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Water Buckets
Mark Hobson


Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 104
Location: Halifax
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A friend of mine has recently asked if I can solve a little problem he's having.

Watching Zulu recently he happened to mention the part when, during a lull in the fighting, we have a scene in the cattle kraal when some stretcher bearers appear handing out some drinking water to the men. The buckets they are carrying on yokes across their shoulders have 2 tin mugs attached with chains, allowing each man a quick mouthful of water.

As he's recently acquired some similar buckets he wondered if these were official issue during that period and whether they had a name? He assumed they would be referred to as billy cans, but this seems not to be the case.

I mentioned to him that each individual private carried his own Oliver pattern water bottle (as they are usually referred to) but would these larger buckets have been used to fetch water from nearby streams etc?
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timothylrose


Joined: 13 Jan 2012
Posts: 17
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex
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Mark - the containers used are commonly referred to as "Dixies" however the official designation for them would be Service Kettle - Oval Large - from the "Regulations and Instructions for Encampments".

Lloyd's "On active service - plate 13" has a chap carrying a couple of more bucket like containers in the drawing "Our best drinking water" but given some of the other artistic licences in his work then they could easily be meant to be "dixies".

The basic design carried through the Victorian period and they were still being issued well into the 1960's and turn up regularily in military surplus shops - Nick Hall at Sabre Sales has about 50 as of a couple of weeks back. There are some differences over the roughyl 100 years of service but they basically remain the same unless you are a rivet counter (like me!)

Not designed to be carried on straps but good use by the props department and something that makes sense.

Hope that helps - Tim
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Kiwi Sapper


Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 125
Location: Middle Earth & Home of Narnia; (Auckland, New Zealand)
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timothylrose wrote:
Mark - the containers used are commonly referred to as "Dixies"................................ There are some differences over the roughyl 100 years of service but they basically remain the same unless you are a rivet counter (like me!)


To quote Bertram Wooster, "You interest me strangely Old Chap".

Would you be so kind as to extrapolate a little further on the number of rivets as I have a couple of these and have noted the development of the dixie over the years but not been aware of when or why?

_________________
It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn't.
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Mark Hobson


Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 104
Location: Halifax
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Excellent Tim, just what he was needing. I'll pass it on to my mate.

Whilst we're on the subject of water containers etc, at Rorke's Drift they of course had a water cart which was retrieved from the yard with the help of a bayonet charge. Did these also have a name and a specific design or were they just "thrown together" locally with whatever materials came to hand?

Many thanks again.

Mark.
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timothylrose


Joined: 13 Jan 2012
Posts: 17
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex
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Sods law that people always ask you to let them have details out of season when your kit is dispersed all over the UK so if Kiwi you can bear with me I'll see what I can do from various pics etc here and the couple of different ones I have to hand.

Mark - most money is on the Mark IV water cart - it was the one in service during the period and given Chard's technical background I am sure he would have referred to anything else as say a "kaffir cart with water barrels" on it rather than use the term water cart.





First is line drawing of the cart - second pic is the only one I can find that is sort of period - Indian Army using a Mark IV in Mespot.

Atb - Tim
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Mark Hobson


Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 104
Location: Halifax
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Excellent - many thanks!
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Kiwi Sapper


Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 125
Location: Middle Earth & Home of Narnia; (Auckland, New Zealand)
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timothylrose wrote:
Sods law that people always ask you to let them have details out of season when your kit is dispersed all over the UK so if Kiwi you can bear with me I'll see what I can do from various pics etc here and the couple of different ones I have to hand...................


A phrase beloved by politicians, springs to mind.........

"In the fullness of time, " or perhaps even, "when the moment is right".

Smile

My thanks for you agreeing to address this at all and I will wait for you to gather your kit.

_________________
It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn't.
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Water Buckets
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