Major 1808

The print shown here is the top half of a coloured engraving by J Smith published by Milton in Nov 1808. It has many well observed details such as the belt plate, gorget, epaulettes and sporan. The bonnet has a profusion of black ostrich feathers and a striking red plume which has a black silk rosette and button at the base. The diced band is correctly coloured with red white and green squares. The gold epaulettes have star rank badges which denote the rank of major. This system of rank indication was officially sanctioned in 1810 but was probably used much earlier. The gorget has small silk rosettes and strings which loop onto the buttons on his collar. It appears to have the figure of St Andrew, as does the oval gilt belt plate. The most detail has been put into the gilt ornament on the white fur sporan. This has the Sphinx of Egypt with thistles, and 42 beneath. The battle honour was awarded on 6 July 1802 for the Egypt campaign in 1801. At the battle of Alexandria in March 1801 Sir Ralph Abercromby was killed and the urn next to this officer has Sir Ralph's name. The lower part of the print has one of the Egyptian pyramids so the picture is a dedication to the 42nd's actions in 1801. The figure must represent Major James Stirling who played a significant part in the battle of Alexandria, where he was wounded. He also commanded the regiment at Corunna in 1809. He was the official Commanding Officer of the regiment from 1804 and held that position at the time of the publication of this print.

Regimental Details | Uniforms

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by Stephen Luscombe