Risaldar 1902

This Sikh officer has a blue kurta with a white collar, white being their facing colour after their conversion to lancers in 1885/6. Most of the photos of officers show them wearing white leather gauntlets which cover the cuff. The photo of Risaldar Major Ram Singh shows him wearing a similar kurta with dark cuffs indicating that the facing colour was restricted to the collar only.

The lace is gold, and follows the edge of the collar and the front edges of his kurta. The belts are gold laced with a white silk centre stripe, the chains and pickers being silver. The badge on his gilt beltplate is silver crossed lances with a 9 in the middle, a crown above and scroll below. The waistbelt is worn over a red kummerbund. The turban is striped on one side with gold, blue and white stripes, with plain light blue on the other side. The white pag showing on his forehead indicates that he is a Sikh. The medals on his chest tell us that he served at Suakin in 1885.

The photo was taken in England on the occasion of the coronation of Edward VII. One of the changes made to the uniform in that year was the type of boots worn by Indian officers in mounted dress; the Napoleon boots were changed to hussar or Hessian boots.

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by Stephen Luscombe