NCOs in Undress 1886

The men seen here are part of a group photographed in Brighton in May 1886. The picture was published in Linaker and Dine's book on Cavalry NCO arm badges to illustrate the earliest known unofficial use of the Eagle arm badge. The Rough Rider Troop Sergeant Major on the left wears the badge between his stripes and the spur badge. The lack of space in between means that the metal Eagle badge has had to encroach on the stripes. The embroidered Victorian crown at the top of his sleeve indicates his rank as TSM which puts him in the 2nd Class Staff bracket. This status entitles him to have not only gold lace around the collar of his stable jacket, but around the pointed blue cuff as well. The sergeants in the photo are entitled to the gold lace on the collar but not on the cuff. The corporal, second from the left, has two stripes and no gold lace on the collar or cuffs. He is the only one in the photo with a white zig-zag cap-band, while the others have gold. the button or tourie on top of his cap looks white which is at variance with paintings that show a red tourie. Although the TSM is the only one in this 1886 picture with an Eagle arm badge, a group photo of NCOs taken in 1887, also in Brighton, shows the arm badge worn by sergeants as well as WOs and 1st Class Staff.

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by Stephen Luscombe