Corporal 1845

The 7th DG served in the Cape of Good Hope from 1843 to 1847. The illustration here by Pierre Turner, taken from Michael Barthorp's book, British Infantry Uniforms Since 1660, shows a corporal in campaign dress for the year 1845. The most striking item is the brass helmet giving him the appearance of an old fashioned fireman. This type of helmet was introduced in 1834 to replace the black and brass type that had been worn since c1820. The 1834 helmet is worn here in undress without the bear-skin crest. The prints by Martens of the 7th Kaffir War show the regiment wearing peak-less blue and yellow forage caps. But before the war started, in 1846, the 7th were employed against the Boers, in May 1845, and an eye-witness sketch depicts them wearing the helmet. However, by 1845 this helmet was obsolete because a new type had been issued to the heavy cavalry back in Britain. The 7th had sailed in April 1843, too late to receive the helmet which was roughly the same shape but had a flowing black horse-hair mane in the style of the present-day Garde Republicaine in Paris. But by the time they arrived back in Britain a further change had been made and they were then issued with the 1847 type helmet which had a falling central plume as worn by the Household Cavalry.

The Martens prints show the men wearing scarlet stable jackets with black facings and it appears that they wore them on campaign throughout their time in South Africa. The trousers had leathered inner legs and bottoms which were made on site. The corporal is holding a Brunswick rifle but in 1846 they reverted to the carbine.

Regiment | Uniforms


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