Colour Sergeant c1863

This Colour Sergeant is in full marching order, with a very straight-edged knapsack strapped to his back with folded greatcoat secured to it, and mess tins in a waterproof cover on top. His doublet is single-breasted and still has the blue slash flap and cuff.' This was changed to the gauntlet cuff in 1868. His Colour badge can now be seen on the left arm, the same as the badge on the right arm; a single stripe with a Union flag and crossed swords, with a crown above. Photos of Colour Sergeants in 1868 show that this badge was only worn on the right arm, with three chevrons on the left arm. The sergeant's crimson sash is worn on the right shoulder whereas the photo of 1856 shows it on the left.' This change was made throughout the army to mark the difference between officers and NCOs. Just in front of the sash tassels is his extra-long (22.75 inches) sword-bayonet which fixes to the two-banded Enfield percussion musket.' Sergeants carried these, while the rank and file had the longer rifle with a socket bayonet.' His ammunition pouch can be seen below his knapsack; it is of black leather, attached to the broad white strap on his left shoulder, and carried 60 rounds of .577 inch cartridges. The kilt is worn without the plaid on the shoulder and can be seen to reach just below the knee.' W Y Carman, in his book Uniforms of the British Army based on Richard Simkin's illustrations, says this: ' The hard-wearing and thin texture of the kilt acquired a sharp edge in wet weather and when at a parade in 1870 Queen Victoria noted blood at the back of Highlanders' legs she was prompted to order that the old tartan should be replaced by a softer and kinder texture.' 'It is amazing to realize that for 120 years Highland soldiers had suffered this and no-one had thought to do anything about it.'

Regimental Details | Uniforms

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by Stephen Luscombe