A couple of weeks ago we looked at an Indian Army mess dress jacket. As promised, tonight we follow up that post by looking at the matching pair of mess dress trousers, also commonly called ‘overalls’:These are produced in a very fine dark blue wool, with a wide red stripe down each outside leg:These trousers were produced in India in 1920, as witnessed by the large circular acceptance mark stamped on the inside:These trousers are of superb quality and not at all what we would later come to associate with Indian production. I am fairly confident however that they were produced in India rather than imported from Britain and then stamped on arrival. The buttons used throughout the mess dress are japanned stamped metal designs and although the japanning is too thick to be able to read a makers mark, they feel very ‘Indian’ to me:The base of each trouser leg is cut to fit over a pair of dress boots, and a strap with a button to secure it is sewn on to pass under the instep and prevent the trousers from riding up:The fly is secured with a row of the same buttons:The waist of the trousers is lined with a striped shirting material, the rear being cut into a ‘fish-tail’ back and having buttons (on the reverse) to attach a pair of braces to:These are very fitted trousers and as such the only pocket provided is a small change pocket inside the waist:As officers would be expected to purchase their own mess dress, the acceptance stamp is a bit of a mystery. My best guess is that these trousers were produced for issue to a senior NCO who would have received his mess kit form the government. At some point though they were acquired by an officer for use with his mess dress jacket and thus the pair have come down to us together. I am pretty confident that the jacket and trousers have been together for a very long time as Indian produced mess kit is rare and the chances of a collector or a surplus shop just happening to find them as separate entities and then matching them up seems slim to me.
Either way these trousers are in remarkable condition considering they are now 98 years old and they look like they could have been manufactured yesterday!