Indian Corps in France, World War I

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Indian Corps in France, World War I

Post  mconrad on Tue 31 May 2011, 3:51 am

From Gallica, a press photo from World War One. One of these men has the extra cloth at the shoulder and armpit, which I have heard keeps the uniform cleaner when shooting (oily rifle butts and all). That would make this man a left-handed shooter.

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Re: Indian Corps in France, World War I

Post  Sean on Tue 31 May 2011, 6:02 pm

I thought it was also for protection when carrying the Lee Enfield at the slope.

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Is "at the slope" in the British army on the left shoulder?

Post  mconrad on Wed 01 Jun 2011, 12:25 am

Sean wrote:I thought it was also for protection when carrying the Lee Enfield at the slope.

Is "at the slope" in the British army on the left shoulder? All I know is the US Army, where there is a left shoulder arms command, but very rarely used (virtually never) compared to right shoulder arms.

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Re: Indian Corps in France, World War I

Post  Sean on Wed 01 Jun 2011, 3:43 am

Yes, at the slope was on the left shoulder, and one of the reasons the slouch hat was worn with the left brim turned up so as not to get caught on the drill movement.

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Re: Indian Corps in France, World War I

Post  buistR on Wed 01 Jun 2011, 7:01 pm

Interesting to see the button-on cloth flap being worn with khaki as late as WWI. British infantry wore it during the 1890s with the scarlet "frock" (undress jacket worn for training, drill, marching etc) for the reasons described above. However when khaki service dress was introduced in 1902 the flap seems to have disappeared - possibly because the hard wearing khaki cloth didn't show stains as clearly as red kersey. Scarlet tunics were still worn for full dress and walking out dress of course but were unlikely to be exposed to oily rifles on either occasion. In his book "Simkin's Soldiers" P.S. Walton mentions that the flap was also intended to protect the white buff braces or shoulder straps, which supported the white waistbelt and pouches (and also vanished after 1902 except in the Foot Guards).

The Indian Army, as in so many other matters of dress and equipment, followed its own rules however and Major A.C. Lovett's splendid colour plates of 1910 show several instances of Indian infantry regiments wearing the flap with their scarlet, rifle green or khaki drill kurtas - the long knee length coats shown in Mconrad's photo.

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