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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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Geordie69

Greatw Grandad Uniform information

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Hi, I am hoping someone can help me out. This image is of my great great grandad when he served with the royal marines in India. He was born in Newcastle in 1914. It has been done on silk when he was 17 or 18. Now he was English but I am wondering why he is wearing what looks to be a Scottish uniform?

Thanks

Mark

16142222_10154996433823383_2488617673592639202_n.jpg

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On 2/27/2018 at 8:29 AM, Geordie69 said:

Hi, I am hoping someone can help me out. This image is of my great great grandad when he served with the royal marines in India. He was born in Newcastle in 1914. It has been done on silk when he was 17 or 18. Now he was English but I am wondering why he is wearing what looks to be a Scottish uniform?

Thanks

Mark

16142222_10154996433823383_2488617673592639202_n.jpg

One of those annoying things - "I don't know where I've dredged this information from in my mind, probably from a lifetime of watching TV". Whatever, I suspect that these paintings, in order to be produced rapidly for sale to soldiers who might just be passing through, were substantially pre-painted. That is, the seller took down a pre-done painting of a "general purpose body" from his shelves, and added a "head" there and then in the shop, probably adding details like rank chevrons as required. Which - if I'm correct - would mean that the face and body were painted at quite different times, and quite probably by different PEOPLE as a means to sell nick-nacks to passing soldiers. If you've ever been to Hong Kong (before it was passed back to the Chinese) INDIAN tailors could be found chasing visiting sailors and trying to persuade them to have suits (or even uniforms) made to measure. "But I sail on the tide tomorrow!" "No problem sir, We'll make it overnight for you! If it's not ready, you don't pay!" And they DID make good suits overnight! I've got a rather nice suit myself, made by Sam's tailors of the Burlington Arcade in Nathan Road. (Probably the modst famous of them) It still fits me! Point being that Indian traders had a long tradition of producing goods QUICKLY for sale to passing British soldiers. One suspects that the pre-painted body on this one caught your grandfather's eye, and for a few pence, he had his own face added to the existing body.

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I had the good fortune to go to Scotland in 2014. The castle at  Edinburgh has several rooms dedicated to the Scottish units. they have a great interest in all who served in Scott units. I suspect if you sent them the picture they would give you all the help you need.

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On 3/10/2018 at 5:47 PM, Robert Follis said:

I had the good fortune to go to Scotland in 2014. The castle at  Edinburgh has several rooms dedicated to the Scottish units. they have a great interest in all who served in Scott units. I suspect if you sent them the picture they would give you all the help you need.

Thanks Robert I will do that.

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On 3/9/2018 at 8:10 AM, Ron Walker said:

One of those annoying things - "I don't know where I've dredged this information from in my mind, probably from a lifetime of watching TV". Whatever, I suspect that these paintings, in order to be produced rapidly for sale to soldiers who might just be passing through, were substantially pre-painted. That is, the seller took down a pre-done painting of a "general purpose body" from his shelves, and added a "head" there and then in the shop, probably adding details like rank chevrons as required. Which - if I'm correct - would mean that the face and body were painted at quite different times, and quite probably by different PEOPLE as a means to sell nick-nacks to passing soldiers. If you've ever been to Hong Kong (before it was passed back to the Chinese) INDIAN tailors could be found chasing visiting sailors and trying to persuade them to have suits (or even uniforms) made to measure. "But I sail on the tide tomorrow!" "No problem sir, We'll make it overnight for you! If it's not ready, you don't pay!" And they DID make good suits overnight! I've got a rather nice suit myself, made by Sam's tailors of the Burlington Arcade in Nathan Road. (Probably the modst famous of them) It still fits me! Point being that Indian traders had a long tradition of producing goods QUICKLY for sale to passing British soldiers. One suspects that the pre-painted body on this one caught your grandfather's eye, and for a few pence, he had his own face added to the existing body.

Thanks for getting back on this Ron it is very interesting.

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One of the Duke of Wellington's greatest victories - at Assay, in India - in 1803, when he was commanding an army of the Honourable East India Company, composed mostly of native troops, with British officers and a cadre of British regular soldiers (including the 78th Highlanders) The Battle was Wellingon's first major victory, and derived in large part to the bravery shown by the Highlanders. Wellington's army was massively outnumbered (4 to one?!) and even worse outnumbered in the number of quality of artillery. The enemy's army took position at the crown of a hill, with all their cannon at the centre, which proceeded to destroy Wellington's few and smaller guns. He ordered his British troops to fix bayonets and charge the enemy's guns. Back then, of course, artillery produced vast amounts of dirty white smoke, rapidly obscuring the gunners' view of the battle. The artillery was directed at the advancing infantry, and tore great holes in the line with roundshot and cannister. When the smoke briefly cleared, the gunners were able to see that the Scottish soldiers were STILL COMING, and now a LOT closer. This (in their view) was not be behaviour of sane people... The artillerymen took a good look at the advancing Scots, and ran for it, abandoning their guns. The rest of their army (also European-officered) promptly collapsed, and fled the field. The Scots were making their mark in India as far back as 1803, as soldiers who don't run away and are best left unprovoked, The relevance (to my mind, anyway) is that Scottish tartans didn't even BEGIN to be "formalised" until after Sir Walter Scott organised a visit to Scotland by Queen Victoria in 1842 (after which, every clan, sub-clan and village insisted that a particular tartan pattern was exclusively THEIRS, and nobody else was allowed to wear it.). Tourism became a mainstay of the Scottish economy, with individual tartans playing a BIG role  So, it OUGHT to be possible to match the tartan that the guy in the picture is wearing with a particular group of people who claimed it as theirs. My brief researches suggest... this one ISN'T a known tartan, although it most closely resembles either the tartan of the Munro clan or that of the Ramsey clan.

But, as I commented earlier, it would not in the least surprise me if the body and the head were painted at different times and the body merely depicts a "generic Scotsman".

 

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