1847 Jemadar, Madras Horse Artillery

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Uniforms of the Royal Artillery 1716-1966

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Description

The artillery of the Honourable East India Company was organised on the lines of the Royal Artillery into Horse Troops and Foot Companies, roughly half British and half Indian, with British officers. As was always the case in the Indian Army, the British officers had Indian officers under them who held junior commands in units and had the task of looking after the religious and other interests of the sepoys. This plate shows such an officer in one of the Indian troops of the Madras Horse Artillery. His uniform is like that of his British officer and is based on the uniforms of the Royal Horse Artillery. His headgear, which was commonly worn in India at the time, is a chaco made to represent a turban, the gold band representing the top fold of the turban, which, for an officer, would have been gold. Madras was the first of the presidencies to raise artillery, for duty on the Coromandel coast, and many of the terms used and methods of administration retained a nautical flavour until a quite late date. There were always considerable misgivings about training Indians as gunners, as the Company felt, quite unworthily as the history of the Mutiny proves, that they might be untrustworthy. However, they were less expensive than British gunners, and expense, as usual, proved the final argument. They were trained as gunners, and very good and staunch they proved. The uniforms of the Horse Artillery of the other presidencies were like this, and as the Indian units were disbanded about twelve years after this date, this plate shows the last uniform worn by them. Source: Colour print by William Hunsley.

Additional information

Dimensions24 × 37.5 cm