A Famous Military Fashion and the Man Behind It

I live in Baiting Hollow, N.Y. It’s an adorable little hamlet in
the town of Riverhead right down the road from Greenport, on the north fork of
Long Island. Baiting Hollow is north of “The Hamptons,” so of course
upon moving to Baiting Hollow, I had to subscribe to Town and Country magazine
— pick up a copy, it’s hilariously over the top. Anyway, one of the
first issues I received had an article about a restaurant coming to Riverhead
called The Riverhead Project, owned by a guy that had a restaurant called The
Frisky Oyster in Greenport. Long story short, my brother and his girlfriend
come up from Texas to visit and they want to go visit their friend who is
opening a new restaurant in Riverhead called The Riverhead Project. Kevin
Bacon’s got nothing on Six Degrees of Elizabeth Mansfield.

Not your average painting

Ted, Mary and I go to dinner. The restaurant is beautiful. The food is
fantastic. On the wall in the back is a giant abstract painting probably the
size of a 6-foot square. At least it looks like an abstract painting. It’s
not. It’s the restaurant’s new marketing gimmick. It is a giant QR
code. You see them everywhere now and they direct you to the web for more
information. They are even on this page and throughout the other pages of
O&P Business News.

QR Codes
© iStockphoto.com

So, Ted takes out Mary’s iPhone, downloads an app to read the code,
takes a picture of the code and voila. Up pops the “Double Rainbow
Guy” video on YouTube. How cool is that?

For use in O&P

So, imagine you’ve got patients in the reception area, or treatment
rooms, and you’ve got pictures on the wall of some of your most
interesting, challenging and/or inspiring patients. You can create your own QR
code for each picture and place it prominently within the photograph. All
anyone with the app has to do is click on the barcode with their camera and the
content of your choice is delivered right to their phone.

What could these codes lead to, you ask? You name it. For one of the
pictures, it’s the patient’s YouTube video. For another of the
pictures, it’s the article on the patient that was published. For another
one of the pictures, it’s a slideshow of how the prosthesis was
fabricated. The possibilities are endless.

For use in marketing

Think about your
marketing materials and how you are represented. These are
all printed out on paper, right? This is not exactly what you would call
interactive. But they can be now. Insert a QR code that allows the reader to
scan the code to get even more information. This method takes your brochure
from a two dimensional piece of paper to a living, breathing —
metaphorically of course — document. How cool is that?

If you’re a regular reader you know that I like to beat the
“marketing is marketing” drum all the time. But, it’s true.
Every business, from dog walking to restaurants to office supply stores to
airlines have to market and they all can provide inspiration.

Elizabeth Mansfield 0BB1C12B41ACD99C6FB62A54DEFC0EF.jpeg” alt=”Captain Sam Browne returned to duty with the help of a belt he fashioned to hold his weapon in place.” width=”250″ height=”300″ hspace=”0″ vspace=”0″ border=”1″>
  Captain Sam Browne returned to
duty with the help of a belt he fashioned to hold his weapon in place.
  Photo credit: Wikimedia

Sam Browne Belts dressed up many military and police uniforms. Draped
diagonally across the right shoulder, the belt is rooted in function, not

Captain Sam Browne of the British army invented the belt to compensate
for the loss of his left arm in what the British called “the Indian
Mutiny” of the late 1850s. The conflict pitted Queen Victoria’s
troops against Indian rebels who were fighting to throw off years of British
colonial rule.

A legacy

After Browne, a cavalry officer, became an amputee, he found it almost
impossible to steady the scabbard and draw his sword with only one arm. So he
devised a special sword belt to hold the scabbard in place.

While he is best known for the Sam Browne Belt, Browne was no parade
ground soldier. He was a fighter who won the Victoria Cross, Britain’s
highest award for bravery in battle, on the day he lost his arm.

Even so, his name mostly lived on in the belt, which was popular with
officers in many armies and with 20th century U.S. lawmen.

A life-saving act

Born to British parents in India in 1824, Browne rode in the Second
Punjab Irregular Cavalry. The horsemen were chasing rebels in the Oudh province
when a battle broke out on Aug. 31, 1858, at Seerporah.

The London Gazette reported that the British attacked at daybreak. The
rebels were armed with muskets, swords and at least one cannon.

Braving a hail of gunfire, Browne, on horseback, charged “with one
orderly Sowar [Indian cavalryman in the British forces] upon a nine-pounder gun
that was commanding one of the approaches to the enemy’s position, and
attacked the gunners, thereby preventing them from reloading, and firing upon
the Infantry, who were advancing to the attack,” according to the

Nicknamed “Sam Brun Sahib” by the Sowars, Browne was astride
“a spirited horse named Sheriff” and galloped toward the foe
“without hesitation,” the Isle of Wight County Press reported in his
1901 death notice. An Indian-born British civilian, William Malcolm Low, and a
group of Sowars followed Browne.

At least some of the rebels were sepoys, or Indians who had served in
the British army.

“Browne rode to encounter an armed sepoy wielding a tulwar [curved
sword], but as his horse approached within a few yards of the native, it
swerved to the right, exposing Browne’s bridle arm,” according to the
County Press.

The sepoy lunged at Browne, slashing him with his tulwar. The sharp
sword almost severed the captain’s right arm.

“As he fell, he exclaimed, ‘That brute Sheriff,’”
the Press read. Low, who would become a member of parliament, killed the sepoy.
He immediately applied first aid and saved Browne’s life, if not his limb.
“Fortunately Mr. Low had a tourniquet in his pocket, which he promptly
applied to the injured limb, and this undoubtedly prevented Browne from
bleeding to death,” the Press read.

A new challenge

The Gazette article, written in 1861 when Browne received his Victoria
Cross, credited Browne with “cutting down one of his assailants.” At
the same time, the cannon, “was prevented from being reloaded, and was
eventually captured by the Infantry, and the gunner slain.”

Browne recovered, returned to duty and buckled on his cavalry sword
again. However, he soon ran into problems with his trusty blade.

In the British cavalry of Browne’s day, troopers wore swords
attached to their waist belts via a leather loop called a frog. The frog was
given to sliding around on the belt, especially during teeth-rattling,
bone-jarring charges on horseback. To pull the sword, a trooper had to grasp
the scabbard with one hand and the sword hilt with the other.

The solution

Browne sat to work solving the problem of employing a cavalry sword with
only one arm. His answer was the Sam Browne Belt. Browne’s original belt
is on display at Sandhurst, the British Royal Military Academy.

He designed a belt that went around his right shoulder and hooked to the
waist belt, thereby holding the frog in place. He was thus able to unsheathe
– and sheathe – the blade with his right hand. For extra measure,
Browne also devised a way to strap a pistol and holster to the shoulder

His brother officers liked the looks of the rig. They began sporting the
belts as a form of military fashion. Soon, the Sam Browne belt became a common
uniform accoutrement among British officers in India.

Status symbol

Eventually, the belt became popular with officers throughout the army.
British officers strapped them on in the South African Boer wars of the late
19th and early 20th centuries in World War I.

British generals such as Sir Douglas Haig sported the Sam Browne. So did
allied generals including Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France, the supreme allied
commander, and General John J. Pershing, commander of the U.S. Expeditionary
Force in France.

Sam Browne belts continued to be popular in armies around the world
until World War II. Afterwards, they fell out of favor.

In the military, almost all Sam Browne wearers were commissioned

But in the early 20th century, police departments in many U.S. cities
adopted the belts as standard equipment for uniformed officers. State police in
several states also buckled on Sam Browne belts.

A promotion

Meanwhile, Browne overcame his disability to become a distinguished
combat commander in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. In 1878, he commanded troops
which captured Ali Masjid, the strategic strongpoint at the entrance to the
Khyber Pass. He led his forces through the rugged pass and seized Jalabad, a
feat for which he was knighted.

Browne’s courage and outstanding leadership also earned him
promotion through the officer’s ranks. He was appointed general in

Browne retired from the army in 1898 and settled at Ryde, on the Isle of
Wight, where he died at the age of 77. The Press said the old soldier “has
been popular with all classes of the community” and that “a letter of
sympathy has been received from His Majesty the King, with an intimation that
he will send a representative to the funeral.”

The king, Edward VII, occasionally wore a Sam Browne Belt. From time to
time, every other British king through George VI, Queen Elizabeth’s
father, did, too.

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