Royal Berkshire Regiment Scarlet Frock

As well as a dress scarlet tunic, such as the example we looked at last year, the soldier in the pre-WW1 army was also issued with a scarlet frock. This garment was simpler and cheaper than the dress tunic, and was used for everyday wear. These frocks were gradually replaced following the introduction of the khaki service dress in 1902, but were still in use up until the outbreak of World War One. As might be expected of something that was essentially work wear, these frocks survive in much fewer numbers than the tunics which found new life for many years after the conflict as band tunics. I was lucky enough to find one of these frocks this week, this example bearing the insignia of The Royal Berkshire Regiment:imageThe frock is fastened up the front with six brass general service buttons:imageBeing a Royal regiment, the Berkshires wore dark blue facings, with cuffs  in the colour:imageAnd rounded shoulder straps:imageTwo facing brass dragon collar dogs are on each collar indicate the regiment:imageThe collar itself is secured with two metal hook and eye fasteners, with a piece of cloth behind to hide the gap: imageThe rear of the frock has simple white piping down the back:imageThere are two brass hooks on the rear, sewn into the lining, which support the soldier’s waist belt:imageThe frock is a very simple garment, with no lining to the serge, and looking at the interior we can see the back of the white piping and the fabric covering the rear of the belt loops:imageThis frock has clearly been issued and used at some point as there are two long service and good conduct stripes sewn to one of the sleeves, just above the cuffs:imageI must confess I really like this item, it is in superb condition for a frock over 100 years old and has not been messed about with like so many of these garments. Thgis operiod studio shot shows the frock being worn, by a different regiment, in Malta in the late nineteenth century:image

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