BRITISH WW 1 STUNNING CONNAUGHT RANGERS OFFICERS GROUPING.
Possibly one of the most complete groupings we have ever had to one officer from this famous Irish regiment. What makes this lot particularly spectacular is the fact that the officer who once owned and wore the uniform in active service kept extensive notes identifying the items including various details of the actions they were worn in and various details of wounds received whilst using the equipment. Particularly poignant amongst the grouping is a set of converted 08 webbing for officer use with some elements showing extensive blood and battle damage. This is accompanied by a well written letter explaining where this damage was sustained and the subsequent injuries received from enemy action. The main body of the group consists of two very high quality officers tunics extensively tailor named to the officer. They are interesting tunics in themselves being of regimental pattern very close standard cuff rank uniforms however in the Connaught’s fashion. The lower bag pockets have no buttonhole and are fixed to the interior. The main tunic is of very thick Barathea fabric, this was a relatively new fabric at the time and was considered a luxury and was worn extensively by the Guards and is relatively unusual upon ordinary service dress and shows an officer of extreme wealth. To each collar are typical bronzed Connaught’s collar badges with matching buttons throughout and Captain rank stars to the cuffs that clearly show promotion from Lieutenant with slight mismatching which logically would have happened in the field when an officer was promoted. The underside of the collar is particularly interesting with two closure tabs, this was to seal the tunic against gas attack and thus the gas hood could be tucked within the collar of the jacket. The Dublin’s tailor label clearly reading ‘Captain A.L.B..Anderson’, also pinned to the interior is a nicely scripted note reading ‘Coat that I wore in France in January 1915’. A second cuff rank jacket is within the grouping and is possibly a slightly earlier jacket of the very fine rough wool, again in the same Connaught’s fashion with signs of ranking removed to the cuffs however one pip remaining. The tunic is in good condition with service wear and one or two small moth nips and is a good long bloused type tunic with typical belt reinforcing, this too having the officers name being ‘A.L.B.Anderson, Connaught Rangers’ and a date of ‘September 1914’ and once again this tunic has an interesting notation pinned to the interior of the inner skirt reading ‘Coat worn by me in France 1914/1915’. This tunic has a matching set of trousers within the outfit of exactly the same cloth with again the same tailor’s label being a Dublin maker and ‘A.L.B.Anderson’ and a date of ‘September 14’. Interestingly these trousers are cut very much like other ranks trousers in the form of the two small reinforcement tacks below the pockets. There is another pair of trousers of a light whipcord nature, again these in the same cut with the false turn-ups on the bottom, which were the fashion of the time. Within the set is various elements of early 08 webbing that has been converted in France for this officer including a pair of 1914 braces, one with battle damage and blood staining, a 1914 dated 08 belt with additional D rings attached, this too has extensive battle damage and deformation to the brass keeper from the shrapnel. There are two side packs, one of the extremely early type having additional straps for water bottle mounting to the front, this has been re-tailored to the back so it simply slides upon the belt, the other well worn haversack carried by him throughout the war has extensive blood staining to the rear. As afore-mentioned there is a fascinating letter written between the wars upon Indian station notepaper enclosed within an envelope reading ‘NOTE ON THE CONTENTS OF HAVERSACK’ this letter being dated ‘1930’. The letter clearly maps out various items that were held within the haversack as well as information about them including the description ‘The belt of the web equipment which was worn in action in France was adapted by a cobbler in La Havre, France in November of 1914. The buckle sustaining battle damage, sustained on the 17th April 1916. Although in extremely fragile condition there is the VERY RARE scarce sniper’s veil, this is of brown light material with a fixed inner goggle arrangement. The letter again fascinatingly mentions the item referring it as ‘the brown veil worn June 1915 in France while using my sniper rifle.’ Other elements within the grouping include compass with his details of Irish regiment and then subsequent inter-war service with the 15th Lancers, First World War map board, various protractors, rulers, inflatable pillow, tropical size officers private purchase water bottle and an very fine luxury officers map case with all contents present and a large amount of paperwork still held within, including original chinagraph still written to the inner for overlay of map. There are two Princess Mary’s gift tins including a 1914 and 15 dated example and various items within the group may pertain to other military relatives. There is a very fine agenda within a Moroccan leather case for the visit of Her Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught to Delhi in February of 1921 that mentions Anderson as part of the entourage. There are many items held within an extremely fine quality brown leather travelling briefcase-like trunk with his initials upon the exterior and a deep excellent Dublin Maker’s marking to the leatherwork. Also held within the lot is a very fine First World War period officers staff type cap with red band integral and London West label to the interior in good condition. Two fine polo style inter war officers tropical helmets. There are numerous notebooks as well as other items with notation including a fine Indian proverb book with hand written label reading ‘This was carried in my top pocket during 1914 and 1915’. Small items include two French made fuse containers in cardboard, these are interesting items themselves and clearly were for disposable use and this is the first time we have ever observed such items. Various sets of Sam Browne equipment including shoulder straps with whistle holders in place and interestingly to the leatherwork there appears to be nicks and period repairs, these may well also be battle damage, although this is uncertain. The whole grouping consists of one full suitcase and one large bag’s worth of items. Items such as these seldom ever reach the market these days and very much reflect the wealth and the evocative period that these items were produced in, all being of the finest quality and to an officer who took great care in recording many aspects of his career. The officer himself was a man who clearly enjoyed recording and writing, his private papers are now held within the Imperial War Museum, these can be accessed via the internet and were the original submitted by the family. He served 1st Battalion Connaught Rantgers upon the western front and as part of the Ferozepor Brigade 3rd Lahore Division, November 1914 to December 1915. Including service in frontline trench positions in Bethune, Givenchy and the line at Rue Du Cailloux, moving then on in 1915 to the infamous Ypres Salient. He was involved on the attack on Langemarck by his brigade as well as enduring a chlorine gas attack. They were relocated and took part in the battle of Festubert as well as the battle of Luz. The regiment was to leave France in December of 1915 and travel to the theatre of war in Mesopotamia against Turkish troops as part of the 7th Indian Brigade 3rd Indian Division where they served from January through to April 1916 and took part in divisional strength actions to divert attention from the siege of Kut. As with so many historic groupings the uniforms of Anderson were fairly recently released onto the collectors market and large amounts of fine dress uniforms found themselves in a well known saleroom, however the family clearly released to them fairly mundane green uniforms to private tender. He was to serve with the 37th Lancers between the war as well as Viceroy’s bodyguard’s adjutant, he was clearly close to the royal household and coming from a well known aristocratic Irish family had many connections throughout the inter-war years. It is fascinating how some named items are difficult to research and very little is known of their history, however other items such as this grouping are amazing and one puts the name into a search engine and finds an enormous amount of information, however much more could be found and this is certainly worthy of publication or public display.