Major, Royal Welsh Fusiliers 1898

(Boer War -Staff officer)

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This is the uniform that would have been worn by an Infantry officer in the later part of the Boer war. although in the field, boots and puttees or leather Stohwasser gaiters, would have been worn. In the later stages of the war the khaki drill uniforms originally issued, and which had originally been designed for use in North Africa and India, had been found to be insufficient for the climate, particularly the cold nights, and a heavier serge material was introduced in April 1900.

The officer's pattern khaki serge tunic shown here, bears a striking resemblance to the earlier scarlet "India pattern" frock. The adoption of the khaki uniform as standard issue to the British army has already been generally discussed elsewhere in this collection (see RWF Sgt 1898), and will not therefore be repeated here. In khaki service dress it was very difficult to distinguish officers from other ranks. Officers wore rank insignia on their epaulettes and wore Sam Browne belts complete with swords, and helmets were usually of a privately purchased Wolseley pattern, with a wider brim and made of khaki cloth with a pugarree, rather than with an O/R style khaki cover.

These differences were sufficient for an officer to be targeted by Boer marksmen, and consequently, in the later stages of the war, many officers had discarded their Sam Browne equipment in favour of O/R's rifles and equipment, and took to wearing O/R style helmets or slouch hats Our officer is wearing the early pattern double shoulder strapped Sam Browne and carries the1895 pattern infantry officer's sword together with a pistol, secured to a lanyard around the neck. On the front of his waistbelt is a small cap pouch. This Sam Browne equipment is also shown and discussed elsewhere in this collection (see Lieutenant, Royal Fusiliers. Marching Order 1895) The gilt RWF officer's pugarree badge would certainly have been removed in the field and replaced with a flash on the side of the helmet.


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