Officer, 49th Foot, 1775 (Royal Berkshire)


The Royal Berkshire Regiment was merged into The Rifles in 2007

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The 49th were raised in 1743 and subsequently became the Royal Berkshire Regiment. Their green facings were changed to white in 1881 and afterwards to blue. They have been amalgamated into The Rifles. Based on a coat in the National Army Museum, the garment shown here is neat and elegant. The turned-down collar is buttoned to the lapels, in the usual practice. The shoulder cords have become a fringed strap and denote rank and function. Officers of grenadier companies and all field officers wore an epaulette on each shoulder; officers of battalion companies wore one only on the right shoulder, as here. Epaulettes varied with each regiment. An officer of this regiment can be seen with the same coat, but the epaulette has different embroidery. The coat and portrait are contemporary, so officers may still have had some latitude in dress. The hat is shown still cocked in the old fashion, which was rapidly disappearing. The way hats were cocked followed civilian fashion. Officers cocked their hats this way and regulations eventually caught up with fashion. This officer is in undress uniform so wears silk stockings and shoes. On duty he would wear boots, black gaiters, a crimson sash round his waist and a shoulder belt for his sword over his right shoulder. He should have worn a gilt gorget according to regulation, but this regulation was often ignored.

Sources:  A coat in the National Army Museum, Sandhurst (in 1965), and a portrait of an officer of the Regiment.

Additional information

Dimensions 24 × 37.5 cm