17th Lancers

1890 Group Photo

I have no exact date for this group photo but it is likely to be mid 1890s after the 17th had returned from India. They are wearing 'Home' kit which is immediately obvious because of the headgear. In South Africa and India they wore the white or khaki foreign service helmet. This picture shows them in full dress with czapka. The caplines which go over the right shoulder and under the left arm, with the acorn ends hooked up on the left side of the chest, appear black in this picture. For some reason I don't fully understand, photos of this period always show yellow as black. This is very confusing, especially when you see photos of hussar troopers wearing tunics with yellow braid across their fronts and it all looks black. In the case of lancers the girdle round their waist looks drab when it is in fact bright yellow and red.
Seated in the front row is an officer who is in undress. On his head he has a forage cap commonly called a pill-box cap. It is blue with a wide gold lace band round it and two lines of gold russia braid going over the top and crossing in the middle. It was always worn at an angle. He is wearing a frock coat. This is dark blue and decorated with black silk lace in the form of wide bands across the chest, the ends falling stylishly instead of doing up in front. The sleeves are elaborately decorated with yards of thin black braid sewn on into a beautiful pattern. All this seems such a waste of effort as you can hardly see it. Next to the officer is the troop sergeant-major sporting a bushy moustache. His rank is shown only on his right arm, three gold lace chevrons surmounted by an embroidered crown. The chevrons have the skull and crossbones motto placed on them. You will notice on his elbow, a thin white line. This is white piping that goes up the back of the sleeves of lancer tunics and continues down the back seams to the waist.

17th Lancers: Uniforms | Regimental details


Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames |

by Stephen Luscombe