I recently came across this tunic from the 1st Battalion Middlesex Volunteers who were based in The Elms in Hornsey in the years around 1900. (Read more of that story on HoL here)
This is a classic British Army 'red coat' scarlet tunic, apparently of rough cloth, with 1st Battalion Middlesex Volunteer woven shoulder titles. There is also a badge on the sleeve showing a rifle (I seem to recall the regiment being referred to at the 1st Rifles at some point: perhaps it's signifying that).
The old label also survives showing that it was an order from Samuel Brothers Ltd London for a man called Harling at Hornsey.
I thought it would be interesting to see if I could narrow down the field on who this Harling might be. Allowing for Anecstry's peculiarities, I could only find one Harling in Hornsey. William Harling fits the bill, He was a 22-year-old mechanical engineer from Hornsey Park Road.
When I was writing up The Elms story I contacted a couple of the regimental organisations, who were both very helpful. I've alerted then about this tunic and I hope I'll learn more about this tunic as a result
(Click and click again on both images to enlarge them.)
I'm no expert, having merely been a cadet at the TACentre for a few teenage years!
Therefore just some guesswork to narrow things down, hopefully. From the info below, it might be that this uniform predates the 1881 merger, because of yellow rather than white facings. The crossed rifles insignia is a marksman's badge. I didn't happen to come across any reference to "The Rifles" in connection with the Middlesex. As for the two small badges on right arm, I wonder if they wrere trade/proficiency badges.
The [Middlesex] regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 with two regular, two militia and four volunteer battalions:
….. 1st Volunteer Battalion formerly The 3rd Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps …..
…..The regimental facings were yellow lapels and cuffs on the standard infantry red coats of the period, from the establishment of the 59th Regiment of Foot in 1755 and its renumbering as the 57th two years later. When linked with the 77th Regiment in 1881, white facings were adopted by the two battalions now making up the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment. Coincidentally the 77th had also worn yellow facings until the merger. In 1902 the entire regiment adopted lemon-yellow of a distinctive shade associated with the 77th until 1820
It sounds like it could be pre-1881, unless of course those are yellowed whites! This would mean that Mr Harlling's location in Hornsey was just coincidental.
As well as contracting the regimental organisation, I have also contacted Samuel Brothers who offered to try and identify the date.
It could also perhaps be that the volunteers were at the end of the line for replacements to be issued sometime after 1881!
PS "Rifles" of course appear in earlier Middlesex unit titles.My mind was on the more modern amalgamations elsewhere being "The Rifles" as the whole title. That's my excuse, anyway.
Observations - silver white metal (as opposed to brass) buttons denoting Volunteer unit.
Victoria crown on General Service buttons.
Wonder if Harling was in front row of this detachment!
Currently on ebay:
"Printed photographic postcard showing NCO's and men serving with the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Middlesex Regiment together with a Machine Gun and limber. Sent to Miss W. Saunders, Wakelands, Ringmer, near Lewes, Sussex. Posted from Barnet JAN 1 04."
Definitely! Shall I colourise it, ensuring we have yellow detailing)?
Ah, but it might have been updated to white by then. One of the sweet mysteries of life ;-)
Possibly, but I was seeking to enter a conspiracy to fix it.
'Ere, I might have misdeduced from that uniform and formation data. Contrary to common belief, I am not infallible!
1st VB was formed in 1881, so that is a baseline date. The white facings were adopted by the two battalions now making up the new regiment. Perhaps that meant regular not volunteer battalions. Roy aka Smiffy has advised that vols are distinguished from regs by different style buttons, so why not likewaise with facings. There is an antique print also on ebay of another branch of Middlesex volunteers, dated 1900, so these units were still around, presumably until the Haldane Reforms of whenever (1908? without looking it up)
So the uniform pic might simply be as stated, c 1900, and be the identified census bloke.
That's right. The 1881 date is what's in the thread I linked to. All the military-related info I had in that thread was verified by the Queen's Regiment Association. I'm hoping they'll respond to my message about this tunic. If so, in the event that Samuel Brothers dome't come through, I can QRA about a date.
Dear Hugh, I am VERY excited that you have uncovered a Harling - because I am a Harling, and there are not too many of us about.....my father's family came from Deptford and I have never heard of a Hornsey connection. On my mother's side I am connected with the Bruce family so coming to live near Bruce Castle is "coming home" for me!!