Other Rank's Helmet 1812-1818



Most surviving helmets of this period are officers' but this example is a rare OR helmet that was auctioned at Bosleys in Dec 2004. It is of the 4th Dragoons, a regiment that was converted to light dragoons in 1818. The skull is blackened metal and ornamented with brass. The front had George III's cypher and crown with the regimental title on an oval below. The 2nd Dragoon Guards helmet front had the title incorporated into the brass pressing rather than added on. At first the helmet was fitted with a worsted crest, and this style was worn by the Household Cavalry at Waterloo. But for the Dragoons and Dragoon Guards the flowing horsehair mane and brush soon replaced it. The painting by Simkin of Private 1812 shows the uniform worn with this helmet. The regiment were serving in England in 1812 and would have been one of the first units to be issued with this item. It was a radical change from the cocked hat worn previously, and came in for much criticism from the more conservative sections of the military establishment because of its similarity to the helmets worn by French dragoons and cuirassiers. The Queen's Bays did not fight at Waterloo, but were sent over to France soon after, to maintain the peace.


Regimental details | Helmets




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by Stephen Luscombe