Captain, 1st Life Guards, 1830


In 1922 1st and 2nd Life Guards merged to form the Life Guards

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The 1st Life Guards was the oldest cavalry regiment in the Army. Formed in 1660 from gentlemen who had accompanied Charles II in exile, in the early days it was recruited solely from persons of position. His Majesty’s Own Troop of Life Guards of Horse, changed in 1685 to 1st Life Guards of Horse and in 1788 to 1st Life Guards when the Horse Grenadiers, formed in 1693, were absorbed. In 1922 1st and 2nd Life Guards merged to form the Life Guards. Its list of battle honours is long – the most unusual perhaps in the Nile Expedition of 1884, when they were mounted on camels. This officer wears a heavy uniform: the cuirass, coatee, and boots devised by George IV with the bearskin cap reintroduced by William IV. The cap is like the modern guardsman’s bearskin, but larger, and the swan’s feather plume fantastic. The cuirass is like those worn today; the epaulettes are larger, and the gold aiguillettes across the right breast. It was suggested they were originally ropes for tying bundles of forage, or picketing ropes. The pegs at the end suggest the latter use and are like the picketing pegs familiar to all cavalrymen used in horse-lines in camp. They are now worn by officers and N.C.O.s of the Household Cavalry and by Aides-de-­Camp, who carried them for their General’s horses, and by staff officers and attaches, who were all mounted. Their use by the staff led, at the end of the nineteenth century, to their adoption by the Royal Navy, and later still by the Royal Air Force, for certain staff officers – a use which has no sanction in tradition.

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Dimensions 24 × 37.5 cm