Private, Marching Order 1888


There are several paintings of the Grenadier Guards on exercise wearing the uniform shown here. The idea of soldiers training for battle in bearskin and scarlet tunic must have seemed out-of-date even in the late 1880s. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions had both served in Egypt and the Sudan wearing more suitable uniforms, and men of all three battalions had fought the dervishes in the Camel regiment. This private has the medals for Egypt, the Egypt medal and the Khedive's Star. The figures in the background do not seem to have medals so this may be the 1st Battalion and he was one of the proud men who served in the Guards Composite Camel Regiment.

He is carrying the 1882 valise equipment that was replaced in 1888 by the Slade Wallace design. The valise is carried low on the back with the mess tins placed on top. The greatcoat would be rolled and attached below the valise but is not seen here. He holds the Martini Henry Mark III rifle which was issued from 1883 and replaced in 1890 by the Lee-Metford. The uniform is the same as that worn on parade and for ceremonial duties although they most likely had a best and second-best uniforms. Marching order differed from parade order in the carrying of valise, mess tins, haversack, water-bottle, and the wearing of black gaiters. Some photos of the Guards on exercise show the same uniform but the pill-box cap worn instead of the bearskin.


Regimental details | Uniforms




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by Stephen Luscombe