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DateOriginal Topic
14th February 2005cobblers to the 24th!
By george
Hi there,
I understand the Infantrymen in S.Africa had only the one issue of uniform.
Surely,with all the marching,they must have got through a heck of a lot of boots.
Just wondered if there were any Cobblers attached to the Regiments,or was there a seperate wagon train just for boots????
15th February 2005Kris
Hi George,
According to "The Noble 24th", 593 Pte William Jones earned an income repairing boots and shoe's whilst on compassionate leave nursing his dying wife. I don't know if this was his occupation when he was with the regiment but he certainly had the required skills.

16th February 2005Richard
On the subject of uniform, why werent they wearing KD ? For those of you not familiar with British Army initials it stands for khaki drill.
16th February 2005Glenn Wade
Interestingly, khaki uniforms were being worn by British troops in Afghanistan at the very time of the Anglo-Zulu War. The 92nd Highlanders wore khaki into action against the Boers in 1881 at Majuba during the 1st Anglo-Boer War. I can't give you a reason as to why they weren't in khaki in Zululand but the British army had been wearing red since the days of Cromwell and it was only in the decade after the Anglo-Zulu War when all that was to change.
16th February 2005Bill Harris
Khaki uniforms were still considered somewhat "experimental" in 1879 and their use was pretty much confined to the forces then engaged in Afghanistan (and even then, some British/Indian units still clung to their red, green or blue jackets). The traditional colours were thought to make the soldiers more intimidating to their foes, and at the same time prop up the morale of the men who wore them.

As far as I know, the first time British troops took the field in Africa in uniforms other than red/green/blue was in the Abyssinian campaign of 1868. Some troops there wore their white tropical uniforms dyed greyish brown, similar to what had been frequently wore in the Indian mutiny. Troops involved in Garnet Wolseley's Ashanti expedition of 1874 were given special Elcho grey tweed uniforms specially designed for the campaign.

The first time proper khaki was worn by British troops in South Africa was in the Transvaal War of 1880-81. The 92nd Highlanders had been sent there straight from Afghanistan and still had their khaki highland jackets. They wore these during the battle at Majuba Hill.

Best regards,
Bill H.
17th February 2005Richard
As well as being an impossing colour, red dye is very easy to make.