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11th March 2004greatcoats
By JIm
Hi there,
just wondered if it was a blanket or greatcoat that was carried on the back of the infantrymen.
Would the greatcoat have been similar to the type worn by the Guards today?
and were they widely used during the Zulu war?
Many Thanks
11th March 2004Martin Everett
Dear Jim,
There were blankets and there were greatcoats - like the Foot Guards wear today. However, blackets were easier to carry. One of the problems of the Zulu campaign and agian in the Boer War was that baggage train, after decamping in the morning never reached the forward marching tropps at their stop for following night. So often soldiers had to sleep with no tent and no greatcoat.

For illustrations of the greatcoat - see 'A Soldier's Like' by W W Lloyd Lt 1/24th published in 1890s. Some of these illustrations have been recently included in David Rattray's battlefield guide.
12th March 2004Mike McCabe
In some cases, greatcoats were also carried inside the blanket roll for short periods of time - though more often in less temperate climates.

13th March 2004John Young

I reached for my copy of 'On Active Service' by W.W. Lloyd, in one illustration the men are wearing their greatcoats with their rolled blankets worn over their shoulder. Just to add to the above comments.

John Y.
14th March 2004jim
Thanks for the information