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"Gurkha's British Officer for 1870s" Topic

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Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2018 6:37 a.m. PST

Does anyone have a good idea what type a uniform a British officer commanding Gurkhas in the 1870s would wear. Specifically I am interested in what type of uniform he would be wearing if the Gurkhas that he commanded were wearing green uniforms. This is the closest that I can find, but the details are hazy and I question whether such an officer would have worn that home service looking helmet: link

4DJones02 Sep 2018 8:17 a.m. PST

Pith helmets with spikes were worn in India, not sure amongst European officers of the Gurkhas though.

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2018 9:32 a.m. PST

Here's one photo confirming 4DJones comment:


Unfortunately, it is not dated in the article, but Googling Gurkha officers 1870 will bring up other photos.


Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2018 12:37 p.m. PST

Thank you. It does appear that these officers did wear spiked pith helmets during this period. However, since the photos are in black and white, I can not tell whether they are black, green or a very dark khaki. It is clear that the uniforms are green, but it is harder to tell the color of the helmets. They do look darker than the color painting that I posted above, which is certainly khaki. Does anyone have suggestions concerning the color that the helmets worn with the green uniform would have been.

Thank you,

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2018 2:45 p.m. PST

FWIW, Mollo's The Indian Army has two colored prints of British officers in dark green coats> Both prints show the officers in matching dark green helmets. One print is an officer in the 1882 Egyptian campaign; the other is noted as c. 1890. Neither unit is a Gurkha unit.

Personally, I went with a dark green helmet to match the coat for my British officer in my unit of Coke's Rifles. I do not think it is unreasonable.


Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP13 Dec 2018 10:51 p.m. PST

Late to this party but would like to confirm and slightly expand the excellent replies from others: in the 1870s British officers of Gurkha regiments could wear glengarries, pillbox caps, forage caps, or foreign service helmets. The helmets could be dyed either rifle green (very dark shade) or khaki, matching the color of uniform their regiment was in.

Here's a couple of photos and a period illustration that show each type of headgear, in a mix of rifle green and khaki colors…

First, British Gurkha officers during the Second Afghan War of 1878-1880, in Khaki, most in pillbox caps, one in a glengarry:


Second, a photo labelled "c.1870" showing British officers and native NCOs of the 44th (Sylhet) Bengal Native Infantry, which later became the 44th Gurkha Rifles, the British officers in a mix of pillbox caps and peaked forage caps:


And last but not least, a Second Afghan War illustration showing a British Gurkha officer in foreign service helmet:


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