Uniforms 1919-1923

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Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby euryalus on Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:39 pm

I wondered if any new research has been carried out in relation to the uniforms worn in Ireland during the period 1919-1923. In this context I have found one or two hitherto unpublished photographs of British soldiers, including some views of unidentified members of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Most of them are wearing standard "tin hats" with bugle-horn badges attached to the front. Other photographs suggest that black or brown bandoliers were worn, even by infantrymen, whereas in World War I they were normally regarded as cavalry equipment. If I can work out how to send images I may be able to share some of these views.
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Re: Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby Na Fianna Éireann on Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:43 am

indeed the bandoliers were of the calvery type issued to troops ,
Na Fianna Éireann Fíor inár gCroíthe Neart inár Láimhe Comhsheasmhacht inár dTeanga.
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Re: Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby bannerman on Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:01 pm

Hello Earyalus,
My name is Padraig O Ruairc and im a founding member of the Kakhi and Green re-enactment group, we are currently the only group in Ireland dedicated to portraying both sides of the Irish war of Independence in this country, (although other groups dabble in the period its our main focus - before anyone starts shouting at me. :geek: ) As far as I know the British Troops in Ireland from 1916 to 1922 wore standard British uniforms and equipment with some specialist equipment also issued ie search lights mounted on lorries for imposing curfew in Dublin City. The photos you have seen of bandaloiers worn by british troops may have been cavalry units, artillery or else Black and Tans wearing their British Army uniforms and R.I.C. police leather equipment over them. Im on holidays in Scotland at the moment so I cant go to detailed on this right now. But I have a book on the War of Independence and Civil War in Clare being published this Febuary and I note that your from oxfordshire. Ive got alot of Information on the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry who were stationed in Limerick City at the Time. Three members of the regiment were killed near Punches Castle on the Meelick / Cratloe border Co. Clare in November 1920. Also three members of the regiment on Intelligence work were executed by the I.R.A. at Lough Greaney on the Clare Galway border in Febuary 1921. If this is the kind of thing you are researching please contact me at padraigoruairc@gmail.com as id be more than willing to help you out or answer any questions on uniforms and kit.

Padraig
http://www.warofindependence.net/

"Is doigh linn gur mor iad na daoine mora mar atamuid fein ar ar nglunaibh. - Eirimis!!!"
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Re: Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby euryalus on Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:34 pm

Hello Padraig, and thank you for your reply. Yes, as far as I can judge, the British soldiers tended to wear World War I type uniforms and equipment, but I am sure I have seen infantrymen wearing the bandoliers that I referred to. There was, on the other hand, much greater variety in the garb of the RIC Auxiliary "cadets", and I have seen references to them wearing black, khaki and blue Tam O'Shanters (perhaps to distinguish the different companies?)

The 1st Bn Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were at Limerick and the 2nd Bn at Cork, although both Battalions had outposts at locations such as Tulla, Macroom and Ballincollig - they were often quartered in the local workhouses. I have access to the regimental records and am writing an article on their experiences in Ireland between 1919 and 1922. There is mention of Private A.Spackman being killed at Cratloe (guarding an aeroplane), while 17 year-old Private M.F.Robins was severely wounded and died in Fermoy some four months later. There are, however, very few photographs in the regimental collections, probably because the officers were unhappy with their posting - no less than six resigned in a period of about 2 months. The regiment lost one officer and eight men, including one who was shot by the RIC in Tulla while out on a bicycle patrol.

I also have an Irish Volunteer button, which I am told is in fact a National Army button, and may therefore date from the period of the civil war - is this likely to be a correct assumption?
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Re: Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby Sgt. Buckingham on Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:52 pm

Hello Earyalus,

The name is Dave Levins and I have been collecting badges and insignia of the Irish Defence Forces for the last 25yrs. The button you have is a standard Irish Army Brass button issued in their thousands up to the early 1970's. What is the manufacturer's name on the back of it? They are still on issue today in staybright! Same pattern.

The recent increase in demand for militaria from the 1916-22 period of Irish history has led to many 'fakes' and reproductions comming on the market by dealers and so-called collectors. It's a minefield. Anything I can do to help, please feel free to contact and ask.

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Sgt. Buckingham,
7/30th Mo. Inf. Vols,
(Missouri Irish Brigade)
8th Mo. Inf. Vols,
(American Zouaves)
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Re: Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby euryalus on Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:35 am

Hello Dave,

There is nothing at all on the back, which is what made me initially think that the button might have been an original Volunteers button. It came as part of a bequest from a collector who started collecting as a boy in the 1940s, when there were (presumably) few fakes in circulation.
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Re: Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby Na Fianna Éireann on Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:07 pm

From what I can recollect the origional buttons may have been made by a company based in Birmingham and may have a makers mark on them , Is this correct Dave ?? I would appreciate either your or Padraig's valued opinion on this matter.
Thank you in advance .
Na Fianna Éireann Fíor inár gCroíthe Neart inár Láimhe Comhsheasmhacht inár dTeanga.
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Re: Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby Sgt. Buckingham on Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:58 pm

Hello Earyalus and Martini,

I do'nt believe that the buttons were ever faked, they are just too easely got here.

I've checked some of my reference material and all I can tell you at this stage is that the 1922 to 1939 pattern tunic is described as having brass buttons of the I.V. pattern on a dark green cloth, while the 1940 pattern is for a lighter green cloth to be used along with brass buttons of the I.V. pattern. Brass buttons could be found on uniforms up to the 1970's. Same pattern it has never changed.

The buttons were made in Birmingham along with brass badges for the army. Firmin & Gaunt produced them along with other manufacturers. It was a tradition in the Irish Army to cut off you buttons and return them tied together to the Q.M. whenever you got a new issue of tunic, so old buttons got recycled time and time again. You were docked from your pay if you failed to return your old set. Makes if very hard to date buttons. I'd be delighted if someone could tell me how to do so correctly!

Hope this throwes some light on the subject. If anyone can update me on new developements I'd be delight to hear. I am drawing on my own time in the Irish Army in the '70's and my collecting..but, I do'nt know it all. :)
Sgt. Buckingham,
7/30th Mo. Inf. Vols,
(Missouri Irish Brigade)
8th Mo. Inf. Vols,
(American Zouaves)
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Re: Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby bannerman on Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:45 pm

Hello Euryalus,
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, as I said I was on holidays. Im afraid I have bad news on the button its definately a post 1922 free state army / Irish army button. The harp is the long slender type whereas the 1914 Irish Volunteer button had a squatter, broader harp. I can go into more detail on Irish Volunteer uniform if you want at some other stage.

euryalus wrote:The 1st Bn Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were at Limerick and the 2nd Bn at Cork, although both Battalions had outposts at locations such as Tulla, Macroom and Ballincollig - they were often quartered in the local workhouses. I have access to the regimental records and am writing an article on their experiences in Ireland between 1919 and 1922. There is mention of Private A.Spackman being killed at Cratloe (guarding an aeroplane), while 17 year-old Private M.F.Robins was severely wounded and died in Fermoy some four months later. There are, however, very few photographs in the regimental collections, probably because the officers were unhappy with their posting - no less than six resigned in a period of about 2 months. The regiment lost one officer and eight men, including one who was shot by the RIC in Tulla while out on a bicycle patrol.


Its good to see that you are writing an article on the regiments role in Ireland, - too often British regimental histories completely skip over the 1919 - 1939 period. Some in fairness do mention Burma, but Ireland usually dosent even get a look in. As I said I have a lot of info on the Ox and Bucks in Clare. Generally they have quite a good reputation here as they usually refrained from reprisals and killing in revenge for I.R.A. attacks. The regiments history in Limerick City however is not quite so rosey. In November 1920 members of the Ox and Bucks were guarding a crashed RAF plane near punches quarry in the Meelick / Cratloe area. A group of I.R.A. volunters led by Joe Clancy (Brigade Training Officer East Clare Brigade) had seen the plane make a forced landing and gathered up a few other I.R.A. Volunteers who were hiding out at Hogans house in Cratloe. After dusk Clancy and a handfull of other Volunteers climbed to the top of Punches quarry and opened fire on the Ox and Bucks troops who had settled in for the night around a roaring fire ner the crashed plane. The republicans opened fire on the unsuspecting british soldiers killing Privates Baker and Spackman instantly. Private Robins (or Robinson?) was wounded in the attack and died on the 2nd of March 1921 in a military hospital in Fermoy.
In revenge for this incident the regiment went wild in Limerick city the following night, rioting, beating up civilians and getting drunk. My friend Tom Toomey has a lot more information on this incident in the city itself as an aftermath to Cratloe and Id be happy to put you in touch. In fairness to the Ox and Bucks this seems to have been the only time "they really lost the head" in Ireland.
Another three members of the regiment Privates D.J. Williams, W.S. Walker and H. Morgan were arrested by the I.R.A. in the Feackle district near the Clare / Galway county border on the 19th of Febuary 1921. The trio were in mufti and claimed that they had desereted from the British Army. They were executed as spies and their bodies dumped at Lough Greaney where they were found two days later. It appears that the three were actually on some kind of intelkligence gathering mission before being captured - the area rthey were found in Feackle / Scarriff was a hot bed of pro British spies inclunding at least one Roman Catholic Priest Fr. Murphy, His housekeeper a woman from Tipperary, a retired R.I.C. man and Martin Cullinane a civil servant. Cullinane I think was the only one actually shot as a spy but still the point I am getting at is if these three were genuine deserters they went to the wrong area.
The last member of the regiment killed in Clare was 1st Lieutennant Richard Warren shot dead on the 28th - 06 - 1921 near Tulla. If you are interested in this I can give you trhe names of the men who shot him and their account of the ambush in their own words. Remember also these are only the Co. Clare Casulties members of the Ox and Bucks were also killed in tipperary and Limerick.
As to your initial question of British Army uniform in Ireland 1919 - 1922 oit was pretty much standard issue. As I mentioned specialised equipment was introduced like the search lights in dublin were introduced. Also Major Percival ( the less said about him the better - and im not even talking about singapore 1942!!! :oops: ) he introduced a british equivelant to the flying column that went up the hills looking for the I.R.A. and there are plenty of photographs of members of the Essex regiment in Ireland in 1920 and 1921 wearing kakhi shorts rather than long pants for flying column duty. The webbing issued to british troops was the 1914 canvas stuff. If you have seen kakhi clad men wearing black leather equipment it may well be that they are " Black and Tans. :!: Now I know what you are thinking, if they were black and tans wouldent they be in two tones of uniform??? Not necessarily. The uniform shortages that plagued the new R.I.C. recruits had laregly ended by 1921 but in relevence to your query - A photo was published in the Irish Independent newspaper of March 1920 See "The royal Irish Constabulary and The Black and Tans in Cunty Louth 1919 -1922 by Stephen O Donnell page 32" which shows a group of Black and Tans in training at the Pheonix Park depot in Dublin. All are wearing the standard WW1 Toimmies kakhi uniform but instead of wearing webbing have been issued with R.I.C. issue black leather equipment yet they are clearly in a police barracks and the figure commanding them is in police uniform. So if you have a pictures of a figure in kakhi and his equpiment is not standard British army issue then he is most likely a Tan. Send the pictures on and ill offer you my thoughts.
Thats it for now as to the Auxies Tam O Shanters either Black or Kakhi but never Navy. Differant companies were identified not by the colour of the tan bit by the colours and shape of the cloth patch on it behind the R,I.C. badge adorning it. I can go into further detail on this if you want. As I said please get in contact if you want more info on the Ox and Bucks in Clare and Limerick. I hope this detail whets your appetite as I said
bannerman wrote:we are currently the only group in Ireland dedicated to portraying both sides of the Irish war of Independence in this country, although other groups dabble in the period its our main focus
hence we are proably the best ones to contact of you want very specific info. Also If you want to ever cone to Ireland Id be happy to show you the spot in Cratloe where Privates Baker and Spackman died.

Talk to you soon.
Padraig
http://www.warofindependence.net/

"Is doigh linn gur mor iad na daoine mora mar atamuid fein ar ar nglunaibh. - Eirimis!!!"
Jim Larkin 1913
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Re: Uniforms 1919-1923

Postby bannerman on Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:02 am

P.S. would you be interested in a list of all the men from Oxford who joined up as Black and Tans? I can get you one! :o
http://www.warofindependence.net/

"Is doigh linn gur mor iad na daoine mora mar atamuid fein ar ar nglunaibh. - Eirimis!!!"
Jim Larkin 1913
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