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.

Girl Soldier

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A female hussar

Being interested in artistic depictions of military history and uniforms, I occasionally come across images of female soldiers. I’m not referring to genuine servicewomen but instead to a certain genre of illustrations which show women in traditional military uniforms. There can be found examples of real women serving in genuine combat roles in western armies during the 18th and 19th century, Private Hannah Snell of the 6th Regiment of Foot and Marines being a good example (see below), but the illustrations I’m referring to are something entirely different.

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Hannah Snell ‘in her regimentals’ demonstrating military drill in a contemporary print.

Military Maids

Awareness of this topic first came to my attention when I bought a cheap set of trade cards many years ago called ‘Military Maids‘. When she saw them, my wife suggested they looked a bit creepy! She has a point; the ‘maids’ in question seem to be an unsettling mixture of the historically accurate and the suspiciously erotic. In these illustrations, one can see such examples as a beautifully drawn and entirely accurate depiction of a British 4th Light Dragoon in 1854; or a French Empress Dragoon of the Guard; or a splendid grenadier of a Swiss Napoleonic regiment.

The attention to accuracy and detail in the drawings is impressive. Tarleton and Mirliton helmets; Bell Shakos and Uhlan Czapkas; Stovepipe and Waterloo Shakos; Tricornes and Bicornes are all carefully reproduced with an expert knowledge. Furthermore, the quality of the illustrations is very high and a natural pose has been created for each soldier.

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British Yeo(wo)manry… c. 1800?

Did I say entirely accurately depicted? Not quite. Look closer and one realises that they all seem to sport exuberant perms crushed underneath their Czapkas, Shakos and helmets! They also wear high heels (a code of military dress I strongly suspect to also be inaccurate)… The neat cut of their uniforms leaves us in no doubt as to their gender, as well.

This wonderful illustration below, for example, depicts a musician from a lancer regiment holding a ‘serpent’. The serpent is one of my favourite military musical instruments, being so utterly bizarre and exotic. There’s a fine example in my local regimental museum.

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Lancer musician playing a serpent.
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A serpent. Leicestershire Regiment collection.

However, once more I can’t quite shake the impression that it has been deliberately placed in the hands of this ‘military maid’ to ‘perform’ on entirely for its salacious connotations! I do like these cards, but the problem is that I’m not sure what the viewer is supposed to admire here. Are we admiring the fine depictions of historical military uniforms, the skilled illustrations, or the charming lasses who are wearing them? All of it?! It’s that combination of sexy pin-ups and historical military art that creates the unease that my wife quickly identified.

The Ellanbee Girl Soldier Series

I also have in my military art collection a few postcards from a series called “Girl Soldier”. So far as I have discovered, the “Ellanbee Girl Soldier Series” of postcards were produced around the early 1900s (pre-WWI) and depict women in various full-dress British army uniforms of that period. Delightfully illustrated by “Ellam”, they share with the Military Maids series a dedication to historical accuracy, as can be seen in this Gordon Highlander below:

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Corporal, Gordon Highlanders

What they don’t share is quite the same lewdness in presentation. These ladies seem altogether a little more natural and military in their bearing. No peering coquettishly over the shoulder. No high heels, heaving bosoms or tumbling perms here; the only concession to femininity appears to be a possible hint of lipstick and their slender waists – suggestive of an Edwardian-era corset perhaps?! There’s a sense that these are images of ‘girls’ who not only appreciate wearing a fine uniform but are also capable of acting with confidence and bravery in them too.

The woman depicted below is of the Royal Horse Guards and wears a fabulously haughty look, entirely suitable for one in such a prestigious regiment.

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Trooper. Royal Horse Guards

And this lady is from the 12th (Prince of Wales) Lancers, holding her bamboo lance with a natural ease.

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Trooper, 12th (Prince of Wales) Lancers

I’m always looking to add to my modest ‘Soldier Girls’ series collection, but they seem very rare and I can scarcely find anything whatsoever on the internet about the series. I’ve previously discovered two thumbnail views of a Life Guard and a Grenadier Guard, so I’m aware that there were at least those regiments also issued. The artist I believe to be a comic postcard illustrator called William Henry Ellam. Though I can find precious little about him, he seemed to also specialise in anthropomorphic humour (animals acting in a human manner).

Presumably, the idea of these being female and yet dressed like soldiers was intended to be ‘comic’ material for the Edwardian audience, in the same incongruous way that Ellam’s cats dressed in top hats might have been viewed – charming simply for being preposterous. But I find them artistically pleasing in their own right, and it must have been an unusual (if unintentionally) empowering view of womanhood at a time when even universal suffrage had yet to be achieved.

So, if Military Maids was titillating and Soldier Girls was patronising, what does that make me? I’ll dodge the question and simply call myself an incorrigible collector of all types of military artwork!

To end with; below are more images from the Military Maids series and also a card from the Army Careers Information Office circa 1992, featuring (at that time) a more up to date and realistic image of a “girl soldier” in uniform.

Finally, an appeal: any further information on the Soldier Girls series would be gratefully received!

 

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.

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”!

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.

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The 3rd (King’s Own) 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. 


#16: The 3rd (King’s Own) Light Dragoons

“This was one of the regiments of Dragoons raised in 1685 by James II at the time of the Monmouth Rebellion. This is a trooper in the uniform of about 1832 with the red jacket favoured by William IV. In 1861, the 3rd converted to Hussars.”

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Trooper, 3rd (King’s Own) LD, c. 1832.

Sites of interest about the 3rd (King’s Own) Light Dragoons / Hussars:

National Army Museum page on the 3rd (King’s Own) Light Dragoons (who later became the 3rd King’s Own Hussars).

The Queen’s Own Hussars Museum web page on the history of the regiment. This museum is due to be re-homed  from it’s original premises in the ancient Lord Leycester’s Hospital in Warwick. You can visit the website on the relocation project and donate here.

Extensive Wikipedia page on the 3rd (King’s Own) Hussars.