Victorian Infantry mounted officers horse bridle cheek piece

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Victorian Infantry mounted officers horse bridle cheek piece

Postby Potts1972 » 23 Sep 2017 19:45

Could someone give me some information on this cheek piece, would all officers have used it or only certain ranks, also the time scale of its use, i.e. when it was introduced and when and if its use was discontinued. I hope the photo's are clear enough.
In anticipation Jeff.
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Re: Victorian Infantry mounted officers horse bridle cheek p

Postby Frogsmile » 24 Sep 2017 16:43

There are two types of brass badge worn on bridle leather, 'Bit Bosses' (fitted to the mouth bit) and Martingdales (fitted to the chest pad). Bit Bosses have two fixings, North and South, and Martingdales have five fixings to secure it to a leather pad.

"Bit bosses are circular ornamental objects attached to each side of a bit on the vertical positioned metal cheeks. Prints dated back as far as 1862 verify their use by the British Cavalry and they are still used today by the Household Cavalry . The earliest Examples of regimental devices in the national army museum are dated around 1857. The first crown used prior to 1902 is commonly known as the Albert Crown. This has no connection with the Prince Consort, as this pattern of crown was seen before Prince Albert was born. It has been said that it was introduced by Prince regent (George IV) and that he derived the idea from a conventional heraldic representation used in one of the German Principalities of that time (1811)".

Some cavalry used a universal pattern and others used a regimental pattern. Line infantry had a generic pattern and there were (still are) special patterns for Life Guards and Royal Horse Guards.

Information courtesy of a small booklet on British Military horse furniture.

N.B. Mounted infantry began to be used in Africa in 1879 and were used by some units in India, too, into the 1880s. Their heyday was undoubtedly the 2nd Anglo/Boer War 1899-1902. Your brass has a stylised variation of Queen Victoria's St Edwards Crown so we know that it pre-dates 1902 and is after 1881. It also existed with the Guelphic Crown mentioned above (seen enclosed picture). It would have been used by all regimental officers (Lieutenants up to Lieutenant Colonel).
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Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
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Re: Victorian Infantry mounted officers horse bridle cheek p

Postby Potts1972 » 28 Sep 2017 12:43

Hi, Thank you very much that was very informative, I have two bit bosses the other one has the Albert crown and the VR cypher in the centre its the same size but the fixing points at the back are four flattened spikes made to pierce the leather and then be bent over and flattened to grip the leather cant find it at the moment but will post pic's when found. Do you have a picture of the line infantry one "if different" I would be most interested to see it. Best regards Jeff. Sorry I didn't reply sooner I was away.
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Re: Victorian Infantry mounted officers horse bridle cheek p

Postby Will Mathieson » 29 Sep 2017 02:59

Many regiments had specific brass. Some martingales have tabs that bend over, usually just two studs are for the horse bit
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Re: Victorian Infantry mounted officers horse bridle cheek p

Postby Will Mathieson » 29 Sep 2017 03:12

This martingale on the left it has two studs for fastening. The smaller one has four bent tabs. Both martingales of different size and fasteners. These are the more common VR horse brass not specific to a regiment.
I was incorrect to say only horse bit brass has two studs, martingales can also have just two studs.
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Re: Victorian Infantry mounted officers horse bridle cheek p

Postby Potts1972 » 29 Sep 2017 13:37

Thank you for your input, the small one on the right in the bottom photo is the same as the other one I have I would also like to know when the VR pattern first came in to use. Regards Jeff.
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