Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The simple creatures hope he will...

...impale his solar topee on the tree.

A "fixed" version of a
very dark photograph taken on my camera phone

I found myself in Mrs. Kinch's grandparents house this evening for dinner as Mrs. Kinch was organising the feeding of her grandfather and saw no reason why I couldn't be added to the ration strength there. This is always a pleasent experience as I get to chat with Mrs. Kinch's great uncle and grandfather while she is banging pots in the kitchen.

They are two magnificent men, both founder members of the Model Soldier Society and inveterate collectors of militaria and particularly in Mrs. Kinch's great uncles case, historical trivia - his knowledge of Wellington's funeral arrangements, 19th century Parisian courteseans or conspiracy theories about Garibaldi is second to none. He told me today that we live a handshake away from history and that I had shaken the hand that had shaken the hand of Field Marshall Lord Robert's batman and a confidant of the Empress Eugenie.

Magical stuff.

My father once had dinner with Marshall Petain's brother when he was fourteen, though he only realised who the chap was years later.

A handshake away, gentlemen, we live a handshake away.

While I was making my way out the door after Mrs. Kinch had scampered off to choir, I paused to take a picture of the above display which is on one of the landings. I believe it's Boer War though I've never seen a sun helmet quite like it - the picture was very dark (it's not a particularly well lit house) and I have had to mess around with it a little.

I would be very interested if any of the mess can shed any light on the matter - has anyone seen anything quite like this before?


  1. Can't really tell from the pic but the helmet on the floor looks Boer War ish- if the wrong colour and the other couldcwell be. The bandolier was worn by many units- especially CIV and orhtet yeomanry and volunteers as well as by many "rebels" in 1916 and after. Similar were also worn by regular cavalry. By the end of the Boer War different shaped helment were in use as well as slouch hats.

  2. If memory serves, I have a older book on the Ber War (published in '01, 1901) and in some of the lithographs, some of the troops are wearing helmets quite like that one. Not sure what is underneath the cover. I thought the Boer War uniforms were more khaki-ish but I think the CIV and some other volunteers had drab uniforms instead so possibly one of these? esp given the bandoleer, popular with mounted rifles in Boer War and WW1.

    Sure wish my grandfather had lived 10 more years. Such war stories I missed!


  3. No brim, so surely not a pith/sun helmet?

    Can you have a look inside it for a label???

    Looks almost modern - like the current British army helmet....

  4. Conrad Kinch,

    The large domed hat could be what I think is called a 'Colind Hat'. These were privately made by a West End company, and the main body was straw covered with cloth.

    In actual fact it original 'Colind Hats' were made up of an inner 'hat' that fitted the head, and a much larger outer 'hat', with the airspace in between acting a a means of cooling the head. They did not have a brim.

    All the best,


  5. Good find Bob!

    CK - there's a link to an Osprey here (NW Frontier 1837-1947) and one of the colour plates (C3) shows an example:

    ...and pg 33 explains that the hat was invented by Henry Hart of Oxford Street - about 1879 - a straw outer with an inner headband to allow ventilation.. bizarre... the web is a wonderful thing... :o)

  6. Well done!

    I'll pass that information onto Mrs. Kinch's great uncle which will please him no end. I'll investigate the helmet further next time on the premises and see if it bears a makers mark.