Private William Payne


Self-portrait c1815 painted by Private Payne. He joined the 1st Guards on 29th March 1804 after two years service in a volunteer unit. He was born in Stoke, Worcester. On joining he was described as being 5ft 5.5ins tall, fair complexion and dark brown hair. He was examined by a surgeon who pronounced him fit. He was illiterate so had to sign an oath with a cross. The oath stated that he promised to serve the King, defend him and obey the orders of Generals and officers.

He served in Sicily and was on the retreat to Corunna. Having survived that he then went on the disastrous expedition to Walcheren. He received the Military General Service Medal with clasp for Corunna but is not wearing it here. He wears the uniform of a Light Company private. His coat has flank company wings although it is surprising that he has painted zig-zag white lace on the blue wings when they should be bastion shape loops like the ones on his chest and cuffs. His shako also differs from the accepted reconstruction of a Light Company shako. See Sergeant, Light Company 1815 Instead of the large brass shako plate, he just has the rayed star with the bugle badge over. His plume is green and the cords and tassels are also green. He wears white breeches and black gaiters and has a fob on his waist which indicates that he is in walking-out dress. The white belt on his shoulder is his bayonet belt. The beltplate is very similar to the Officers Beltplate c1814. On parade he would have the pouch-belt over the other shoulder.


Soldiers | Regimental details




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by Stephen Luscombe