17th light dragoons

1810 Privates in India

In 1809 the 17th Light Dragoons sailed for India where they were to spend the next 14 years. For the first 3 or 4 years they were dressed like this. The waist length jacket was a pale blue colour, officially called French Grey, with white braid across the chest (silver for officers). French Grey was chosen as the colour for light dragoon jackets for those regiments serving in India. Elsewhere they wore dark blue. The head-dress is sometimes called a Tarleton, after General Banistre Tarleton a light cavalry commander who achieved fame in the American Wars 1776-1781. It was made of hardened leather and topped with a bearskin crest. The badge on the right hand side has the cross-bones OVER the skull.
The picture shows privates (they weren't called troopers in those days) in different orders of dress. The man in the forground on a grey coloured horse is in review order, with white plume and white breeches and jack boots. The man on the right is in marching order with his plume protected by a black waterproof cover. He wears overalls and short boots. Over his right shoulder are slung a haversack and waterbottle. The man at the back is in watering order which is usually minimal clothing for taking the horses to the nearest river. He would not normally wear his pouchbelt for this.
The artist who painted this was himself a soldier in the 17th from 1812 to 1831 so he would have worn this uniform. The painting was completed by George Salisbury around 1840 along with several other paintings of the regiment covering a 30 year period.

Uniforms | Regimental details


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by Stephen Luscombe