At the time represented by this image, the Bengal Horse Artillery was probably the finest body of artillery in the world. It was raised in 1800 as an experiment, which proved successful, and by 1857 had nine British and four Indian troops, of which only one defected in the Mutiny. The history of the 1st Troop of the 1st Brigade, the ‘First of the First’, formed from the original experimental troop of 1800, was particularly distinguished, and during its sixty years of life it was continuously employed in the hardest fighting all over the north of India. During the terrible retreat from Kabul in 1841 it was annihilated serving its guns. Transferred to the Royal Artillery after the Mutiny it served in Afghanistan again in 1879 where, at Ahmed Khel, it recovered one of its guns lost in 1841. The uniform follows the general lines of R.H.A. dress, but, of course, the peculiar wavy pattern of lace on the chest is entirely its own. The helmet is similar in pattern to the helmets worn by British light dragoon regiments some years before this. Sources: Coat and helmet in the Royal Artillery Museum, various portraits and photographs in regimental possession. As F (Sphinx) Battery, R.H.A., which became F (Sphinx) Parachute Battery Royal Horse Artillery and still possessed the gun lost for nearly forty years. The title ‘Sphinx’ commemorates the battle honour ‘Egypt’ displayed on the officer’s sabretache.
1850 Officer, Bengal Horse Artillery
1850 Officer, Bengal Horse Artillery: drawn from a coat and helmet in the Royal Artillery Museum, Larkhill, Wiltshire and from various portraits and photographs in the regiment’s possession.
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