The Prince inspects the 102nd Grenadiers., Hong Kong | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

The Prince inspects the 102nd Grenadiers., Hong Kong

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The Prince inspects the 102nd Grenadiers., Hong Kong
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Friday, April 7, 1922
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Interesting because it was in 1922 that the 102nd Prince of Wales's Own Grenadiers (1824 - raised as 13th/Bengal Native Infantry in 1796) became the 2nd Battalion, 4th Bombay Grenadiers. That change is normally dated 1st March 1922, which suggests either the chaps who captioned the photo were slow on the uptake, or the regiment was reluctant to lose its identity.

Wonder what the answer is - is the resolution good enough to zoom in on a uniform detail like a hat badge?

StephenD 

The photo and the caption are from the official tour book of the Prince's visits. So they should know if they were still the 102nd Prince of Wales's Own Grenadiers.

The photo is from the (digitized) book which is the best available photo.

Regards, Klaus 

Update: here's a photo with higher resolution

Sorry all, a muddle. They were always Bombay (so, Bombay Native Infantry, not Bengal) troops going through multiple names that were variations on the same theme. Thus when they transmogrified from the independent regiment of the 102nd Prince of Wales Own Grenadiers to a battalion of the 4th Bombay Grenadiers, they had only had that style for 19 years. The pattern went:

1796 13th Battalion, Bombay Native Infantry
1797 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment Bombay Native Infantry
1798 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry
1818 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry
1824 2nd or Grenadier Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry
1876 2nd (Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry (Grenadiers)
1885 2nd (Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of Bombay Infantry (Grenadiers)
1901 2nd (Prince of Wales's Own) Bombay Grenadiers
1903 102nd Prince of Wales's Own Grenadiers
1922 2nd Battalion, 4th Bombay Grenadiers
1947 2nd Battalion, The Grenadiers

So the probability is that the uniform would have changed very little. Odd that the folk captioning the official tour book hadn't noticed the change of formal name - but then, official books are about pandering egos (and the Prince of Wales had a somewhat tender one), so retaining the ego flattering older regimental name could have been expected, albeit that it was formally incorrect.

My hunch would be that the new 2nd Battalion would anyway have retained in its battalion style its royal affiliation so, at the time of the photo, it would have properly been "2nd (Prince of Wales Own) Battalion, 4th Bombay Grenadiers". And, indeed, one finds that they did keep such a specific style...although the evidence for this comes from after an awkward event in 1936 in the United Kingdom, so the specific style had undergone a subtle shift revealing the British establishment at its whitewashing best.

For in the SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 14 June, 1938, page 3823, in the Order of Battle of the final Waziriforce for operations in Waziristan 16 Jan 1937 - 16 December 1937, amongst the elements of the Indian Army who formed the force, we find "2nd Battalion (King Edward VII's Own)
4th Bombay Grenadiers".

King Edward VII's Own?

The hunch is that they retained the "Prince of Wales Own" style until January 1936 when, with the accession of the new King (who was never crowned) they probably became "King Edward VIII's Own"...until December 1936 and the abdication when they acquired their curiously backdated sobriquet because, of course, with the accession of George VI, there was no Prince of Wales and changing a VIII to a VII was probably not too expensive.

What curious by-ways a photograph can lead one down.

Stephen D

That title had an earlier origin than 1936, as it was already used in the local newspaper reports from 1922, eg page 1 of The China Mail, 1922-04-07:

The Prince then left the Cricket Ground by the gate opening on to the tram lines between the Supreme Court and the City Hall, to inspect the men of the 1/102nd King Edward’s Own Grenadiers. At the Prince’s special request this opportunity was afforded him of inspecting the regiment of which his grandfather was Colonel in Chief.

They don't mention the VII but that would have been taken for granted in 1922.

Page 1 of The Hong Kong Telegraph, 1922-04-07 also notes this wasn't the first time the Prince had met these soldiers:

Having previously met the King Edward’s Own 1/102 Grenadiers in India, His Royal Highness expressed a wish to see this Indian Regiment during his stay in Hongkong. The regiment lined the route from the Cricket Ground to the pavilion this morning and were inspected by the Prince after the school children’s rally.

A fine body of men, they looked, practically all wearing decorations, as they stood lined up outside the Supreme Court. His Royal Highness passed between the ranks, stopping here and there to chat to an officer or man. He was given a rousing cheer as the inspection was completed and he left to attend other functions in the pavilion.

Well that is wonderfully confusing. Just goes to show that documentary sources are seldoms entirely to be trusted. From David's citation the outfit that the souvenir booklet called the 1/102nd Prince of Wales Own was, in another source, almost simultaneously being styled King Edward's Own. Ho hum - checking all the sources I've stumbled over, almost all make the same mistake as in the souvenir booklet. By 1922 it had been sixteen years since the regiment had been styled 102nd Prince of Wales' Own Grenadiers.

It turns out that the regiment got the new title in 1906, so the table in my previous should read:

1796 13th Battalion, Bombay Native Infantry
1797 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment Bombay Native Infantry
1798 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry
1818 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry
1824 2nd or Grenadier Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry
1876 2nd (Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry (Grenadiers)
1885 2nd (Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of Bombay Infantry (Grenadiers)
1901 2nd (Prince of Wales's Own) Bombay Grenadiers
1903 102nd Prince of Wales's Own Grenadiers
1906 102nd King Edward's Own Grenadiers
1922 2nd (King Edward VII's Own) Battalion, 4th Bombay Grenadiers
1947 2nd Battalion, The Grenadiers

The interpretation would thus be that after Queen Victoria died and Edward, Prince of Wales succeeded to the throne as King Edward VII, the regiment moved upwards too and became the new King's own under his new title. This seems to date from 1st January 1906, though I cannot find the official announcement.

StephenD