Officers 1856

Orlando Norie painted a composite water-colour of the 14th LD at various stages of the 19th century, this segment showing two officers in 1856, a period that Norie lived and worked in so he would have seen these uniforms first-hand. It was around this time that the light dragoons had a uniform change that altered their appearance radically. The waist-length coatee was replaced by the blue tunic which had five rows of gold cord ending in caps and drops. The hussar regiments had 6 rows of gold chain lace, or gimp. The light dragoon tunic was also distinguished by the collar and cuffs which were in facings colour, red for the 3rd, 4th and 14th and white for the 13th LD. The cuffs were ornamented with gold Austrian knots for ranks below field officer. The shoulders had slim doubled cords with a small button, the rank badges being placed on the collar in silver embroidery. The new shako was inspired by the French Kepi and had a white and red horsehair plume. The other regiments could be distinguished by the plume; black and white for the 3rd, red for the 4th, white for the 13th. The sword was supported on a waistbelt worn under the tunic although the dress regulations call for a gold laced belt. The sabretache was no longer worn although it was revived when they became hussars in 1861.

The other officer is wearing a frockcoat and pill-box cap. Both items are more hussar pattern than light dragoon. The 1861 Dress Regulations give details of the light dragoon uniform, stating that the frockcoat follow the same pattern as the heavy dragoons ie with 6 rows of black cord across the chest and cord figuring on the cuffs, as in the photo of James Leith VC, whereas the hussars had flat braid with hanging ends as seen here. The forage cap for Light Dragoons changed in 1855 from a peaked cap with an oakleaf pattern gold lace cap-band to a pill-box cap with cap-band in the same lace as the trousers, and figuring in gold braid on the top. The hussar pattern was as seen here, having the extra gold braid on the top seam and a central gold purl button. The frock-coat can be seen in the photo of Herbert Gall. Gall wears the leathered trousers for mounted duties but both officers in this Norie painting wear the unleathered trousers for dismounted duties. The 14th were in India in 1856 although this camp scene seems more English.

Regimental Details | Uniforms

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by Stephen Luscombe