Infantry 1850-1960

The Crimean War began in 1854, after 40 years of peace. Army dress had grown ornate and impractical. The infantry went to the Crimea in tight coatees; officers ornamented with gold epaulettes and shakos universally disliked. During the war the worst defects were remedied. Full dress was still intended as battledress. The Crimea was the last to which this applied. In India khaki appeared. At the Mutiny in 1857, many Indian regiments raised to put down the Mutiny were clothed in khaki, and later adopted khaki for their ceremonial dress as well as their fighting dress. After 1856 regiments were distinguished by the colour of their facings and their badges and by nothing else. Uniforms never regained the individuality which they had up to about 1830. The efforts of Florence Nightingale and those of others in other spheres of administration began a general overhaul of the supporting services of the army which have ensured that the British soldier is one of the best cared for in the field in the world. The British soldier likes to feel that he is part of an old-established concern, and he works all the better when he does have that feeling. The preservation of tradition, therefore, even if it is only in some minor item of dress, remains important.

The prints measure 24 cm wide x 37 cm high (9 ½ ″ x 14 ½ ″). Minor variation in size is possible based on the actual guillotine cut made by the printer nearly 50 years ago. Shown here are photographs which have been carefully corrected to remove most distortion. Published in 1970 by © Hugh Evelyn Limited, London; drawn by Colonel P.H. Smitherman.

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