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The 'THATCHER' knapsack
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:19 pm    Post subject: The 'THATCHER' knapsack  Reply with quote

Some of you have probably been following the thread (NEW KNAPSACK FOUND!! IS THIS THE MISSING LINK? http://2nd95thrifles.myfastforum.org/about819.html) with some interest.

Well, you've all been very patient - so, finally, here it is. But first...

A Norse Saga...the story so far....

Ola, from Norway, goes to Waterloo 2010 with a group of re-enactors and gets friendly (in the Norwegian sense) with a one Sgt Major Blake (not Norwegian) of the 2/95th. Ola is invited to join us at Dorchester (definitely not in Norway) and turns up with a group of Norwegian Light Bobs. Ola listens to us blathering on about our knapsack theories and on returning to Norway contacts Blakey with some interesting information: Ola works in the Army Museum (Norway), but has a friend who works in the Army Museum (Sweden) and Ola, knowing of our interest in the knapsack, sends us a link to the Swedish Army Museum's online Digital Museum. He 'seems' to think it may be of some interest to us...

Durrant (who thinks he sometimes speaks Norwegian being a Geordie but now wishes he lived in Sweden) and company, wet themselves.

However, PLEASE NOTE:

All photographs Courtesy & Copyright of the Swedish Army Museum

These photographs have been provided to us on the understanding that they are copyright of the Army Museum and are for research purposes only - hence the reason why they are being publicly shown. Whilst there is nothing to stop the viewer from downloading the images from this forum, please be respectful of the above conditions and any research use is accompanied by the correct credit. A quick email to the very helpful curator at the museum would be a courtesy: Karin.tetteris@armemuseum.se


First of all the pack as it appears on the Digital Museum's website www.digitaltmuseum.se/things/thing/S-AM/AM.014821/image/49379 (click on 'Tillbaka' above photo to go to description);


The dimensions as given by the museum are '...48 cm wide, 31 cm high and 13 cm thick...and the white leather straps are 3 cm wide."

The 1st Guards Cypher;


The pack as packed by the museum;


Undoing it;





This is a fantastic find and we'd like to thank Ola for passing on the link to this treasure, and especially to Karin Tetteris, the Curator at the museum, who organised photographing the pack for us (with help from her colleague Martin Markelius - also a re-enactor) - and who is still putting up with a barrage of questions from us!


Last edited by Paul Durrant on Sun Nov 08, 2015 2:34 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, by the way, the pack comes accompanied by;

A mess tin (11.5 cm high and diameter of 14.5 cm).


a buttonstick (30 cm long, 5,8 cm wide and 3 mm thick). It has an inscription in pencil - which is a bit difficult do decifer and possible reads "William Wollton (or Wollham) 7th Div".


and a sewing wallet - (or possibly for utensils?)
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Info on George Thatcher;

from Kent's Original London Directory, 1823



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1stSgt.Bleacher
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must agree!  While not involved in Napoleonics, I love a good find of historical value and the re-writing of history!  
 
 Were there any spots to secure a blanket, or straps for a blanket roll?

Thanks again to you and Ola for this! Truly AMAZING!
Zach
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Iain Dubh
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crivens, I love this forum! But will our QM love it???

Aye,
Iain
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We know very little about the provenance of this pack. It was given to the museum in 1931 from the Swedish Army itself. Apparently it collected militaria long before the museum came along (and where a lot of the amazing stuff viewable on the DigitalMuseum came from).

It has GR3 cypher on the front. George III dies in 1820 so we're presuming it's no later than that. However, it does seem to fit most of the descriptions laid out in the 1823 pattern knapsack - as described in it's own thread on this forum http://2nd95thrifles.myfastforum.org/about821.html - but repeated below;

"The Dimensions of the [1823] Knapsacks

To be when painted / as nearly as possible / as follows.

Back – 34-¼ ins long – 17 ins wide
  To have four back loops as usual and the Tops to be strengthened at each end by Buff Leather extending 2 ins down the wings and 2 ins by 8 ins upon the top of the Pack and to be well stitched and painted black.
Side Wings — 11-½ ins deep –– 8 ins wide and to be lined on the edges.
Top Wings — 17 ins long -- 5 ins wide and to taper off to 4-¼ ins.
Centre Pocket — 4-¼ ins broad and to be stitched down on one side only.
Pocket — 11-½ ins deep with a flap 4-½ ins & gore 4-¼ ins and a lining 15 ins long.
Slings — to be of Buff Leather 1-½ ins broad -- 4 feet long and to have 4 brass Harness Buckles and the Breast Straps to be of the same width with brass Oval Buckles

    The Top Wings are to have 2 straps and the side Wings 3 straps 5/8 ins broad with tinned billet Buckles and the three straps on the bottom of the Packs are to be ¾ ins broad with tinned inlet Buckles, and to be fixed 4-½ ins from the edges.
    The Knapsack is to have the number of the Regt marked on the back but without any ornament.
    The Great Coat neatly folded and of a corresponding dimension with the knapsack is invariably to be carried within side."


The 1823 Pattern description measures every part of the pack and gives it a name - but still manages to be infuriating vague!

Until now?

So why is a pre-1820 pack sporting 1823 Pattern features? Was the pack in use for many years and sat relatively unchanged until 1823 when the BGO decide to stamp their mark on it? Does it put it closer to 1820 than say 1812? Why a board in the top of this one when the BGO says no to boards in 1814 and doesn't mention them in 1823? What is the mysterious piece of cloth/ribbon going across the back between the side wings? And come to think of it, have you worked out where the Side Wings fasten round yet? All this in next weeks amazing adventures of....

Soooo many questions (Mwa-ha-ha!)

Enjoy!


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Eddie
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Christmas has come early and usually the presents are delivered by a bloke in a red suit not a green one!
Congratulations to 2/95, Blakey and Paul for this remarkable coup and special thanks  to the Swedish Army museum for their kind cooperation. I will certainly email the Curator.
It will take me a while to have a really close look at the photos - and I am going to savour every moment !  but initial impressions - a few surprises there - stitched corners at the bottom ? jointed straps running through Paul Ds four leather keepers, the side flaps attached to the opening back flap?  Top unstitched to allow access to pocket - and a board in the top - this would give it rigidity when securing the greatcoat on perhaps?
Oh and not to forget the mess tin ! Very similar to the one shown in the Carle Vernet print of the 3rd Guards Sergeant.
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1stSgt.Bleacher wrote:
  "Were there any spots to secure a blanket, or straps for a blanket roll?"


No to securing, Zach - and we wouldn't have expected any. Those will come much later I believe. In the '23 Pattern they talk of carrying the greatcoat inside. They've been struggling with keeping the weight down on knapsacks since early in the Peninsular War (think they learnt their lesson very quickly!) and had greatcoats and/or blankets handed in for storage;

"The soldiers are on no account to be required, as permitted, to carry their blankets, when that article shall be issued to the troops, nor is the weight of their equipment ever to exceed the proportion already specified (ie 12.5 lbs); unless it should be deemed expedient, on particular occasions, to order the soldiers to carry a greater than ordinary proportion of provisions.  The blankets, as well as any other extra articles which it my be found necessary to carry with the troops, are to be conveyed by the Commissariat."

Board of General Officers, clothing report, infantry of the line, 19th June 1811,   WO papers, (Kew dec 08 038)

and in a General Order from Celorico, 2d June, 1810:


However, it seems they are struggling with putting coats inside. Even though the '23 talks of such, by the beginning of '24 they're devising ways of carrying it outside again (rolled longways, bent around the back of the tin at the top of the pack, then down the front of the pack and ends meeting and buckled together at bottom of pack). Then shortly after they talk of a design where the straps double as coat slings.*

(*Many thanks to Frank Packer for info on this - hope I've got it reasonably correct!)

Sooo, what do we have here then?

My guess at moment, is a folding 'pannier' type pack with pocket on oneside (blackened on sides and bottom) and on the other side, Side Wings and bottom flap to enclose said Coat - then Top Wings to fall down to cover sides.

Clumsy?


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Robert
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,

Quick message.   First of all WOW.  Simply WOW.  Paul.  This pack screams transitional piece.  To see this Version on the Guards prior to the 1823 order is not a surprise.  It is like the 1808 platoon drill of the 52nd Regiment not being adopted by the army until the 1820s or the grey trousers of 1800 in North America not being adopted by the army until 1811.  As you know, it is the nature of the process.

OK.  We know from the 33rd that in 1815 regiments were playing around with introducing boards in the packs and got their hands slapped.  In peace time obviously the Guards continued with this experiment and developed the pack that became the 1823 (What a mutant.  No wonder it was ditched).  

But what about us poor Napoleonic period reenactors?   Well there are a number of components in this original that offer us elements of the pre-1815 pack, IMO.  The single compartment was known.  Check.  The sides of this compartment were gusseted.  Check.  There was a pocket on the side for a cloths brush.  Nope....dropped because they wanted to "pretty up" the sides with the winged pieces.   Who needs quick access to a clothes brush if you are no longer bivouacing in some Spanish field.  The winged flap is also later but it shows the issue they were trying to address with the white straps that show on the sides in pre-1815 images: compression of the pack contents, and likely not the holding of a dish mess tin underneath the flap.  

So take away the peace time alterations and I think you have the pre-1815 pack from a construction standpoint.  May have to play with the dimensions a bit.  To cross check this approach, would this pack, without the peacetime alterations, contain similar elements of the envelope style which the pack evolved from (like the bottom)?  The answer to me is yes.

That is my first take.  Very cool.  

The 1815 mess tin is also "BIG".  Going to have to rethink the Guards Oil Sketch by Jones.  Was the sketch done for his Waterloo paintings in the early 1820s?  I was always concerned about that (little voice).   In his B/W prints after the battle, the mess tins do look clunky like this one.      

The button stick is fine as well.  Looks like for a Light Infantryman.  The hold all I really like.  The linen ones in the 1820s really become complicated with all the carp they are to hold.  This one is nice and simple and protective...

Everyone owes you many beers Paul.

Robert
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert wrote:

"Everyone owes you many beers Paul.'


Not me! - It's really Ola from Norway wondering if we'd be 'interested'(!!) in something like that and the good Blakey fostering international relationships that deserve the accolade - not to mention the Swedish powers-that-be who decided to digitally blitz everything they had in dozens of museum collection and link them all online!

You've got to browse that site, it's awesome!


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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert wrote:

"The 1815 mess tin is also "BIG".'


4½" high x 5¾" diameter. I wouldn't have thought it that big... but then again I haven't delved too deep into tins - that's more Ben's bugbear!
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OJM
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to see all the responses, hopes this will bring you a step closer to an answer, and also have effects for the British scene as a whole.

Regarding the digital museum thing, it's definetively the way forward, and I hope all museums with stuff that could be interesting for people like us will go this way soon. As demonstrated by this, there is no limit to what may turn up in an unlikely place.

Now... if you guys could just find us some danish knapsacks looted to GB in 1807, or give us a full size ship of the line in return (HMS Victory would do).
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Iain Dubh
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul Durrant wrote:
Robert wrote:

"The 1815 mess tin is also "BIG".'


4½" high x 5¾" diameter. I wouldn't have thought it that big... but then again I haven't delved too deep into tins - that's more Ben's bugbear!


Paul & Robert...
I'm curious about your comments about the size... I just measured my half-moon style mess tin and it's about 6" in diameter (with one side having a flat cut in it) and 4 1/2" high. (see http://parkhousemuseum.com/catalogue/military_items/index.html for a picture; by the way, this is the same size as the one on page 19 of the Turner book) Looks to me like the only difference between the two is that mine has a flat lobbed into it.
What size/type are you familiar with over there?
Aye,
Iain
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Paul Durrant
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iain,
Those are basically the same measurements as my 'D' tin.

Robert - did you read the measurements of the original tin as inches? :roll:
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Eddie
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still digesting those photos .........yummy
Yes all Britsih Napoleonic reenactors should acknowlege their thanks to the 2/95 team for sharing this info. And of course thanks to Ola  and our Norwegian and Swedish friends. I have already emailed Karin at the Swedish Army museum and received permission to download the images.

A few points please if anyone can help :

Is it possible to trace William Wolton/Wolham to 1st Guards and tie down the date a bit more?

Also  Robert wrote
"But what about us poor Napoleonic period reenactors?   Well there are a number of components in this original that offer us elements of the pre-1815 pack, IMO.  The single compartment was known.  Check.  The sides of this compartment were gusseted.  Check.  There was a pocket on the side for a cloths brush.  Nope....dropped because they wanted to "pretty up" the sides with the winged pieces.   Who needs quick access to a clothes brush if you are no longer bivouacing in some Spanish field.  The winged flap is also later but it shows the issue they were trying to address with the white straps that show on the sides in pre-1815 images: compression of the pack contents, and likely not the holding of a dish mess tin underneath the flap.  

So take away the peace time alterations and I think you have the pre-1815 pack from a construction standpoint.  May have to play with the dimensions a bit.  To cross check this approach, would this pack, without the peacetime alterations, contain similar elements of the envelope style which the pack evolved from (like the bottom)?  The answer to me is yes"


Now I may make myself look silly here - but I didn't know we had details of the 1811 pack construction - particularily its internal bits and all we have is varying contemporary images showing the external view ?
Is there a feeling that this find is showing  peactime 1815 - 1820 modifications?


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