17th light dragoons

1760 Officers and Men

This is an illustration painted for J.W. Fortesque's 'History of the 17th Lancers' by J.P. Beadle providing us with a view of all ranks of the period when the 17th were just starting. This was one of the new Light Dragoon regiments to be created as such instead of the previous efforts where certain troops were selected from Dragoon regiments and converted to light dragoons.
The mounted officer in the forground is talking to the farrier who is dressed completely differently to the rest of the men. He wears black clothes with white cuffs and trim. At his left side hangs an axe and rolled up apron. The axe is to kill lame horses. Farriers can be seen in the present day Household Cavalry in dark blue coats carrying axes. But a farrier's main function was to shoe horses. He also wears a fur cap with a horse-shoe badge in front, the traditional sign of a farrier.
Behind the officer is the trumpeter dressed differently again, this time in reversed colours ie. white coat,red facings instead of red coat, white facings. His hat could be mistaken for a pirate captain's hat, a bicorn with skull and crossbones badge (or motto) on it. This badge has been worn from the beginning up to the present day. It is not without precedent as it was used by German hussars at about this time (the 5th or Totenkopf Hussars). The regiment was raised by Colonel John Hale who served with Wolfe in Quebec. He was greatly affected by the death of Wolfe and decided to use the deaths head as the badge of his new regiment in memory of him. The official birth date of the regiment is 7th November 1759 when Col. Hale received his commission to raise the regiment.

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