The purchase of some old unpainted Mitrecap Miniatures figures, which I mentioned in my previous post, included a Lieutenant of the Surrey Yeomanry c.1905.
This figure appears to have been inspired by this 1943 illustration by Edward A. Campbell seen in R.G. Harris’ “50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms”:
The Campbell plate was itself based upon a photograph of the commander of A Squadron, Captain P. Noble Fawcett. Doubtful whether Mitrecap’s captain can be pinned down specifically as he, however, as I note that their figure does not sport his bushy moustache.
I posted recently on a portrait of an officer of the Surrey Yeomanry from the early 19th Century. The regiment in this early incarnation survived intermittently until disbanding in 1848. It was not then re-raised until 1901 when the Surrey Imperial Yeomanry were the first of a number of new yeomanry regiments raised after the inception of the Anglo-Boer War. Their uniform was originally based on that of the New South Wales Lancers, a unit which had attracted much admiration when they arrived in Britain as a delegation from Australia for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897.
In adopting this khaki uniform, the newly formed Surrey Yeomanry were correctly obeying the new instructions regarding the colour of Yeomanry service dress uniforms. The text accompanying a plate of a 1911 Surrey yeoman by P.H. Smitherman explains;
“In an attempt to curb the extravagance of dress in the mounted branches, Yeomanry regiments formed after the South African war were encouraged to confine themselves to khaki service dress… The trooper in this plate (see below) is wearing the type of uniform that all yeomanry regiments should have adopted after the Boer War, but which few of them did. As can be seen, it is a smart and practical dress, although not perhaps as flamboyant as was customary for the yeomanry. It is a dress of lancer pattern with cap lines although the regiment never wore the lance cap.” (P.H. Smitherman “Uniforms of the Yeomanry Regiments 1783-1911)
It’s interesting to note that despite the push to place Yeomanry troops in khaki, “few of them did”. R.J. Smith and R.G. Harris acknowledge that “the Yeomanry have always had the reputation of being a law unto themselves concerning some aspects of military regulations…” (“The Yeomanry Force at the 1911 Coronation”).
The Marrion’s, Smitherman’s and Campbell’s interpretation of the colour of khaki worn varies considerably, so I’m happy that my figure’s khaki exists somewhere between these extremes. Below is R.J. Marrion’s vision of a Surrey trooper at the time of the 1911 coronation:
I confess to making a mess of attaching the hat and left hand to the figure. It took me a while to work out how it was to be held but, after spreading glue liberally in places it wasn’t needed, I finally got it about right.
The face of the yeoman appeared to me to wearily have his eyes closed, the consequence of a long day in the saddle. After the application of paint, it seemed to work well so – possibly for the first time – I’ve painted a figure with his eyes shut.
Once again, a lovely piece of sculpting by Mitrecap. I’m not sure whether I’ve done it justice or not but I’ve enjoyed painting this figure which now takes it’s place as the 9th 54mm yeoman in my collection.
Stop Press! In typical style, I forgot to add a small silver badge to the turned up side of the slouch hat. To be fair, the sculptor hasn’t included it either, but it’s something I’ll include anyway.
It appears to be this white metal cap badge. This Other Ranks version being the crest of Lord William St.John Freemantle Brodrick, 9th Viscount Midleton, Hon. Colonel of the Regiment. The Surrey Imperial Yeomanry wore this badge on the turned up side of their slouch hats.
Brodrick was Secretary of State for war and gave his name to an unpopular British army undress cap of the time.