Military uniforms often go on to have second lives after their military careers have finished. Today this is often as a piece of fashion, but a hundred years ago many items found their way into costumiers and theatres for use on the stage. Getting pretty actresses to dress up in this obviously masculine wear was highly popular and many postcards were produced with this as the subject. The slightly subversive nature of this cross dressing was seen as being perfectly acceptable for those on the stage and tonight we have a fine example of this with a postcard of the actress Gertrude Scott in naval officer’s uniform:
The young girl is a Miss A Croft, about whom I can find no information. Gertrude Scott however was born in Sevenoaks, Kent in 1877 and appeared in at least two films, ‘A Woman’s Way’ and ‘Found Out’, both produced in 1913. She died in London in 1951 at the age of 74.
In this image she is wearing the frock coat of a Royal Navy Commander, as indicated by the three rings on her cuffs:
The cap is not Royal Navy in origin and may be a civilian piece or even a theatrical prop. I don’t know the age of this postcard, but my guess is that it is Edwardian in origin and although not strictly military in origin, it was too delightful an image to leave off the blog and I hope you like it as much as I do!