Officer, Flank Company 1808

This portrait of Lord Charles Townsend shows the frock worn by officers on campaign during the Napoleonic wars. It is scarlet with gold lace edges and blue cloth collar and cuffs. He is in either a light or grenadier company because he wears red and gold wings on his shoulder instead of an epaulette. There is a crimson silk sash round his waist and a plain black leather sword belt. The coat is buttoned across but can be worn folded back to reveal a blue plastron style front that narrows down to the waist, or the more normal way of having just the tops of the lapels folded back. The buttons are grouped in threes but do not seem quite level with each other. Also there seems to be a button-hole missing between the top two buttons.

The white leather sword-belt would normally be worn over the right shoulder with an oval belt-plate. A gorget would also be worn below the throat when on duty. His hat at this stage would have depended on which flank company he served in. For parade wear the grenadier company officers wore the fur cap but retained the bicorn worn fore-and-aft for campaign. Light company officers wore the shako with a green plume. When the new Waterloo shako was issued in 1812 all ranks wore it including officers except when in full dress.

Uniforms | Regimental Details


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by Stephen Luscombe