Sunday, May 22, 2017

Australian Uniforms: PART 1 - NSW Rifles & Sydney Lancers

I'll be posting a lengthy series of illustrations of some of my favourite Australian Colonial, Great War and post war uniforms for those that may be interested.  The illustrations make great figure making and painting reference material and a number of WETS figures are based on some of these illustrations. 

These wonderful images are produced by talented uniform expert and ex-serviceman Sean Ryan and are available on CD.  Check out Sean's website which lists all the uniform CD's currently available and also has on-line ordering/purchasing facilities: www.uniformsotw.com 


Lance Corporal of the NSW Irish Rifle Regiment in full dress uniform C.1909. His headdress is a dark green slouch hat with brown leather chin strap. The puggaree has seven folds, arranged in the unit style as shown. The left side of the hat is turned up and fixed by a unit badge, and a plume of black cocks' feathers is attached. He wears dark green tunic, with stand collar. The collar is red with black lace all round, and bears the unit badges. The pointed cuffs are red and piped with black braid that forms a shamrock at the point. Seven gilt buttons close the front of the jacket, which is piped red. On the shoulders are dark green straps with a mixed piping of red and black, they are secured by small gilt buttons. His rank is shown by a single gilt chevron on the right upper arm. Around his waist he wears the 1903 pattern brown leather belt, on which are four ammunition pouches.  At the right is shown the bayonet for his 0.303in SMLE rifle. His trousers are dark green and piped down each outer seam with a red welt. They are worn over black boots.


Corporal, Sydney Lancers C.1885. Not long after their formation the Sydney Light Horse converted to Lancers.  They were dressed in imitation of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers.  Their badges, however, were based on the family badges of the Governor, Lord Carrington.  He gave his permission for their use and was a great patron of the Lancers.  The uniform is by far one of the most elegant worn by a NSW unit.  The white metal helmet is the same pattern as used in by heavy cavalry in Britain, with a mixed falling plume of white over red.  The helmet is shown at the bottom of the page with the body painted white.  The red puggaree was added later when the unit changed to a khaki uniform, and not initially worn. The Lancer jacket has a red plastron on the chest, which could be buttoned over for field service.  The rear was also embellished, with red piping, as shown below. The white cords around the body could be attached to the helmet so that should it fall off in the charge, its owner would not completely lose it.  Interesting theory and would possible work for a Lancer’s cap. Over the left shoulder is worn a white leather cross belt with central red line, like the Household cavalry. Around the waist is a Lancer girdle of red and yellow.  It buttoned closed at the left hip. The breeches have two red stripes down the outer seams and are worn with black riding boots. The unit carried lances on ceremonial occasions, as well as swords.  On field service Martini-Henry carbines were employed.

Bugler, 1st Battalion, Adelaide Rifles C.1893. This uniform was worn from 1891 to 1895. The hat appears to have a single colour puggaree. This may have been in facing colour and not the dark khaki shown. The buglers standard jacket has been embellished with wings and chest braid in facing colour. It is therefore more likely that he is a musician as opposed to a bugler, who would not have worn the wings. The trousers are tucked into brown leather gaiters. Based on a contemporary photograph. 

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