Private 1697

Although the Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons wore grey coats in the early days when they were operating in Scotland it does not mean that they earned their name 'The Greys' from that. Other dragoon regiments also wore grey if they were unable to obtain red cloth. When James II came to the throne in 1685 he insisted on red coats for his army, usually with yellow facings, but the Royal Scots Dragoons had blue facings at least from 1687. As early as 1694 the regiment were reported as riding white or grey horses which must have inspired the nickname. This private is wearing a wide brimmed hat, the normal headgear for dragoons. Each regiment had a grenadier company carrying a bag of grenades and wearing a fur cap with a bag hanging from the top. Some early depictions of the Greys show the dragoons in grey coats with a fur cap, the precursor of the better-known mitre cap. This illustration by Pierre Turner is based on scanty information but shows the brick-red coat with buff belts. He is armed with a blackened flintlock musket, plug bayonet and sword. His boots are more supple than the jacked boots worn by the regiments of Horse, to enable him to fight on foot.

Regimental Details | Uniforms

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by Stephen Luscombe