2007 - February Hive

British Uniforms, Mending, Petticoats

A Field Guide to British Uniforms

The following are excerpts from our presentation of “A Field Guide to British Soldiers” given by Mike Kaplan. I hope that Major John Buttrick, in whose parlour they are photographed, was not rolling in his grave!

A Grenadier of the 10th Regiment of Foot

He wears a bearskin cap with a metal cap plate with the inscription “Nec Aspera Terrent” (Hardships do not Deter). His madder-dyed coat is faced, collared, and cuffed in the color assigned by the King, in this case bright yellow, winged with folded regimental pattern lace. He also wears regimental lace on his lapels and cuffs, around each buttonhole.

He also wears a white waistcoat and breeches with regimental buttons common to the Army. He is off-duty; that is, without arms and accoutrements.

Two light infantry soldiers of the 10th Regiment of Foot

These two soldiers wear the leather cap of the light infantry designed after that worn by Rogers’ Rangers in the previous conflict. Their coats are of the same color as the Grenadiers but cut shorter. Their are waistcoats red, made from previously issued coats, and the belting is black. This uniform was modified from the regular issue design to be more subdued. Their haversacks are natural linen. They are armed with the standard issue 2nd model short land pattern Brown Bess.

A grenadier and his officer, HM 10th Regiment of Foot

This soldier and his officer illustrate the difference between regular soldiers and their superior commissioned officers. Even though both wear white belting and similar bearskin caps, the officer may be immediately identified by his scarlet colored coat. The color is attained using cochineal, an expensive dye made with crushed beetles, hence saved for officer’s coats. Notice his silver lace, double epaulettes, gorget, sword, sash and gloves, other accoutrements of his position. He is armed with a fusee.

Light Infantry Soldiers and Officer, 10th Regiment of Foot

The two light infantry soldiers are joined by their commissioned officer. As with the grenadier officer, he wears a scarlet coat, silver lace, gorget, sword, sash and gloves. Unlike the grenadier officer, he wears a visored velvet and leather cap. Silver laced and fringed wings along with a silver laced and edged waistcoat. His belting is black with a silver sword belt buckle common to all officers in this regiment.

Sergeant 4th Regiment of Foot Light Infantry (The King’s Own)

This non-commissioned officer is a sergeant of the light infantry. His coat is of a duller scarlet than the two previous commissioned officers. It is faced, collared and cuffed in blue (the regiment’s assigned colors).

His buttonholes are encircled by sergeant’s lace (plain white wool) as are his wings. The 4th Regiment of foot was unique in its retention of white belting for his bayonet, cartouche pouch, and musket. He wears a square cut waistcoat and sergeant’s sash.

Three Officers

By now you should be able to identify them as officers in the 10th regiment of foot by the yellow facings on their coats and officers by brilliant scarlet of their coats. The grenadier and light infantry officers are joined by the Battalion officer (center). This officer wears a scarlet coat without wings or epaulettes. He is wearing a silver laced black hat worn cocked to the left.

Royal Navy Officer & Marine

The officer of the Royal Navy (left) wears a blue standing collar coat, faced and cuffed in white, with gold buttons. Though it would appear to be a later coat, the navy was a fashion-forward kind of a group—perhaps it was because they were so well traveled. Notice his cuffs and short coat front.

The marine wears a madder red coat, white faced, collared, and cuffed, unlaced, with buttons in pairs. No shoulder straps. The hat is cocked with white worsted tape topped with a black feather.