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DateOriginal Topic
26th August 2005Service Uniform & kit:Edward Essex
By Jim
Please forgive my intrusion as I came upon this wonderfull site in searching for information on Edward Essex, 75th Regt. Foot.

Bear with me here please. I am a collector of British service dress and equipment of the 1888-1902 period and have what many would consider a highly advanced collection. While being familiar with the Zulu War, my library is very much lacking in this area with regard to officer lists of the period.

Some years ago I purchased the service frock, forage cap, foreign service helmet, water bottle, haversack,sword belt, holster, and cloth gaiters of a Lt. of the 75th foot. This group came from a private collector in the Northumberland area. Until recently I had kept this in storage. With a room full of khaki service dress and Slade-Wallace gear, I wanted a splash of color to brighten an otherwise drab room and I thought the India pattern frock would do the trick (in keeping with the active service theme of course)

Upon further inspection of the frock I noticed, in the interior armpit region, the very faint but legible initials: Lt. E. Essex. I started doing my search a few weeks back when I came upon this site. I nearly fell off my chair when I read of an officer of the same name and regt. surviving that fatefull day in 1879. After much debate and hesitation I have decided to make contact with your forum in the hope of clearing the fog around me.

The frock itself bears the cuff braid of a Lt., with yellow collar bearing no rank insignia. The shoulder straps are pipped white and are with bullion embroidered 75's.
(I will post or e-mail photos on Monday the 29th to those who are interested,,just e-mail me)

All information regarding E.Essex's service I've come upon on the internet refer to him as Captain. What I need to know is when was he promoted to Captain? Was there another E. Essex in the 75th at this time? All the items clearly show campaign use. And are no doubt period original. Breifly:The haversack resembles an officer's private purchase type of 1903, though this one is white canvas with a detachable shoulder strap. It has a strap closure instead of the more typical button type, but is of the same basic shape of the period o/r's issued with the 1871 valise equipment. The water bottle is identical to the
one carried by Lt. Chard, though this one has the complete shoulder strap. The holster and it's shoulder strap are typical of the period and bear no markings. The cloth gaiters look like those illustrated being worn by an officer of the 24th in the Osprey MAA series 'British Infantry Equipments 1815-1908'(revised edition). I suppose I'm trying to convince myself that this cannot have belonged to the same Edward Essex. Though the thought that it could is quite tantilizing! Again please forgive my intrusion. Thanks, Jim
26th August 2005Ian Woodason

Ensign/2nd Lt 19 Feb. 67
Lieut. 27 Nov 67
Captain 31 May 71

Source Hart's New Army LIst January 1880

No other Essex in that Army List


See the links (left) for the Keynsham Light Horse -= including a picture of Essex's grave
27th August 2005Keith Smith

Might I recommend a book which you would find very ineresting. It is "War and Perace in South Africa 1879-1881" and is edited by Paul H. Butterfield. Its subtitle is "The Writings of Philip Anstruther and Edward Essex". It is a limited edition publication originally purchased by subscription but pre-loved copies are available - see

27th August 2005Keith Smith

Sorry - it should read "War and Peace"
27th August 2005Peter Ewart

Graham Alexander, who contributes to this forum, has researched and written about Essex. His lengthy biographical article "Lucky Essex" was published in the 14th issue of the AZWHS Journal (Dec 2003) and contains a uniformed photograph of Essex.

Perhaps it should be "Lucky Jim"?

27th August 2005Graham Alexander

Some of the contributors to this site are like greased lightning with their replies. If you don't look every few hours someone has already supplied the answer. Ian correctly states that Edward Essex was promoted to Captain on the 31st May 1871. He served in Gibraltar and HongKong as a Lieutenant prior to this date, and the uniform that you own could well be his. I will contact you off line with photographs and some more information.

Regards Graham
29th August 2005Jim Holt
I want to thank Ian, Keith, Peter, Andy (off-line) and Graham. You have all been kind with your replies. I want to particularly thank Graham Alexander for sharing his knowledge,
and photos of Edward Essex. Graham, I hope you too enjoy the photos I sent you.
Warmest Wishes to all!