Tonight the blog starts the first of a five part series covering the Player’s Cigarette Card set ‘Military Uniforms of the British Empire Overseas’:This set was issued in the late 1930s and covers a wide range of the different combat and ceremonial uniforms of the militaries of the Empire. Each week we are going to look at ten of the cards, with the captions drawn from the back of the cards themselves:
Cape Town Highlanders
Under the Defence Acts of the Union of South Africa, every citizen between seventeen and sixty years of age is liable for military service in any part of South Africa, whether within or outside the boundaries of the Union. There is also a liability to compulsory service for all citizens between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-five. The Permanent Force is recruited on a voluntary basis, service being for a period of three years; re-engagement for periods of two years is permitted up to the age of forty-five for privates and fifty for non-commissioned officers. We show a Regimental Sergeant Major of the Cape Town Highlanders; the Town Hall, Cape town, appears in the background.
Prior to the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, the four self-governing Colonies of Cape Colony, Natal, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State each maintained volunteers and militia. Under the present Defence Acts of the Union, every citizen between the ages of seventeen and sixty is liable for military service in any part of South Africa. During the Great War, the union nobly played its part in defence of the Empire, and over 221,000 men served in the various theatres of war. Our illustration shows a sergeant of the Kimberley Regiment, with Kimberley Town Hall in the background.
The Union of South Africa Defence Force is divided into (a) the Permanent Force, which is recruited on a voluntary basis; (b) the Coast Garrison Force, supplementing those portions of the Permanent Force detailed for this purpose; (c) the Active Citizen Force, which corresponds to the Territorial Army in Great Britain; (d) the Commandos, formed form members of the Defence Rifle Associations; and (e) the Reserves. Enrolment into the Active Citizen Force is for a period of four years and re-engagement for periods of one year is permitted. Our picture shows a Regimental Sergeant-Major of the Witwatersrand Rifles: a view of Johannesburg appears in the background. The Witwatersrand, of which Johannesburg is the centre, is a region rich in gold-fields.
Regiment Louw Wepener
The Orange Free State, to which this regiment belongs, was one of the four self-governing Colonies which maintained Volunteers and Militia before the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910. Military re-organization was then carried out by the Government in which General Louis Botha was Prime Minister and General Smuts the Minister of Defence. At the present time, the Defence Force of the Union is divided into five categories…We show a Sergeant of the Regiment Louw Wepener; in the background may be seen the Provincial Legislative Chamber (formerly the Raadzaal), Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State.
The Rhodesia Regiment
The Southern Rhodesia Defence Force originated with the early Pioneers and 1892 developed into a Volunteer force which served in the Matabele War and Rhodesia Rebellion. In 1899 it became the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers, with units in the principal centres and Rifle Companies in outlying districts. Volunteers therefrom served in the Boer War and the Great War. In 1926 the Defence Act was promulgated, instituting compulsory peace training, and the Rhodesia Regiment- of two Battalions- was formed from members of the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers and other citizens in the larger towns. We show a Sergeant of the Rhodesia Regiment in Drill Order, standing in front of the Drill Hall at Salisbury, S. Rhodesia.
The British South African Police
The police force of the Colony of Southern Rhodesia was originally recruited to accompany the Pioneers in the Occupation of Mashonaland in 1890, and later saw service in the Matabele War of 1893, the Matabele and Mashona Rebellions of 1896 and the Boer War. The Force was then known as the B.S.A. Company’s Police, after the Charter Company which was responsible for the government of the territory. The B.S.A. Police saw service in German East Africa (1915-18), and was also responsible for the capture of Schuckmansberg in German South-West Africa in 1914. We show a trooper (full-dress) in front of the Regimental Institute, B.S.A.P. Depot, Salisbury, S Rhodesia.
The British South Africa Police: Native Askari
The Native Police of Southern Rhodesia are recruited from the Matabele and Mashona tribes of the Colony, and from the adjoining territories of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. Although forty years ago their ancestors were uncivilised, the present day recruits reach a high standard of discipline and efficiency. They work in co-operation with European members in all branches of the Force, while a special platoon of Askari performs guard duties at Government House. The H.Q. and Training School are at Salisbury. During the Great War numbers of them saw service in German East Africa. The background shows the Municipal Offices, Salisbury, S. Rhodesia.
Australian Light Horse
Members of all the Australian Light Horse Regiments served in the South African War and sixteen Regiments carry battle honours for the Great War. The members of the Light Horse Regiments, which are mostly drawn from the country areas, are volunteers who provide their own mounts. The regiments are numbered a far as possible with those of the Australian Imperial Force, but they also retain their old titles, “Royal New South Wales Lancers,” “Victorian Mounted Rifles,” etc., by which they were known before the Commonwealth took over control of defence matters in 1901. We show a trooper of the Australian Light horse; the City Hall, Brisbane, appears in the background.
Royal Australian Artillery
It is interesting to recall that “two pieces of ordnance” were erected in Sydney in 1789 at the time when the garrison in New South Wales was composed of British troops. From this small beginning has grown the Royal Australian Artillery, which includes Field, medium, Heavy, Anti-Aircraft and Survey Units. Like the other arms of the Commonwealth Military Forces, the Artillery is mainly composed of Militia enlisted on a voluntary basis. The uniform shown is worn by the Militia Field and Medium Batteries. Prior to the Great War, Australian Batteries saw service in Suakin, 1885, and in South Africa. The background shows the Residence of the State Governor, Sydney, N.S.W.
The Battalions of Australian Infantry, which are composed of voluntarily enlisted Citizen Forces, are numbered to correspond with those of the Australian Imperial Force, and every effort is made to maintain the traditions established in the Great War. Battalion areas are allotted on a territorial basis throughout Australia. In addition to their numbers, the Regiments have territorial titles e.g. the 1st Battalion is The East Sydney regiment and the 6th is The Royal Melbourne Regiment. The uniform depicted us typical, but some battalions wear uniforms similar to those of British Regiments. All battalions carry battle honours for the Great War. The Town Hall, Melbourne, appears in the background.