Ready for the European War, 1914

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Ready for the European War, 1914

Post  Sean on Sat 27 Mar 2010, 6:47 pm

At the outbreak of the Great War, a considerable number of Indian units were shipped to France to fight the Germans. Whilst their KD uniforms may have been useful in the summer sun, I'll bet they weren't popular come the autumn and winter.

http://i62.servimg.com/u/f62/12/22/09/10/232_0010.jpg
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Re: Ready for the European War, 1914

Post  buistR on Wed 05 Jan 2011, 6:31 pm

Yes poor devils - it wasn't really their war and certainly not their climate. The Indian infantry divisions were withdrawn from France in October 1915 (so they were spared a second winter in the trenches) and sent to Egypt to fight the Turks. Their training and experience was far more suited to Middle-Eastern conditions, although there was something of a crisis of conscience amongst some Muslim sepoys when they found themselves fighting the Sultan.

I wonder which regiment this was. At this stage most Indian soldiers did not wear badges on their headdresses (although their British officers did). The only regimental distinction, once the colourful turbans and sashes of peacetime were discarded, was usually brass numerals on the shoulder straps of the long kurta shirt/blouses shown.

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Re: Ready for the European War, 1914

Post  Animal on Sat 08 Jan 2011, 11:46 am

Weren't some Indian units also sent to the Salonika front?

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Macedonia honours

Post  wfrad on Sun 09 Jan 2011, 3:05 am

Macedonian battle Honours for Indian Regts,
2nd Rajput [Queen Victoria’s Own] Light Infantry
39th Garhwal Rifles
69th Punjabis
89th Punjabis

Also a battle honour that tends to be forgotten.
The 36th Sikhs were at the Siege of Tsingtao, a Germany colony in China.

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Re: Ready for the European War, 1914

Post  buistR on Sun 09 Jan 2011, 6:44 am

Thanks for that WF. The Macedonian campaign was unfairly labelled as a sideshow and it is difficult now to identify which British and British Empire units were involved. Mind you the so-called "Gardeners of Salonica" (a cruel jibe suggesting that they spent the war pottering around in relative safety) were a very cosmopolitan lot. The Army of the Orient included cossacks, zouaves, highlanders, evzones, Moroccan spahis, Serbs, Italians, Senegalese and even Vietnamese (Tirailleurs Tonkinese).

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Regimental buckles

Post  mconrad on Sun 09 Oct 2011, 6:29 am

This one is interesting because it shows men wearing regimental belt buckles. I doubt we'll ever get a photo with enough detail to read such a buckle. I wonder if this order of dress is something like "parade dress on campaign," given the buckles, what may be a spot of color on the fringe at the top of the turbans, and the ribbon on the halvidar's breast. Shoes could use some polish, though.

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dress

Post  wfrad on Sun 09 Oct 2011, 7:49 am

Looks like summer drill order. Most illustrations I've seen with that type of buckle for drill order pre-date 1914.

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Gotta be 1914.

Post  mconrad on Tue 18 Oct 2011, 12:27 am

wfrad wrote:Looks like summer drill order. Most illustrations I've seen with that type of buckle for drill order pre-date 1914.

Yeah, very typical for commercial photographers to use pre-war photos to depict 1914 events. But in this case I see the French civilians poking their heads over the soldiers' shoulders. No doubt in my mind it's France in late 1914.

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MConrad
Maryland

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France 1914

Post  wfrad on Tue 18 Oct 2011, 9:38 am

I don't disagree,
I just haven't seen many pictures with this buckle for 1914 service in France, mainly the 1903 buckle.
Considering the rate of mobilization it wouldn't be surprising to see them in the '88 Slade Wallas equipment.

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