Eden’s Tunic, 1881-1899

John Henry Eden (1851-1931) joined the Green Howards on 3rd July 1872. He was well known in the regiment as a keen cricketer who maintained links with the Green Howards even after his retirement. He saw active service against the Mahdists, notably at the Battle of Ginnis, 30th December 1885. This action is supposedly the last time the well known ‘red coat’ was worn in battle.

This tunic was introduced in 1881 and was largely the same as the previous pattern except for one key difference; the colour of the facings. The Cardwell Reforms included changing every regiment’s facings to white which was highly unpopular as it removed the distinctive symbols of identity which were unique to each regiment. The reforms also changed the name of the regiment to The Princess of Wales Own Regiment (Yorkshire Regiment). Alexandra, Princess of Wales had been associated with the regiment since 1875. This was marked by a change in regimental cap badge design, which Alexandra designed. She later became the Commander-in-Chief of the Green Howards.

The lining of Eden’s tunic is quite elaborate. Civilian fashions had moved towards looser fitting garments; a change mirrored in military wear. The tunic is still lightly tailored with the addition of a waist seam strengthened by a leather band and brass hook which cinches the waist. A rounded chest shape is created by padding and quilting of the chest panel. Although the majority of the tunic is machine stitched, the quilting is made by hundreds of tiny handmade stitches in a mesh pattern.

Further information and technical detail (PDF)

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