bandsman would wear in a Chaplin movie.

Only my opinion and I'm far from an expert, it's also very difficult to tell quality from a photo.

If we could see the collar in detail it may help us to decide.

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Must be military as the rank on the cuffs is attributed to the Cardington regulations of 1881

A. I don't know any scarlet tunic which has gold lace facings across the chest nor indeed that have a hook and eye closure to the front.

B. a hook and eye closure, which in the Victorian army is quite common and I have some in my collection

Two queries: what are the Cardington Regulations, please, and

are not A. and B. incompatible regarding hook and eye closure?

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Dress Regulations 1900 don't have a pattern for that jacket. I believe, Dress Uniform changed very little after the 1900 regulations up to 1914.

For the Royal Military School of Music, Commandant ; uniform and horse funiture of his rank. Adjutant and Quartermaster will wear the uniform laid down in paragraphs 144-160 for Garrison Quartermaster.

This could be [again just a guess]

a) Territorial Battalion with little regard to the wishes of Whitehall, before WWI the Volunteer Force had a great variation of dress.

B) Something Victorian that doesn't quite fit the description laid down in the Dress Regulations, made by the local taylor.

c) Servants/Employee's dress to impress the peasants.

Hopefully it's not 'C', if it is, I would think the chances of finding any info are akin to rainbow gold.

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Hello Brian,

I don't want to be a real party pooper, but this style of jacket, inclusive of all its finery, was very popular with high class hotels, both here and in the USA. There doorman, bell-boys, lift attendants, etc;, all wore similar attire.

Also, local society bands, police bands, fire brigade bands, factory bands, local village bands... once again wore similar attire.

If its military connected, it will have the units buttons.

Sorry to be so negative, but this form of jacket is not always military, even though most people convince themselves that it is..

Seph

Seph,

I have definitely seen a colour illustration (I think 'Payne' or 'Stadden') of the Portsmouth band of the RMLI wearing something very similar to this (i.e. gold braid across chests and no buttons) in 1914 with spike topped white helmets. As I know you are a RM enthusiast are you able to check that out?

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Must be military as the rank on the cuffs is attributed to the Cardington regulations of 1881

A. I don't know any scarlet tunic which has gold lace facings across the chest nor indeed that have a hook and eye closure to the front.

B. a hook and eye closure, which in the Victorian army is quite common and I have some in my collection

Two queries: what are the Cardington Regulations, please, and

are not A. and B. incompatible regarding hook and eye closure?

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Sorry should have been Cardwell reforms not Cardington which reorganised the British army into regional units rather than the former regiments of the line. This brought about an amalgamation of some regiments and a change to uniforms.

The two statements appear to be incongruous, but in the first I state I don't know of any scarlet tunics with hook and eye closure ( this is still true, but it is not inconceivable that there may be some ). It is true to say that the Victorian army did possess hook and eye closures in particular to cavalry and hussars and also all of the rifle regiments, The rifles did not wear scarlet but a green black tunic

Brian

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Sorry should have been Cardwell reforms not Cardington which reorganised the British army into regional units rather than the former regiments of the line. This brought about an amalgamation of some regiments and a change to uniforms.

The two statements appear to be incongruous, but in the first I state I don't know of any scarlet tunics with hook and eye closure ( this is still true, but it is not inconceivable that there may be some ). It is true to say that the Victorian army did possess hook and eye closures in particular to cavalry and hussars and also all of the rifle regiments, The rifles did not wear scarlet but a green black tunic

Brian

Brian, I think you are being teased a bit. I suspect that Grumpy knew you meant the 1881 'Cardwell Reforms', he has been studying the uniforms of that period for a few years now and he will tell you that he has published some of what he has learned. I agree regarding your comment about hooks and eyes and I think it is probable that this is the uniform of a director of music, possibly of the RMLI, although I am not certain.

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Seph,

I have definitely seen a colour illustration (I think 'Payne' or 'Stadden') of the Portsmouth band of the RMLI wearing something very similar to this (i.e. gold braid across chests and no buttons) in 1914 with spike topped white helmets. As I know you are a RM enthusiast are you able to check that out?

Sent you a PM regarding this one Bob :D

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Brian, I think you are being teased a bit. I suspect that Grumpy knew you meant the 1881 'Cardwell Reforms', he has been studying the uniforms of that period for a few years now and he will tell you that he has published some of what he has learned. I agree regarding your comment about hooks and eyes and I think it is probable that this is the uniform of a director of music, possibly of the RMLI, although I am not certain.

Not really teasing: I was frightened that I had missed something about uniform changes [well, I certainly have, but not, apparently, Cardington!]

As for the tunic, it does look a bit second rate. OK, it has had a hard time over the years, but it compares very unfavourably with kosher officer and First class staff sergeant garments in terms of apparent cloth weight, texture, and colour. Jury is out, but I would not buy it.

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