65th (2nd Yorkshire North Riding) Regiment of Foot
We wear the 1860s campaign uniform, worn by British units serving in New Zealand in the 1860s, of navy blue serge fatigue jacket (rather than the traditional red) and Kilmarnock (pork pie) forage cap, with standard British Enfield equipment. Some of us also have red 1856 pattern parade tunics and 1855 pattern shakos.
Being literally at the ends of the Earth from England, it would have taken some time for new dress regulations to be implemented by troops in New Zealand. The voyage alone was at least 6 months.
There are two theories about why troops in New Zealand wore blue fatigue jackets:
There is photographic evidence of the 65th parading in New Plymouth in 1861 wearing white duck trousers, which had been abolished. They were supposed to be for use in the tropics and New Zealand is definitely temperate (much like England, only sunnier).
The 65th on parade, New Plymouth, Taranaki, March 1861
Alexander Turnbull Library - PA1-q-250-04
Officers displayed their traditional lack of regard for regulation in the field. Most of them stowed their sword and equipped themselves with an Adams, Tranter, or Colt revolver and wore other ranks' fatigue jackets with no devices.
“On Wednesday, the 27th [March 1861] the 65th assembled for parade, mustering to the number of between 300 and 400 men. It was a gratifying sight to contemplate these noble fellows, whose gallant bearing shone forth through all the motley & parti colored array of their well worn, threadbare, curiously-clouted raiment – scarce two jackets were alike and of the whole there were but two of the scarlet hue; caps with the regimental number were at a discount whilst a trusty cutlass in many cases did honourably duty for the officers’ holiday swords. A finer body of men it would be difficult to meet with, and I would willingly have given a trifle to have seen them paraded, just as they were, along with some of the swell corps before Her Majesty in Hyde Park. It will readily be imagined what a sensation these warrior heroes would have created. Colonel Wyatt, as well he might, looked delighted at the appearance of his men, and the men, in return, appeared to be equally pleased with their Colonel.” ( “The Waitara and the War from a Civil point of View” - from the New Zealander - April 6. – Taranaki Herald, 20th April 1861 – p. 4)
During the Crimean War (1854 - 56), beards were allowed. This practice was widespread, indeed almost universal in the British Army during the 1860s. Most photographs of the period show soldiers of this regiment with huge bushy beards, unlike some other regiments. However, their hair appears to be rather short and neat. Indeed, Sheffield Grace commented in his book “The men of the 65th who paraded were shaggy, bearded giants, roughly clad, with their arms in excellent order", unlike some other regiments, recently arrived from garrison duty in Australia.
Six soldiers of the Light Infantry Company, 65th Regiment.
From left to right: Drummer James Kendrick (another source identifies him a Bugler Austin), Colour Sergeant [Alexander] William Acheson, Private Tobin, Lance-Corporal John Lennox, Sergeant Feltham and Sergeant (another source identifies him as Corporal) John Russell.
Alexander Turnbull Library - 1/2-025608-F
(from Uniforms & Equipment of the British Army 1866 - original spelling retained) - my notes in brackets.
Click on jump for photograph. Also see some of the research material in the page List of Changes to British Army weapons, uniforms and equipment relevant to an infantry unit during the period we portray.
(* Light infantry, including light company of line regiments, have no drummers)
(*not full list, just what a man would carry)
For a full list of where to obtain these items, see the Equipment List and Suppliers.
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Last updated 10 June 2009