Could someone help me identify this British Victorian period uniform? Is it possible to know the regiment and rank from the photo? (No name, no date, but certainly taken in the 1880s-1890s)

Thanking you in advance,

Rod Craig enter image description here

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    Please provide an in text and in title fullsome visual description of the uniform. Failing to describe the uniform makes these questions unsearchable and reduces the quality of the stackexchange. Fulsome descriptions aid the blind the visually impaired and later researchers. Jun 20, 2020 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


A little research leads me to conclude this individual was an officer of the Royal Artillery. Two elements of the photo give information to pursue, the jacket and the cap.

The uniform displayed in the above image is listed as an 'Officers Patrol Jacket' at the Australian War Memorial website:

enter image description here

There is a good amount of information you can read describing the uniform at the above site, but from the 'units' section in the description

  • Artillery units
  • Victorian Military Forces

it appears that this jacket may have been used by various units throughout the UK.

I did find another very similar jacket to the one in the OPs photo listed for sale at a site called Oakleaf Militaria.

enter image description here

The identification of this item also lists it as an officers 'patrol tunic', but the pattern on the top of the forage cap doesn't seem to match that of the OP's image, so I do not think this would be the correct unit.

British Army Victorian Zulu War period Lieutenant's "patrol" tunic with matching cap of Somerset Light Infantry. Excellent condition brocaded silk front rosettes with velvet lined collar.

A little further browsing, and associating the Artillery info from the Australian War Memorial site has lead to a couple of hits concerning the headgear.

The site The British Empire has a good image showing a pillbox cap with what appears to be the same design:

enter image description here

The caption there says (emphasis mine)

This item of undress headwear was discontinued after 1902. The star-shaped decoration in gold braid on top was special to the Royal Artillery.

This does seem to narrow the cap to one used by Royal Artillery Units.

Another image of a similar cap: enter image description here

This item from an auction site, The Saleroom is identified as

Victorian Royal Artillery Volunteers Officer’s Pill Box Cap.

So we can safely conclude from the jacket, an officer, and by the cap design, a member of the Royal Artillery. (and since the cap was discontinued in 1902, this gives us an end limit to the date range)

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    Thank you so much for this brilliant answer. I believe this photo represents one of two brothers : either John Alexander Gascoigne Watson (1863-1930) or Isaac Newton Henry Watson (1873-1941). The two brothers looked quite similar and very close to this photo which was found in a Watson family album. I have a few details about their military careers. JAG was in the Worcestershire Regiment from about 1885 to 1892 (from Lieutenant to Captain), his brother INH Watson was first in the Highland Light Infantry from 1890-1894 (2nd Lieutenant), then in the Royal Engineers from 1901 to 1917. Jun 22, 2020 at 0:36
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    I trust your findings that this must be a Royal Artillery uniform. Either I missed a period of service of one of the two brothers in the Royal Artillery, or it is someone completely different. More research required. Thanks again for this very useful answer ! Jun 22, 2020 at 0:44

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