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Hitch's Armsling. An R.E. Mess Waistcoat. Officer's Shirt ?
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Please can anyone supply details of these items ?

Hitch's armsling caught my attention, as it appears to be made out of
leather (?) with adjustable straps, but I can't find any information or
images about this specific piece of medical equipment anywhere on the
internet.

The R.E. Mess Waistcoat apparently worn by Col. Durnford on the day of
the battle under his patrol jacket. Are there any images of this type of
clothing he would have worn ?

Lastly, did R.E. officers have a specific style of shirt, or could these have
been made to order, bought privately by them ?

I'd very much appreciate any information.

Thankyou

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Jackets
Simon Rosbottom


Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 287
Location: London, UK
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Coll,

You are in luck - There appears to be one for sale here for 30 quid.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ROYAL-ENGINEERS-OFFICERS-MESS-JACKET-ZULU_
W0QQitemZ330087262982QQihZ014QQcategoryZ583QQrdZ1QQcmdZView
Item

Patrol jacket too. Bit more expensive though.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VERY-RARE-ZULU-WAR-Officers-Patrol-Jacket-c1875
1880_W0QQitemZ320080757728QQihZ011QQcategoryZ36035QQrdZ1QQ
mdZViewItem

Not the usual ex-film props.

Happy bidding.

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Simon
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Thanks Simon

I've had a look at both items. Regarding the mess jacket, would this have
been worn over a scarlet sleeveless waistcoat ?

Recently having watched Khartoum, General Gordon R.E. (Charlton
Heston) is in a couple of scenes wearing the sleeveless waistcoat, in other
scenes it is visible under his main jacket (although not the sleeved mess
jacket) much like Durnford would have been on the day of the battle at
Isandlwana, the waistcoat being underneath his patrol jacket.

However, as it is a film, I'm not sure if the details of the waistcoat are
exact, because if I'm correct, Durnford's watch was tangled in the
waistcoat when found, but I don't know whether the waistcoat had small
pockets, or if the watch was connected somehow to the buttons ?

Additionally, the waistcoat appears to be worn under Val Kilmer's R.E.
officer's long patrol jacket in the opening scenes of 'The Ghost and the
Darkness'.

Thanks again

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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 982
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Waistcoat -Scarlet cloth, with hooks and eyes and gilt stud down the front, and edging of gold braid all round and on collar seam. Pockets edged with gold braid forming crows' feet at ends and centre.

There's a fairly good photograph on e-Bay at present of an A.M.D. officer attached to the R.E.'s wearing one, see:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Albumen-Military-Royal-Engineer-Surgeon-Medical-1858_W0QQitemZ150089685384QQihZ005QQcategoryZ14279QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

AWD is wearing one in The Road to Isandlwana... photograph No. 3.

Shirts whatever they chose, look at th R.E.'s Museum on-line Zulu War album No. 2, for two officers in shirtsleeves.

John Y.
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Thanks John

I see the A.M.D. officer appears to have a chain attached at the fasteners and going into the pocket, I'm assuming for a watch. (same as Durnford ?)

Unfortunately, photographs No.1 - No.7 were on the pages missing from my 'The Road to Isandlwana' book. (that's what I get for buying second-hand !)

I wasn't sure about the shirt, as in Durnford's well-known portrait photograph, it looks like the collar of a shirt is just visible above the patrol jacket.

As for Hitch's armsling, I'm thinking it may be covered in a book about Victorian Medical Equipment, not necessarily military-related.

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GC Stripe ?
Sapper Mason


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 333
Location: ANGLESEY
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Very Happy ,
As most folk know on this forum i am quite " keen " on anything to do with FRED HITCH VC , in that oft seen picture of ITCH in his sling is this partially obscuring a good conduct stripe on Fred`s tunic OR am i seeing things that are not there ? , " Sapper " . Wink
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how
clive dickens


Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 162
Location: REDDITCH WORCESTERSHIRE
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While on the subject of Hitch's arm sling can anyone tell me how the hell did he manage to drive a taxi ? even in Victorian times it would be quite a difficult thing to do.
Clive
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HITCH DRIVING .
Sapper Mason


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 333
Location: ANGLESEY
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Smile
With regard to the injury sustained by FRED HITCH VC and his ability to drive one must ask just how much bone material was lost when he was shot in the shoulder , Fred was at one time a Commissionare and held this post more than once actually , he was also a porter which meant lifting quite heavy items about .Remember after he suffered his injury he travelled over much rough terrain before this injury was treated , we are told there were some 39 pieces of bone found ( i wonder who counted them ? ) , in his excellent book recently published , Alister Williams explains at great length and detail this injury and FREDS ability to cope with lifting quite heavy weights to at least level with his shoulder . Of course this must of affected FRED when driving but to what degree ? , as far as i know FRED never once complained from the moment he was shot till the day he died of his injury sustained on the 22nd Jan 1879 . The size of the wound may well have an important role to this line and the bone fragments may well have been quite small . Alister gives a good account of this injury as stated and i would suggest anyone who has not purchased his book do , read up on this injury . I am amazed FRED did not contract gangrene in his wound but all the medical reports suggest he recovered from his injury very well and as the newspapers of the time tell he was a quiet and unassuming man so a " sore shoulder " would not have put FRED off driving his cab at this time , i agree it would have been painful but FRED was not the sort of man to complain about anything , he saw 11 children into this world and the last one died in 1985 so that tells you they were of solid stock . " Sapper " Wink


Last edited by Sapper Mason on Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sapper Mason


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 333
Location: ANGLESEY
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Very Happy
Once again with regard to the picture of FRED HITCH VC with his arm in a sling , does the sling cover partially a good conduct stripe ? , the jury is still open on this as far as i can see , " Sapper " Wink
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Hitch's Armsling. An R.E. Mess Waistcoat. Officer's Shirt ?
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