Articles

Victorian Police Lanterns

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From man’s earliest times there has existed a need to see into the darkness, beyond the illumination of the camp fire.  A need to verify the existence or nonexistence of those things that exist just beyond our view to remain safe “from ghoulies and ghosties / And long-leggedy beasties / And things that go bump in the night, / Good Lord, deliver us!”, to quote a line from a traditional Scottish poem.  As time passed and civilization developed we find that people migrated to urban centres and the “ghoulies and ghosties” were in the form of human predators.  Police services were developed and the need to see in the dark to either scare off the criminals or place him or her under the care and control for a time period to be determined at the pleasure of the Crown.  Continue reading “Victorian Police Lanterns”

British Coffin Hilted Swords

Over a number of years I have collected British Cavalry Troopers swords.  As in many collecting fields one sometimes deviates away from the original theme. Such is the case with my collecting which varied into Officers’ swords etc.

The so called Coffin Top hilted sword was always so elusive in Australia, in fact “where would you find one”. At a Melbourne Gun show some years back I met a dealer from South Australia who regularly attended the Gun shows.  In conversation with him re such swords, he said he had one, albeit damaged and missing the knuckle bow and no scabbard. The sword turned up at the next venue and I snapped it up immediately.

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The South Australian start                                                 Lanark Dumfried Regiment

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The Covenanters and the Cameronian Regiment

The Cameronian Regiment holds a unique place in the history of the British Army, being the only Regiment raised on Religious Beliefs. The Cameronians or Cameronian Guard take their name from a Presbyterian Minister named Richard Cameron. The Regiments origins go back to the dark days of Seventeenth Century Scotland known as “The Killing Time”, when a religious group known as Covenanters following the Presbyterian doctrine, raised the Regiment at Douglas Water in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.

The Covenanters

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Above: The Banner known as “The Bluidy Banner” (Bloody Banner) of 17 year old Covenanter William Cleland, carried at The Battle of Bothwell Brig’ in 1679. A Hebrew script at the top roughly translates as “The Lord is My Banner” At the bottom it reads: “No Quarters for Ye Active Enemies of Ye Covenant”

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The Fenian Raids 1866 – 70

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Canadian General Service Medal and miniature with 1866 clasp. (Author’s collection)

Introduction

Just over fifty years had passed since British Canada had successfully fought off an invasion and defeated the American armed forces during the War of 1812.  Since the end of the war, following the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, the two countries had enjoyed a period of mutual trade and peace; albeit an uneasy peace.  In the mid 1800s Canadian newspapers carried stories of the Underground Railroad, a clandestine series of safe houses stretching from the United States to Canada with the purpose of providing slaves a means of reaching freedom in Canada.  Also of interest to the Canadians was news of the American Civil War that had started in 1861, nearly tearing the United States apart, until the end of hostilities in 1865. Continue reading “The Fenian Raids 1866 – 70”

The British Home Service Helmet

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An example of an officer’s version of the Home Service Helmet. This one is provenanced to W. Swan of the Army Ordnance Department. (Author’s collection)

While we focus on sun helmets on this website these are, of course, only one form of headgear among many worn by armies throughout history. The subject of this article is the British Home Service Helmet, which in this writer’s opinion was inspired by the Colonial Pattern sun helmet worn in India from at least as early as the 1850s.

“In 1878, nearly forty years after it was first mooted as an alternative headdress, a helmet was approved for the Infantry. Made of cork and covered with blue cloth (dark green for Light Infantry [and Rifle Regiments]), this helmet had a spike as did the Prussian model, which had inspired its adoption, but its silhouette owed more to the white foreign-service helmet adopted by the British a few years before.” 1 Continue reading “The British Home Service Helmet”