Regimental Sergeant-Major 1860

The RSM in this photo is a veteran of the Crimean War and is unfortunately unnamed. He wears the tunic that in 1855 replaced the tailed coatee worn in the early part of the war. It is scarlet with a blue collar and blue round cuffs. The shoulders had blue straps with lace edges, and the front of the tunic had a blue cloth edge all the way down and eight brass buttons. The men were issued with these tunics with yellow lace loops on the collar and chevron shaped loops on the blue cuffs, also on the back skirts. The sergeant-major has gold lace instead of yellow which shows on his shoulder straps and cuffs but the collar is hidden. The gold chevrons on his right arm denote his rank. Four stripes and an embroidered crown had been the badges of RSMs since 1809. There is a small pocket near his waist for percussion caps but he is using it for a watch. His blue Kilmarnock undress cap has a zig-zag cap band which was white for the men, with a red tourie on top. A sealed pattern for this cap was approved on 29 May 1858. The fact that we can see the tourie on the top of his cap indicates that it is not red but gold, so his cap band must also be gold like the officers.

The medals that he wears are the usual two for the Crimean War, the British and the Turkish medals. Queen Victoria was anxious for the British medals to be sent out to the soldiers in the Crimea as soon as possible and they were shipped out on 3 Aug 1855. They had either one, two or thee clasps, for ALMA, BALAKLAVA and INKERMANN. Later on the clasp for SEBASTOPOL was sent out. The Scots Greys were entitled to Balaklava and Sebastopol but they missed the battle of the Alma and were not involved in Inkerman. The RSM appears to have 3 clasps on the pale blue ribbon so perhaps he transferred from another regiment. The Turkish medal was delivered in August 1860 so this photo dates after that. The trousers he wears are quite pale and it may be that they are civilian trousers and he is retired, wearing his old tunic and cap for the photograph.

Regimental Details | Uniforms

Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames

by Stephen Luscombe