Officer, 23rd Foot, 1790 (Royal Welch Fusiliers)


The Royal Welch Fusiliers merged into 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh in 2006

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The 23rd (Royal Welch Fusiliers) were raised in 1689. The bunch of black ribbons worn on the collar at the back, a survival of the ribbons worn before 1805 to protect the collar from the grease of the pigtail, remained. Since 2006 it is part of the Royal Regiment of Wales. Fusilier’s caps were to be ‘like grenadier caps only smaller’. The plate with the royal arms on the cap has gone, replaced by a badge. An arrangement of gold cords at the back ended in two tassels visible on the left. The collar has been turned up again and assumes the form it later retained. The elaboration of the gold lace on the cuffs and lapels is in sharp contrast with earlier simplicity. Being a fusilier, armed on service with a fusil, he wears a shoulder belt with a pouch and a sword belt. Black gaiters replaced white spatterdashes, except in the Foot Guards. White was first replaced by brown – a more suitable colour for service, but not considered smart so were blacked, later replaced with black gaiters. The 23rd could wear a badge, Prince of Wales’ feathers, so it appears on the gorget instead of the royal Arms. The regimental plate on the shoulder-belt, was an innovation worn by all ranks, so soldiers carried easily recognisable signs of their regiment like the later cap-badge. Previously, unless permitted to display a badge, they could be identified only by buttons, or the pattern of his lace.

Sources:  Portrait of an officer of the Regiment and a coat (of a slightly later date) at the National Army Museum, Sandhurst (in 1965).

Additional information

Dimensions 24 × 37.5 cm