1708, Sergeant, Train of Artillery
1708, Sergeant, Train of Artillery: drawn from the tapestries at Blenheim Palace, Clothing Lists and notices in the London Gazette
There has been some discussion about the date when the artillery adopted the blue coat with red facings. Some maintain that they wore it from earliest times but we know they did not. Artillery trains had to be specially raised for each campaign so there was divergence of dress. Soldiers who assisted the train in action would have worn their own regimental dress. This sergeant is shown wearing red faced with blue (on the evidence of the Blenheim tapestries – 300-year-old tapestries hung at Blenheim Palace to commemorate John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough‘s victory over the French at the Wars of the Spanish Succession). The gunners, matrosses (next in rank below the gunner in a train of artillery, who acted as an assistant or mate) and bombardiers (NCOs in the artillery – several are attached to each battery) would have been dressed similarly but with either yellow lace in place of the gold, or no lace at all. He is armed with a halberd, long obsolete as a weapon but commonly carried by sergeants, as a sign of their rank. Sergeants of the early Artillery Trains were technical experts who enjoyed a great reputation in the army. Before the formation of the Royal Artillery, despite the apparently chaotic way in which the trains were raised for each campaign and subsequently disbanded, the N.C.O.s and gunners earned a reputation for steadiness and devotion all over Europe, and they contributed greatly to Marlborough‘s successful campaigns. (Sources: Blenheim tapestries, Clothing Lists, London Gazette notices).
|Dimensions||24 × 37 cm|