Sunday, March 11, 2012

4th (Queen's Own) Regiment of Light Dragoons: Part Two

4th Light Dragoon by Jack Cassin-Scott
Frustratingly, as previously discussed the 4th Light Dragoons are a regiment less attended to than its more famous brigade members at Balaclava. For instance, there is no colour plate covering either Light Dragoon regiment in Nicholson and Roffe's British Army of the Crimea War (Osprey Men-at-Arms 40) nor consequently are any taken across in Osprey's Balaclava 1854 (Campaign Series 6) or Sweetman's The Crimean War (Osprey Essential Histories). Considering that there were two Light Dragoon regiments within the Brigade, I consider this quite a gap.

Luckily, we are not limited to Osprey alone and this blind spot is filled from a couple of other quarters. Before abandoning Osprey publications; however, I do want to recognise the particularly detailed written description of Light Dragoon uniform and equipment detail provided by JBR Nicholson in the British Army of the Crimea (pages 4 and 17-20) which includes several photographic details throughout.

The top image for this posting is from colour plate number 48 of the Blandford Colour Series Cavalry Uniforms of Britain and the Commonwealth (including other mounted troops) by Robert and Christopher Wilkinson-Latham (Blanford Press1969). This illustration of a 4th Light Dragoons trooper from 1854 as with all other illustrations in this release is by Jack Cassin-Scott. I will be featuring other scanned images from this work as every regiment from the Light Brigade for 1854 is represented as well as an image of the 2nd Dragoons (Scots Greys).

From Wilkinson-Latham is the accompanying detail for uniform and equipment:

Head Dress
1844-55 pattern, of black beaver 7 in. deep at the front and 7 in. deep behind. The crown, of black leather, was 8 in. in diameter. The top of the shako was bound with 1-in. yellow worsted braid and bore a brass Maltese Cross plate with regimental number and title in the centre and battle honours around the outside edges of the Cross. The plate was surmounted by a Victorian crown. A white horse hair plume of 14 in. was worn, and the cap lines were of worsted yellow cord. Brass chinchain and rosettes completed the head dress. The illustration shows a trooper in marching order during the Crimean War, wearing then black oilskin cover and no plume.
The coatee was blue and double-breasted, with 2 rows of regimental-pattern buttons, with 8 in each row. Collar, cuffs and turnbacks were of scarlet facing cloth, with 2 buttons on each cuff. The skirts were plaited, with 3 buttons on each side, together with a yellow, worted black fringe. Trousers were blue, with a double yellow stripe. The girdle was made of woven yellow webbing with 2 red stripes. Brass scale epaulets were worn, except during the Crimean War, when they were left off, leaving brass fitments on the shoulders of the coatee exposed.

Buff leather with brass fittings was used for pouch belt, waist belt and sword slings. The former was worn over the left shoulder, and over the white shoulder was carried a white canvas haversack and a round water-bottle of blue painted wood on a brown leather strap. The ammunition pouch was in black leather, and the carbine swivel on the pouch belt was of steel. The waist-belt under the coatee, below the girdle, had a rectangular brass plate. A small, white buff pouch on the right front contained percussion caps for the carbine.
Sword. Although in 1853 both Light and Heavy Cavalry troopers were ordered a new pattern of sword, issue of this was delayed, and in 1854 the 4th Light Dragoons troopers were still carrying the 1829 pattern. This had a 3-bar steel hilt with the grip covered in leather and bound with wire, and with an all-steel backpiece with 2 ears which fitted around the grip and were held to it by a rivet. It had a slightly curved blade, fullered on the back edge and terminating in a single spear point. It was carried in a heavy steel scabbard with a ring near the mouthpiece and another some 18 in. down the scabbard.
Carbine. In July 1836, certain regiments of cavalry were equipped with the 'Victoria' carbine, which was introduced into the service by Lovell. This weapon was of .733 in. calibre, with a barrel 2 ft 2 in. long. It was equipped with a percussion side lock and a swivel rammer designed so that it could not be lost whilst reloading on the move.
Another stroke of good fortune comes care of the internet and which has listed the following images of items 'not for sale' and the accompanying text:
A 4th or Queens Own Light Dragoon Officers Uniform and Shako circa 1850. An exceptionally rare and possible unique example of a "Charge of the Light Brigade" period officer`s uniform and Albert shako to the 4th or Queens Light Dragoons.



1 comment:

  1. Outstanding refernece at the end, wish I had seen them when I was painting up mine!