Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

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Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby HRM » 07 Aug 2017 16:51

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a description of a trooper from the 2nd Life Guard's uniform from about the mid-19th century. I've found images of and references to officers' uniforms, but I can't find anything which shows or refers specifically to how troopers' uniforms might have varied.
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby Frogsmile » 07 Aug 2017 18:41

HRM wrote:I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a description of a trooper from the 2nd Life Guard's uniform from about the mid-19th century. I've found images of and references to officers' uniforms, but I can't find anything which shows or refers specifically to how troopers' uniforms might have varied.


In undress the differences were minimal and confined to different regimental buttons and, after 1874, gilding metal numerals (1 and 2), aligned with letters (LG) on shoulder straps. When introduced Army wide in 1896, at first no head dress (i.e. forage cap) badge at all was worn by the LG and RHG. On the undress field service caps (aka 'side caps' in more modern times) worn from 1896, instead rank and file wore the (same) badges from their shoulder straps. Before 1896 there was no difference between the rank and file pill box forage caps worn by 1st and 2nd LG, but there was a difference between officers and regimental staff sergeants between the two regiments.

In full dress the differences were confined to the cartouche belt 'flask cord', blue in 2nd LG and scarlet in 1st LG, and overalls stripes, double 1&1/4 inch wide with a scarlet welt between in 2nd LG (as worn by the unified regiment today) and double scarlet stripes 1&1/2 wide with no welt between in the 1st LG. The 2nd LG troopers saddles were covered with white sheepskin and the 1st LG troopers with black sheepskin (in 1846 both regiments officers saddle skins were black bear). Both regiments wore scarlet cloaks in inclement weather, but the 2nd LG had a scarlet collar and the 1st LG a blue collar.
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby HRM » 07 Aug 2017 20:54

Thank you! That's really helpful. Do you know of any illustrations? I'm mainly concerned with the period 1834 -62.
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby tabony » 08 Aug 2017 01:26

Staff Corporals. No sergeants in the Household Cavalry.
There's a huge change in the uniform from 1830s to the 1860s. The "Roman" helmet and for special occasions the bearskin cap were worn until 1849 when they were replaced by the "Albert" helmet. The simpler 1871 pattern "Albert" is still worn. By 1860 the tunic had replaced the long tailed coatee and the uniform overall looked the same as the present day.
Note that the horses head kit hasn't changed.

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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Aug 2017 10:38

Am suitably red-faced for the slip in omitting Staff-Corporals, Martin!
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Aug 2017 10:42

Here are some more 2nd Life Guards images. All are courtesy of the British Empire website, along with the explanations.

The lowermost image shows the 2nd Life Guards in Hyde Park in 1844 with two officers leading. Note the white sheepskins of the men behind, [erratum - some text removed] a feature of the 2nd LG.

Next image from the bottom shows rank and file exercising in the indoor riding school under the guidance of the Riding Master, circa 1830. Their undress uniform consists of a red stable jacket, white breeches and calf length boots. On their heads is the forerunner of the pillbox cap worn at an angle. They are practising riding with one hand, as the other holds the heavy carbine. The horses are of varying colours which is puzzling because only black horses were used in the Household Cavalry except for the trumpeters and drum-horse. Musicians did not carry carbines so the men on grey horses here could not be trumpeters. The Riding Master, an officer, wears a frock coat which is dark blue with red collar and gold embroidered, unfringed epaulettes.

Third from bottom shows rank and file in camp circa 1853. The three men on the left are in everyday stable dress, whereas the main figure could be mistaken for a Dragoon in full dress. In fact his order of dress is puzzling because even in field day order the Life Guards wore the cuirass at that time. Usually the only time the helmet was worn without the cuirass was in dismounted guard order. What points him out as a Household cavalryman is the flask cord and the bridle with gilt headpiece. The lace on his collar is gold, as opposed to the yellow lace worn by dragoon privates.

The uppermost picture shows an officer and rank and file circa 1844. The uniform has changed little since the 1820s, the only outstanding difference being the new pattern helmet introduced in 1844. This design with sIight variations was worn by all Household Cavalry regiments, Dragoon Guards and Dragoons, except for the Scots Greys who retained their bearskins. The Household cavalry had blossomed into bearskins for a short time, the 1st Life Guards in the 1820s and the other regiments in time for Queen Victoria's coronation in 1837. This new helmet, based upon a Prussian model (which had itself been copied from a Russian design), has (as Tabony said) ' remained much the same until today. It was in white metal with gilt mounts for Household regiments
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby tabony » 08 Aug 2017 16:26

Frogsmile, I believe the brow bands are white. The officer's bridoon reign is gold. The officers head kit is now the undress pattern (review order is 1LG pattern). The other ranks pattern is now full dress but until the 2nd Boer War was the only pattern used. The "Peninsula Brasses" haven't changed and are the same for all H.C. regiments.
All horses in the regiment have to be exercised, and a Trooper has to be able to ride any horse at any time, so Troopers often ride greys in riding school.
The Trooper holding the horse is wearing what we would now call "Dismounted Review Order". I wonder if even at this date they realised that the regiment wouldn't go to war in jackboots and plates. After all they didn't at Waterloo.

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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Aug 2017 16:43

tabony wrote:Frogsmile, I believe the brow bands are white. The officer's bridoon reign is gold. The officers head kit is now the undress pattern (review order is 1LG pattern). The other ranks pattern is now full dress but until the 2nd Boer War was the only pattern used. The "Peninsula Brasses" haven't changed and are the same for all H.C. regiments.
All horses in the regiment have to be exercised, and a Trooper has to be able to ride any horse at any time, so Troopers often ride greys in riding school.
The Trooper holding the horse is wearing what we would now call "Dismounted Review Order". I wonder if even at this date they realised that the regiment wouldn't go to war in jackboots and plates. After all they didn't at Waterloo.

Martin


Thank you, Martin. I had hoped that you would be around to bring your regimental expertise into effect in answering the original poster's queries.

The brow band error is a 'mea culpa' I'm afraid and down to my poor knowledge of horse furniture. I have edited by removing that mention completely.

The other matters are direct from the British Empire website. Your explanation brings great clarity to something that was clearly incompletely understood by the author there. Incidentally I did read about 'dismounted review order' in my WY Carman book on cavalry uniforms, last evening.

As regards the absence of breast plates at Waterloo, my understanding is that the regiment had previously discontinued them but that they were restored (probably for Regency pomp) in 1828.

P.S. I was fascinated to see the design of the riding school because in my younger days I was posted at the Support Weapons Wing, Netheravon (Wilts), erstwhile Cavalry School until WW1, where the riding school was largely of the same design and, ironically, co-opted as the Mechanical Transport HQ, garages and Light Aid Detachment of vehicle mechanics.
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby tabony » 08 Aug 2017 18:46

When you mentioned the gold brow band I actually though you had been looking at 1LG officers. Their head brass was of acorns (we hid a King in an oak tree!) with garter star ends, but the brow band was covered with brass star links of the same design as the other ranks. This is now the review head kit.
I realise the regiments didn't use plates at the time but they also didn't wear the full dress jackboots. I believe only the Household Cavalry were issued a campaign uniform, to save all of that gold tinsel!
The Household Cavalry do things the other way round, We always have a proper stable block next to the armoured vehicles.

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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Aug 2017 19:56

Martin, I'm a bit confused by your references to 'household cavalry' campaign dress in your penultimate paragraph because until now we have been confining our comments to the differences between the 1st and 2nd Life Guards. What exactly do you mean?
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby tabony » 08 Aug 2017 20:23

I meant the Household Cavalry at Waterloo wore a simplified jacket and overalls, rather than the expensive tunic and jackboots that were worn for Royal duties. I just wondered whether the picture of the troopers wearing what we would now call dismounted review, was an a attempt to make the uniform more practical for camp life, only thirty years later. After all, plates and helmet never did make it to a battle field.
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby tabony » 08 Aug 2017 20:34

By the way, I have a picture of 1LG on exercise in about 1870. Wearing plates and helmet (without plume). Two troopers guarding a bridge at Brookwood , I don't know if you've seen the picture Anyway both are wearing what looks like a red wool "cap comforter" under the helmet. Have you ever seen similar? I can understand why. When the wind whistles through Horseguards main arch the helmet does nothing to keep your head warm! :)

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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby tabony » 08 Aug 2017 20:43

One more thing while I think of it. Only Second Life Guards drumhorse had an escort.
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby Frogsmile » 08 Aug 2017 20:45

tabony wrote:I meant the Household Cavalry at Waterloo wore a simplified jacket and overalls, rather than the expensive tunic and jackboots that were worn for Royal duties. I just wondered whether the picture of the troopers wearing what we would now call dismounted review, was an a attempt to make the uniform more practical for camp life, only thirty years later. After all, plates and helmet never did make it to a battle field.


Ah yes, I see now the context of what you meant. I suspect it was indeed an attempt at a practical, dismounted, in-barracks dress. Rather like Foot Guards did not wear bearskins other than when mounting guard.

I think you will find that plates were used in the 1688-89 'Glorious Revolution' and the Marlborough campaigns thereafter (good old 'Corporal John', who is well worth reading about - his like was not seen again until Wellington, and of the two I prefer Marlborough, who seems to have been a little less of a snob).
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Re: Mid 19th century 2nd Life Guard trooper's uniform

Postby tabony » 08 Aug 2017 21:59

Strange you should mention the 1680s. I've just started to work on some figures from the period. It started with a museum asking me to make the Lord High Admirals regiment. Just the push I needed! :D

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