It is worthwhile to record the pay or salary of the soldier in 1879. The gross pay was one shilling per day with an additional Penny after two years service, two pence after six years, three pence after 12 years and four pence after 16 years, provided of course that the soldier had a "clean record". There were in 1879 twelve pennies in one shilling and twenty shillings in one pound, so there were 240 pennies in one pound. A penny in 1879 was written as 1d, two-pence was 2d, three-pence was 3d and so on. Compare that with 21st century Sterling currency and you can easily calculate that the gross pay of one shilling is equal to 5 Pence or 5p.
Soldiers who committed to 21 years service also received what was called the re-engagement Penny, on completion of 12 years service. However in any Regiment the gross pay of the majority of the men was only one shilling (5p) per day. Out of this there were many compulsory stoppages and a soldier eventually received in cash an average of about seven pence (3p) per day. There were 5 pay days in the month, 4 weekly, and one "settling up" day, so that the complex pay system rewarded the soldier with approximately 15 or 16 shillings of pay per month (75p ~ 80p per month). Out of this they were compulsory stoppages of eight shillings nine pence (~44p) messing (meals and accommodation); one shilling three pence washing (3p); two pence library (1p); one pence for haircuts plus any other payments or dues to the army stores to replace kit, such as socks, knife, razor etc., that needed to be purchased. So if you compare that with 21st century sterling that comes to approximately 27p excluding inflation!
Being "kitted out" was equally as complex for at the time of joining the army, in addition to the military necessities, a soldier was issued with
two pairs of boots
one pair of leggings
one pair of cloth trousers
one pair of serge trousers
one kersey frock
a Glengarry cap
and on being completing his recruit's drill he was given
a full dress tunic
a full dress helmet.
Thereafter for each April 1st and October 1st he received a pair of boots, and annually on the first of April a pair of cloth trousers; then in addition on every alternate 1st April he received a full dress tunic and a pair of serge trousers.
Each infantry man was issued with a 45 Martini-Henry rifle and long bayonet; sergeants carried a longer sword-bayonet, a very substantial weapon which was never fixed on ordinary parades
Cheer Old Historian2 (E-Mailed to me)