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Undress / Fatigue dress / Waistcoats
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:42 am    Post subject: Undress / Fatigue dress / Waistcoats  Reply with quote

Thought it might be helpful to have a discussion on this. We have some good rifle related information, but also post any other georgian snippets please. To get the ball rolling, one from the archives:

WO7/35 Page 138 Letter dated 2 Jan 1812

Approval of regiments of Infantry on Home Service being able to wear overalls of unbleached linen of British or Russian manufacture on marches and night duties.
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Bryan
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure I read somewhere in the distant past that the white overalls of Russia Duck (heavy linen) were originally intended to be worn over the white woolen breeches on night marches etc. in order to keep the latter clean. But I also seem to remember that they were sanctioning a practise that was already a fact. Many regiments were already wearing them at various times.

It would make sense because natural bleached linen is going to be a lot cheaper than white or ecru wool, especially as it appears that they did use good quality wool.

We wear white fatigue dress with regimental cap at practise drill largely after the well known picture of soldiers doing just that. However we have found that during winter out of season training days it has a practical value as you can get it dirty and it's easily washed unlike the red regimental jacket.
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some more grist for the mill:
"We marched about 7 leagues in our white jackets, we bivoaucked on the open field by the road until the next morning, when at daybreak a cheerful sight appeared, the whole of the German cavalry were filing off by us for the plains of waterloo. As soon as these had cleared our front our colonel gave the cheerful word to throw away the white jackets and put on our fighting coats".

p.20 A short account of then life and adventures of Private Thomas Jeremiah, 23rd or Royal Welch Fusiliers 1812-1837, ed G. Glover, Ken Trotman, 2008


Also, from an unpublished 95th Rifles memoir of Waterloo, on the morning of the 18th, "..although a Rifle corps we were dressed in white flannel jackets and white trousers being what we termed our fatigue dress, in which we had been used to parade and attend field days during the summer season... ...our regimental clothing with a second pair of white linen trousers packed up in the knapsack." After breakfast, he continues, "(we) put on our dry green uniform, and our arms got in fighting order.."
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khazzard2000
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before anyone else puts this up, here's what the 'Green Book' has to say;

The riflemans’ undress "...will consist in white flannel jacket, green cape and cuff, the regimental waistcoat, and Russia duck trowsers...foraging caps by the Men, to be worn with the undress, as also the stocks...the trowsers are invariably to be worn by the non-commissioned Officers and Men, either by themselves, or drawn over the pantaloons."

When a "rifleman goes on any duty with arms for 24 hours, he is to have his trowsers wrapped up in his watch-coat, which he is also to put on after sunset, and wear til the sun rises."

"The regiment will wear watch-coats on evening parades; this regards the rank and file, and Buglers; they are to be slung under the pouch-belt."

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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1813, Gordons,
"Water was much wanted.. .. a few men, therefore, from each company, paraded in fatigue clothing,"
p.197 Campaigns with Wellington and Hill, James Archibald Hope, Leonaur facs, 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WO 123/135 (1807-12) p201

Orders for Embarkation 1808 - Part of kit list for infantry:

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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WO27/121 General Order 25th Jan 1814 (PWR general)
"The Commander of the forces perceiving a great want of similiarity in the nature and quantity of necessaries...   ... and in some cases subjecting the soldier to extra expenses... calls attention to the Warrants of 5th July 1797 and 6th Feb 1799 as to syoppages from the pay of NCOs and men... and directs the proportion of necessaries which NCO's and men are required to furnish shall not henceforward exceed-
In European regiments:
4 white and 2 coloured shirts
2 white cotton jackets made according to a regimental pattern
2 pr of strong white cotton gun-mouthed trousers- not nankeen
2 pr of strong blue ditto
2 pr of black lacquered gaiters
3pr of good shoes
1 leather stock and clasp
1 pack
1 pr of coat straps
1 brush and picker
(and sundry cleaning articles)
...Canteens and haversacks will be furnished to soldiers from the public stores.
Troops are permitted to wear Blue trousers on all ordinary occasions, but on all field days or Garrison Guards, on Days of Review and on Sundays... white trousers are to be worn."

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Eddie
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

White COTTON jackets ?
Strong white COTTON trousers not nankeen?
BLUE  trousers?
Black LACQUERED  gaiters?

What happened to white FLANNEL ?
What about linen trousers?

I ain't liking this much. I just persuaded my unit to spend lots of pennies on white wool for undress jackets as opposed to white cotton as I said the cotton ones made us look like waiters from Fawlty Towers! I also was citical of our white cotton trousers.

Tell me it isn't true -  I think I got a headache coming on....
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben, is this GO issued to troops serving in the Indies or is it from the peninsula? It strikes me as rather odd.
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kieran, it doesn't spec, but since I omitted the section on regiments of men of colour, I had assumed it to be Indies. The blue trousers are rather a glaring pointer too, as you picked up. My reason for posting was not for the necessaries list, we have loads of those, but for the last two lines, specifying when to wear the specific items, which, Indies or nay, has a bearing on topic in question.
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Greg Renault
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"We were dressed in white flannel jackets and white trousers being what we termed our fatigue dress, in which we had been used to parade and attend field days during the summer season... "

If the fatigue jacket is worn for these activities, it would need to accommodate the wearing of accoutrements.  That suggests there would be two buttons at the small of the back, as with the uniform coat, for the pupose of attaching the cartridge box and bayonet belt.  Does anyone know if the jackets had buttons at the back?
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the rifles this would not apply as we only had the one cross belt and a waist belt.

For those units that have both bayonet and cartridge cross belts I've never known them to button to the jacket via the hip buttons. I thought there was a small leather strap to link the two together.

So Greg to answer your question no the undress jacket do not have hip buttons.

Can one of our Redcoated Bretheren to confirm or not.

Dave
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Ben Townsend
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One for Bryan, Lt-Col, Grazebrook from the MS of his, The uniforms of the Gloucester Regiment (NAM 6807/495)
Speaking of 1807
"..men marched in white jackets, changing into red on arrival in quarters."
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Can one of our Redcoated Bretheren to confirm or not."

Being a sleeved waistcoat, the undress jacket (of course) has not tails.  It's not long enough to have hip buttons, really.  

I generally button my belts to my hip buttons when wearing red.  It's especially handy when doing light infantry because it keeps your box from flopping around.  Not having these buttons is just one of the reasons I don't like wearing undress jackets for drill, but that's not really the discussion here.

Chris McKay
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Bryan
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our white coats don't have tails of course so no buttons, but funny enough I don't  recall anyone remarking on the cartridge box moving around during drills on field days, maybe cold fingers give them something else to think about.

It seems from the various notations found that perhaps fatigue dress was worn and used a lot more than the surviving images would indicate. This would make sense as the regimental coats are expensive and not easy to clean. Then or now.

I've noticed a tendency amongst our lads to take off the red coat and sweat soaked shirt after coming off the field, putting on the cooler white jacket but leaving the grey trousers on and I wonder if anyone knows of any remaining images of such 'mixed' uniform?


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