WHEN THE Royal Horse Artillery was formed in 1793 it wore a Light Dragoon helmet of the type shown here, but a jacket of the type shown on this plate was introduced in about 1800. Several jackets of this date exist, varying in minor ways, the variations probably reflecting the owner’s taste or purse rather than changes in the regulations. General Mercer, who joined the R.H.A. in 1804, said that away from HQ regulations were little observed; although in his day the regulation was that on the breast there were to be equal spaces of blue and lace, his own jacket resembled a ‘furze bush in full blossom’. The jacket illustrated here is in the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich, and presumably is what it should have been. It has seventy-four buttons, a number exceeded on many subsequent jackets. The style of the uniform is that of the Light Dragoons of the day. The helmet is particularly noteworthy. It was of stiff black leather, with a black velvet turban, plume, and black bearskin crest. This handsome and practical head-dress was peculiar to the British Army and was particularly liked by King George III. There was very considerable dissatisfaction expressed when King George IV had it replaced throughout the army with French chacos or Hungarian busbies. The Royal Horse Artillery kept theirs longer than anyone, but eventually it went. This was the dress in which the Royal Horse Artillery fought throughout the Napoleonic wars and won its first battle honours. Sources: Jacket and helmet, Royal Artillery Museum; other items, Dress Regulations and numerous prints.