Recently , I was asked to carry out some research on the 10th Hussars for a friend of mine wishing to make a model figure of an officer of the 10th at El Teb.
While I did manage to find a number of modern uniform plates and quite a few contemporary illustrations, I have succeeded so far in location only one photograph.
When closely examined this photograph, however, reveals two details that can be of interest to modellers and re-enactors.
1- Contrary to most contemporary paintings and prints that show a spiked khaki (or khaki stained) helmet , the photo clearly shows a khaki helmet cover being worn on a (presumably) white helmet, with no spike.
In fact his was standard practice if the khaki covers were available .
The 10th Hossars arrived in the Sudan straight from India , where khaki helmet covers were a standard issue, as opposed to units coming from England who at this time had not yet been issued with a khaki cover and therefore had to wear stained helmets.
Most modern illustrations are obviously based on Victorian prints and paintings , and therefore have adopted the same "artistic licence" of the Victorian illustrators as far as the helmet is concerned.
2 - The second detail is of more interest to me as a weapon enthusiast!
Look at the revolver. This is a single action US Colt Army 1873 (All ranks in the US Cavalry of this period were equipped with the 7 1/2" barrel version , exactly like the one used by this British officer).
This is by no means exceptional , since British officers had to buy their own weapons and equipment and could therefore choose according to personal taste (this said, it is true that in the British army double action revolvers were generally more popular than single action ones).
Most figure collectors and painters who are still convinced that every correct figure depicting a British Officer must have a Webley will not like this!
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"What a pity you are not an Englishman!".
Gordon's remark to his Italian lieutenant, Romolo Gessi