Skinner's Horse

Officer by Simkin, c1890

There is very little information about the dress worn by British officers prior to 1896 when the 1st Bengal Cavalry became 1st Bengal Lancers. Simkin has painted, here, a likely uniform as worn by British officers only, on mounted duties when not on parade with the men. Many Indian cavalry regiments did adopt the five groups of cords suspended across the chest of the tunic like this and we know from an 1886 group photo of Colonel Chapman and other officers that the patrol jacket worn in undress had black cords suspended in this way. The only firm evidence we have is a description in regimental standing orders dated Sept 1892: 'White helmet, brass spike and chain, pagri of regimental pattern. Full dress yellow tunic, white Melton breeches, patent leather butcher boots, steel spurs and chains, with black patent leather straps, white gloves. Full dress sword-belt (under tunic) with slings, sword in steel scabbard, gold sword knot, full dress pouch and pouch belt.' The last item is certainly not being worn here as the full dress pouchbelt would have been of gold lace and black velvet, similar to the belt shown in Pouchbelts but without the badge and honour scrolls.

Uniforms | Regimental History


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by Stephen Luscombe