Flank Officer 1853

This portrait of an captain of a flank company demonstrates the elegance of the Highland uniform on the eve of the Crimean War, if not its practicality.' The huge wings were worn by officers of grenadier and light companies.' It would be expected that all officers of Highland regiments had such wings because, since 1822 all other ranks had large tufted wings similar to those worn only in flank companies elsewhere. But photos of Black Watch officers in the Crimea taken by Roger Fenton clearly show officers wearing epaulettes, and there are actual surviving examples of epaulettes belonging to officers below field rank. The jacket is tight-fitting with two rows of buttons down the double-breasted front.' The rows are 3 inches apart at the top tapering to two inches at the waist. The blue collar is covered, at the front and sides, by gold lace button loops, and the plain blue round cuff has a slash flap of scarlet cloth covered entirely by four gold-laced loops and buttons. He has a white leather sword belt over his right shoulder and a gilt belt-plate on the front. Over his left shoulder is a crimson silk sash which is on top of the gold shoulder wing. The gold cantled sporan has six gold cord tassels and is held around his waist by white straps. There is a dirk on his right hip but no sign of a belt to support it. The right side of his kilt is decorated with green bows with long trailing tails.' His stockings are gartered with red ribbons that are tied in multiple bows.' His bonnet is just visible, having a red hackle and Sphinx badge at its base.

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