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"British forage caps, and crossbelts, in Crimea" Topic

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pushing tin31 Jan 2020 6:04 a.m. PST


two questions;

1- I'm trying to find more details of British Other Ranks forage caps. From what I've gleaned already, they were mostly blue (green for rifles), but some had a red band ('Royal' Regiments – whichever they were?) or other type of band (e.g red/white checker for highland LI, black for Rifles)? and it seems to vary whether they had some kind of coloured tuft or button on top? Can anyone point me to a source for this info?

2- Would regiments with buff facings still have been wearing buff crossbelts instead of the usual white by this period?


John Armatys31 Jan 2020 7:10 a.m. PST

The Royal regiments had "Royal" in their title and wore blue facings = see page 18 of Queen's Regs for 1844 link

Officer's forage caps are covered by Dress Regulations I'd assume that other ranks caps would be in the same colours but without a peak. I've not been able to find the 1846 edition online, but the 1857 edition is available here link

See pages 70, 74, 78, 83, 88, 92, 9+6, 105, 113, 119, 122, 125 and 128.

Crimean War Basics, Organisation & Uniforms, Britain, France & Sardinia by Michael Cox & John Lenton, Raider Books 1988 suggests that the tufts on infantry undress caps were white for grenadier companies (but red for the 46th), blue for battalion companies and green for light companies.

pushing tin31 Jan 2020 1:12 p.m. PST

Thanks, very useful

42flanker17 Jun 2020 8:27 a.m. PST

Probably way too late to be helpful to OP but I'll bash on just in case someone checks in on a search: the infantry rank and file in 1854 all wore a plain, knitted felt forage cap sometimes referred to as a 'Kilmarnock'; blue for line regiments, green for light infantry and black for rifles. (The coloured band in distinguishing colour was on the previous model of forage cap superseded in 1834. Some regiments were still wearing these in the 1840s, but we don't see any in the Crimea).

As photos show, barring one or two exceptions, only senior NCOs had leather peaks to their forage caps. Some regiments used the chinstrap. Others appear to have done away with it

In some regiments, possibly not all, the tourie or tuft on top was white for grenadiers, green for light coy (red for the 46th LI coy (as per 'chaco' ball-tuft, Officer's Dress regs p.117 )

Officers wore the regimental badge on their peaked caps where this had been authorised (see 1857 Dress Regs) but rank and file of battalion companies wore only the regimental number in brass; grenadiers, a grenade; light coys, a bugle.

Kilted Highland regiments wore the folding Glengarry bonnet: 79th plain blue, 92nd and 93rd with a band of dicing- apart from the 42nd RH, who still wore a plain Kilmarnock-(which originated as a Highland military headgear in the C18th) The 71st HLI,72nd Hldrs & 74th Hldrs, all 'trousered,' wore blue Kilmarnocks with dicing.

The Foot Guards had their own fore-and-aft Field Service cap with turned up side flaps, an Austrian model that continued in use until the late C19th.

Michael Barthorp's 'Crimean Uniforms: British Infantry' (1974) -- is still the best one-stop source for basics from regulations with good illustrations and a chapter on infantry battalon manoeuvres as a bonus.

A touch overpriced on Amazon- Guess it might be harder to get hold of than I thought!

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