~ British Victorian Uniform Grouping Of General A.W. Thorneycroft - Boer War Hero ~
Formerly the property of General A. W. Thorneycroft, a hero of the Boer War, he was a key figure in the Battle of Ladysmith in 1899.
~ The Uniform ~
The group comprises of :-
A Red wool frock coat with black collar and piped white cuffs. Both cuffs and collar are heavily embroidered in a gold bullion oak leaf motif and has all of the brass General's pattern buttons attached. It comes complete with gold cord shoulder boards with rank insignia. The Interior features a padded silk lining with tailor's label (J. Daniels & Co, 1 Artillery Place, Woolwich & 34 Bury St, St. James, S.W) named to Gen. Thorneycroft, No. 988.
Together with black wool trousers with a gold braid stripe and a gold and crimson sash with tassels.
The group also includes a black felt Royal Navy bicorn with gold cord and tassels with leather sweatband, by makers Gieve, Matthews & Seagrove Ltd. Signature on inside of sweatband reads F. Calloway, A.P. It came with the uniform but is obviously unrelated.
~ Dimensions ~
The jacket measures 23" across the chest - from armpit to armpit.
The trousers measure 36" waist with a 36" leg.
The inside of the bicorn measures 6" wide by 8" long.
~ Condition ~
The jacket is in good condition with no visible damage to the exterior, whilst the interior lining is slightly ripped near the makers label and features some stains and marks near the inside of the opening.
The trousers have no rips of stains.
The sash is in very good condition with no damage or stains.
The bicorn is in good condition with unmarked felt. Inside silk lining has rips and tears. No damage to leather sweatband, only slight discolouration.
~ Alexander Whitelaw Thorneycroft (1859 - 1931) ~
Colonel Thorneycroft was born on January 19th, 1859. Being destined for the Army, he was appointed at the age of eighteen to a commission in the Militia, from which he passed on February 22nd, 1879, to a Second-Lieutenancy in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. His battalion had just left England for Natal, and thither the young Fusilier proceeded to join it. The Zulu War was at that moment imminent. Through that the Royal Scots Fusiliers fought gallantly, Thorneyeroft with them as a junior Subaltern. Then came the difficulty with Sekukuni. The Royal Scots Fusiliers were to the fore, and conducted themselves admirably at the capture of the town and storming of the Fighting Koppic. But it rarely happens that very junior officers are afforded an opportunity of distinguishing themselves, so that Lieutenant Thorneycroft, as he had become, had to be satisfied with the South African medal and clasp as his share of the honours of war.
He later became famous at the battle of Spion Kop in the Boer War as founder of the Thorneycroft Light Horse Regiment .
~ The Battle of Spion Kop ~
The Battle of Spion Kop was fought during the campaign to relieve Ladysmith, South Africa, after the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State had gotten a jump on the British Empire and besieged a British army in the town. It was the single bloodiest episode in the campaign, as well as a harbinger of the bitter and desperate fighting still to come in the Second Boer War.
Spion Kop, just northeast of Ladysmith, was the largest hill in the region, being over 1,400 feet high, and it lay almost exactly at the center of the Boer line. If the British could capture this position and bring artillery to the hill they would then command the flanks of the surrounding Boer positions.
On the night of 23 January 1900, a large British force under Major General Edward Woodgate was dispatched to secure the height, with Lt. Colonel Alexander Thorneycroft selected to lead the initial assault. However, the Boers refused to give up the position and a bitter two days of fighting ensued. In the initial darkness the British mistakenly entrenched at the center of the hill instead of the crest, and suffered horribly from Boer marksmen clinging to the periphery. Suffering badly themselves, the Boers were finally inclined to admit defeat when they discovered that the British had retreated, leaving behind their many dead. Yet, in light of the devastation wrought on both sides, the British were finally able to rally and relieve Ladysmith four weeks later.
Please Note: The boots (unrelated), manquin and the beard are not included in this sale.