All Ranks, Undress 1850

A sketch by Ebsworth that gives us a very useful idea of what the Coldstream Guards looked like when not parading in their dress uniforms. At first glance this looks like an informal stroll but they are marching in column of four, preceded by two sergeants, an officer and a trumpeter. What strikes me as strange is the fact that although they are in ranks and marching in step, they are very casual about the way they carry their muskets. Some are at the slope and some carry them by their side or under their arm.

They are all in undress summer order which means white trousers and short white jacket. The white jacket was a feature of Guards dress up to the early part of the 20th century and had its origins in the white waistcoat that was worn under the coat in full dress but was worn on it's own when drilling or performing menial work. The forage cap at this period has a peak and looks very smart so it is odd that it was transformed into the peakless pill-box by the time they were in the Crimea and which was retained until 1900.

The officer, at the front, wears his blue frock coat, sash and sword. His cap has a black lace band whereas the men have the white cap-band. The trumpeter has a knapsack like the others but no pouch belt, only a belt for his sword. The sergeants have the same equipment as the men. They have gold cap-band and a crimson sash round their waist. The chevrons are black on red backing cloth. The pioneer in the middle has a tan leather apron and a pouch on the front of his waist-belt with a badge on it. He has no shoulder belts, knapsack, axe or saw, so is the pouch for work tools or ammunition?

The men at the back are performing a wheeling movement which requires the inside man to march slower than the outside man. We can see the badge on the back of the knapsack which by this time is a brass garter star badge instead of the painted type. The man at the back, carrying his musket on his shoulder, is a sergeant who has a sword as well as a bayonet on his shoulder belt. It looks as if his ammunition pouch is a different shape to the ones worn by the privates and corporal.

Uniforms | Regimental Details


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by Stephen Luscombe