British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The 11th Hussars

THE FINAL POST from a series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#25: The 11th Hussars

“Raised as Dragoons in 1715, this regiment became Light Dragoons in 1783 and Hussars in 1840. On forming Prince Albert’s escort from Dover to Canterbury on his arrival in England, the regiment received the title of ‘Prince Albert’s Own’. This is an officer of 1865.”

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Officer, 11th Hussars, c.1865.

Sites of interest about the 11th Hussars:

Horsepower: The museum of the King’s Royal Hussars which is the successor regiment to the 11th Hussars. I can vouch for this museum as being well worth a visit.

The National Army Museum’s page on the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own).

The 11th Hussars commemorating its 250th anniversary and being awarded its guidon by Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in this fascinating video from 1967 on YouTube. The great military artist Terence Cuneo can be seen painting the regiment in their traditional Hussar uniform with dark red breeches.

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The 4th Light Dragoons

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#24: The 4th Light Dragoons

“The officer depicted on this card is of the 4th Light Dragoons as they were in 1822, shortly after regiment was converted from Heavy Dragoons. [A previous] card in this series shows the uniform worn during the Peninsular War.”

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Officer, 4th Light Dragoons, c.1812

Sites of interest about the 4th Light Dragoons:

The ‘previous card’ referred to above, The 4th Queen’s Own Dragoons, was posted back in March 2017. Another card depicting a later incarnation of the 4th Light Dragoons was posted back in October 2016, just prior to it’s conversion to Hussars in 1860.

National Army Museum page on the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars (Light Dragoons).

The old museum of the Queen’s Own Hussars is due for closure in 2017 but a project for the replacement (in a merger with the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars museum) is underway. The new Warwick-based Queen’s Royal Hussars museum is currently fund-raising and donations are being accepted through this new website.

A good summary of the history of the regiment can be found here on a family history website, concentrating on the period 1824-1856 during which time an ancestor served.

Roger Fenton photograph of officers of the 4th Light Dragoons during the Crimean War.

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The 3rd Dragoon Guards

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#23: The 3rd Dragoon Guards

“The Dragoon Guards originated in 1685 as Cuirassiers and in 1746 they were called the 3rd Regiment of Dragoon Guards. In 1922 they were amalgamated with the 6th Dragoon Guards to form the Prince of Wales’ Dragoon Guards. This is an officer in mid-Victorian times.”

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Officer, 3rd Dragoon Guards, c.1860.

Sites of interest about the 3rd Dragoon Guards:

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards museum in Edinburgh Castle has exhibits on the 3rd Dragoons Guards (Prince of Wales’ Own).

The National Army Museum’s page on the 3rd Dragoon Guards.

The website of the Cheshire Military Museum covers the 3rd Carabiniers. This regiment was formed in 1922 following the amalgamation of the 3rd Dragoon Guards (Prince of Wales’s) and the 6th Dragoon Guards.

Quick March music of the 3rd Dragoon Guards on YouTube.

Anglo-Sikh Wars Exhibition (Suburban Militarism Day Trip #8)

My local museum is currently housing an exhibition dedicated to the Anglo-Sikh Wars 1845-1849. I’ve been a member of the Victorian Military Society since the age of 14 and so was naturally thrilled when I heard of this exhibition coming to my home city. Having been able to pay a visit to it today, I can say that it was well worth the anticipation.

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Anglo-Sikh Wars Exhibition 2017: Battles, Treaties and Relics.

Leicester has a particularly close relationship with India, both historically and culturally. The Leicestershire Regiment was known as ‘the Tigers’ due to its lengthy service in India, and the city’s successful Rugby team is called the same. Today, the city of Leicester has one of the highest populations in the UK of people from the Indian subcontinent (including Sikhs) and these have contributed greatly to the city’s distinct cultural development into the 21st century. With these ties in mind, it makes Leicester an ideal venue for such an exhibition.

When the Anglo-Sikh Wars began, the Sikh army had been equipped and trained in the style of European armies of the time. A number of Napoleonic war veterans came over from Europe to assist ruler Ranjit Singh in creating a well-trained, well-equipped and well-paid fighting force. They were largely successful, but it still remained a European-Sikh hybrid as some of the army retained Sikh traditional dress, weapons and fighting methods due to cultural and religious resistance to the new ideas.

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One of the first exhibits to catch my eye was this ‘foul weather’ czapka below from an officer of the 16th Lancers. The ‘foul weather’ aspect being presumably the black weather-proofing covering the headdress in favour of any other adornment or colour. The chain chinstrap could be unclipped from the back and then reapplied under the chin to a fixing on the side whenever necessary. The 16th Lancers won fame due to repeated charges made at the battle of Aliwal in the First Anglo-Sikh War. Here they successfully charged and broke the Sikh infantry squares which had been arrayed to receive cavalry in the European manner.

The next item of note was another example of military headdress. This wonderfully ornate cloth headpiece was ‘worn by officers at the battle of Aliwal’. Presumably, the curatorial staff are referring to the Sikh officers here, but it doesn’t specify which particular arm of the Sikh (or Khalsa) army. It might be a cavalry officer’s headpiece. Sikh cavalry consisted of a regular force trained in the European style of warfare, and a more irregular force known as the Gorchurra who were made up of the nobility and gentry of the Sikh kingdom. The Gorchurra resisted the European style military dress so I’m guessing that this fancy piece might be a feature of the Gorchurra?

One of the artefacts on display was already familiar to me as I’d seen it last year in Worcester during another Day Trip, it being on loan for this exhibition from the Mercian Regiment Museum there. A Sikh prince, or other high-ranking officer may well have worn this coat (below left and centre). The extremely detailed braiding at the back of the jacket could now be seen by me thanks to it’s relocation. It’s a terrific item and looks like it could easily be from the British army; albeit as a vastly more elaborate version than the peculiarly plain example worn by an officer of the 53rd regiment on the right.

Some battlefield relics I found particularly interesting, such as the piece of red cloth “cut from the sleeve of a Colour-sergeant of the 53rd Regiment mortally wounded on the battlefield of Sobraon Feb 10th 1846 and given at his request to Major Thomas Mowbray“. The scarlet still remains vivid against his sergeant’s stripe even to this day.

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This Sikh artilleryman’s sword was another battlefield relic, the inscription on the blade records how it was found lying close the body of a cornet in the 16th Lancers after the battle of Aliwal, 1846.Anglo sikh wars exhibition (22)

Not all battlefield relics were of a military nature, though. A British officer’s bible taken into the battle of Chillianwallah was on display as was this Sikh manuscript was found at the battle of Ferozeshah. The item contained compositions by Guru Granth Sahib and Sri Dasam Granth Sahib. Lying below it can be seen two sharp circular Sikh Chakkars (war quoits) and deadly-looking Tulwars (swords) taken during the wars.

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Below can be seen two British army swords, the larger being an infantry officers sword. The smaller is an 1821 pattern Light Cavalry Sabre as used by a Sergeant in the 16th Lancers. The exhibition included reports of how inferior the blunt British cavalry sabres were when compared to the razor-sharp Sikh versions.
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There were a number examples of hand-drawn maps on display, these were sketches of battlefield and siege dispositions. I was also pleased to see reproductions of contemporary paintings on the war a number of which were by the artist Henry Martens depicting actions at the battles of Ramnuggur, Sobraon, Mudki and Aliwal. The artist Henry Martens could even possibly be a source for a later post, I think.

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“The 62nd Regt on the 2nd Day of Ferozeshah” by Henry Martens

Congratulations are to go to the Sikh Museum Initiative, The Newarke Houses Museum and the many others involved in making this exhibition happen. It remains on until the 4th July 2017 and comes very well recommended by Suburban Militarism!

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The 4th Queen’s Own Dragoons

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#22: The 4th Queens Own Dragoons

“The regiment was raised in 1685 and numbered the 4th in 1742. In 1788 it became the 4th Queen’s Own Dragoons and was then converted to Hussars in 1861. The uniform of the regiment as it was about 1808 is shown here.”

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Trooper, 4th Queen’s Own Dragoons, c.1808.

Sites of interest about the 4th Queen’s Own Dragoons:

The International Churchill society have this detailed history on Winston Churchill and his time in the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars.

The Wikipedia page on the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars.

A good summary of the regiment’s history here on “The British Empire” website.

The museum of the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The 14th Light Dragoons

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#21: The 14th Light Dragoons

“The regiment was raised as Dragoons in 1715, converted to Light Dragoons in 1776, to Hussars in 1861 and in 1922 was amalgamated with the 20th Hussars. This is an officer of the regiment at the beginning of the 19th Century.”

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Officer, 14th Light Dragoons, c.1800.

Sites of interest about the 14th Light Dragoons:

The Museum of Lancashire in Preston houses a gallery dedicated to the 14th/20th King’s Hussars and it’s precedents including the 14th Light Dragoons.

In 2016, I painted Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry using 28mm Perry Miniatures Light Dragoons in this same guise (wearing the Tarleton helmet, etc) albeit with different colours.

A good summary of the regiment’s history here on “The British Empire” website.

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#20: The 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons

“Our picture shows a sergeant of the “Inniskillings” wearing a small badge above the chevron representing Inniskilling Castle. The regiment, raised in 1689, received the above title in 1690 and amalgamated with the 5th Dragoon Guards in 1922.”

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Sites of interest about the Inniskilling Dragoons:

The Enniskillen Castle Museum tells the story of the town of Enniskillen’s two regiments, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.

Some 10 years or so ago, I painted some Waterloo-era Inniskilling Dragoons from the 25mm Prince August home-casting range. I will upload some photos one day…

A good summary of the regiment’s history here on the website “British Cavalry Regiments of the 19th Century”.

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The 17th Lancers

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#19: The 17th Lancers

“Raised in 1759 as Light Dragoons, this regiment was then converted to lancers in 1822. In 1922 it was amalgamated with the 21st lancers to form the 17th/21st Lancers. Round about the date 1830, an officer of the 17th Lancers would have worn this uniform.”

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Officer, 17th Lancers, c.1830.

Sites of interest about the 17th Lancers:

National Army Museum page on the 17th Lancers, known as the Duke of Cambridge’s Own and nicknamed the ‘Death or Glory Boys’.

The truly excellent museum of The Queen’s Royal Lancers and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry includes many terrific exhibits and uniforms on the 17th Lancers, its precedents and sister regiments. It’s based in Thoresby Park which is near Perlethorpe in  Nottinghamshire. I wish now that I’d posted a Suburban Militarism Day Trip post about this after my visit…

I have painted some 17th Lancers from Strelets’ Crimean War range. I will upload some photos one day but until then here’s the Plastic Soldier Review of the figures.

Finally, something different. A YouTube video featuring the music of the regimental Quick March “The White Lancer”!

The Men that Fought at Minden

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The men that fought at Minden, they ‘ad buttons up an’ down,
Two-an’-twenty dozen of ’em told;
But they didn’t grouse an’ shirk at an hour’s extry work,
They kept ’em bright as gold.
Rudyard Kipling, Barrack Room Ballads, 1895

Now my Russian Cuirassiers have joined their mounted colleagues in the Nappy Cavalry Project, I can now at last turn my attention to my figures intended for the BFFGMFP.

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RedBox British infantry. Note the drummer wearing light grey at the front.

These marching figures are from RedBox’s British Infantry of the 1745 Culloden campaign. The box information suggests that these figures are suitable for campaigns stretching from the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion right through to the 7 Years War (1756-63). A fellow figure painter on Benno’s Figures Forum indicated he was interested in the battle of Minden in particular and it got me thinking of the Kipling poem at the top of this post. (No chart hits for me going through my mind of a morning as I take the bus to work – it’s Rudyard Kipling!)

But this post isn’t about Minden, or even Rudyard Kipling either. It’s not even about Richard Simkin, late-19th century military artist and painter of the Battle of Minden depicted at the top of this post. Instead it’s about David Morier, an Anglo-Swiss painter of the 18th century. My painting guide below for the BFFGMFP comes from Morier’s own illustration of the 17th Regiment of Foot, circa 1750:

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Private, 17th Regt. by David Morier c.1750s.

The regiment that I’m painting will be based on this contemporary image of the 17th Regiment of Foot. In 1751, the British army regiments became numbered in order of seniority. Prior to that date, it was the custom for regiments to be simply named after its colonel. At the time of the 1751 change, the 17th was known as ‘Wynyard’s Regiment of Foot’. The 17th Foot later became known as The Leicestershire Regiment (after my home county).

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Morier’s portrait of his patron, the Duke of Cumberland

Morier’s paintings were made under the patronage of the then Commander-in-Chief of the British army; The Duke of Cumberland (aka ‘Butcher’ to his opponents). David Morier carefully depicted many regiments in Cumberland’s army at the time, as well as some landscape paintings including perhaps his most well-known work; “An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745” (presumably catchy titles weren’t his strong point). This painting happens to be the box art used on the cover of the RedBox figures I’m painting for BFFGMFP!

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The Battle of Culloden, oil on canvas, David Morier, 1746.

The Duke of Cumberland was the son of King George II. Despite his victory at Culloden, he rarely showed any great skill at generalship and his general incompetence in the 7 Years War led to his removal from command, notwithstanding his regal position. With Cumberland’s demise, David Morier had lost his patron. He nonetheless exhibited equestrian portraits throughout the 1760s. Like myself, it seems that Morier was a prolific painter of cavalry! Here are some examples of his regimental cavalry paintings:

Tragically, he later fared rather badly – possibly as a consequence of the decline in royal patronage, ending up in London’s notoriously foul Fleet prison for debtors where he died in 1770, aged 65.

By 1760, the year of the Battle of Minden, the Duke of Cumberland had already been removed from command and David Morier was embarking on his (presumably unprofitable) equestrian exhibitions for the Society of Artists. However, ‘the men that fought at Minden’ would have still looked much as Morier had carefully depicted them some years before.

Hopefully, I can do his paintings some justice with my own figures. With all that scary detail on the figures though, I’m feeling none too confident at the moment!

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The Royal Horse Guards

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#18: The Royal Horse Guards

“Popularly known as the “Blues”, this regiment was raised in 1661 and is the only cavalry regiment in existence which formed part of the Parliamentary Army during the reign of Charles I. This is a trooper of the “Blues” at the time of Waterloo.”

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Trooper, Royal Horse Guards, 1815.

Sites of interest about the 8th Hussars:

National Army Museum page on the Royal Horse Guards.

My own Waterloo-era Horse Guards figures.

The Household Cavalry Museum in Horse Guards, Whitehall, London.

Excellent short historical overview of the regiment on the British Empire site.