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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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The word " uniform " (Lat. onus, one, and forma, form), meaning adjectively homogeneous, is specifically used as a substantive for the distinctive naval and military dress, which serves, in its various styles, to give homogeneity to the several services, regiments and ranks. Although in ancient history we occasionally meet with uniformed soldiers, such as the white and crimson Spanish regiments of Hannibal, it was not until. the beginning of large standing armies that uniforms were introduced in modern times. Before this, armed bodies were of two sorts, retainers and mercenaries, and while the former often wore their master's livery, the latter were dressed each according to his own taste or means. The absence ' Willement, Regal Heraldry, p. 70, says that it was also so used by Anne Boleyn and by the earls of Hertford.

of uniforms accounts very largely for the significance attached to the colours and standards, which alone formed rallying points for the soldier and his comrades, and thus acquired the sacred character which they have since possessed. A man who left the colours wandered into the terrifying unknown, for there was nothing to distinguish friend and foe. Even if the generals had ordered the men to wear some improvised badge such as a sprig of leaves, or the shirt outside the coat, such badges as these were easily lost or taken off. The next step in advance was a scarf of uniform colour, such as it is supposed was worn by the " green," " yellow " and other similarly-named brigades of the Swedish army under Gustavus Adolphus. This too was easily removed, as in the example of the squire who at Edgehill put on the orange scarf of the parliamentarians and with no more elaborate disguise succeeded in recapturing the lost royal standard from the hands of Essex's own secretary. By this time, in France at least, the general character of the clothes and accoutrements to be worn on various occasions was strictly regulated by orders. But uniformity of clothing was not to be expected so long as the " enlistment " system prevailed and soldiers came and went, were taken in and dismissed, at the beginning and end of every campaign. The beginnings of uniform are therefore to be found in truly national armies, in the Indelta of Gustavus, and the English armies of the Great Rebellion. In the earlier years of the latter, though the richer colonels uniformed their men (as, for instance, the marquess of Newcastle's " Whitecoats " and the king's own " Bluecoats "), the rustics and the citizens turned out for war in their ordinary rough clothes, donning armour and sword-belt. But in 1645 the parliament raised an army " all its own " for permanent service, and the colonels became officials rather than proprietors. The " new model " was clothed in the civilian costume of the date - ample coat, waistcoat, breeches, stockings and shoes (in the case of cavalry, boots) - but with the distinctive colour throughout the army of red and with regimental facings of various colours. The breeches were grey. Soon afterwards the helmet disappeared, and its place was taken by a grey broad-brimmed hat. From the coat was evolved the tunic of to-day, and the hat became the cocked hat of a later generation, which has never altogether disappeared, and has indeed reverted to its original form in the now familiar " slouch-hat." For service in Ireland the red coat was exchanged for one of russet colour, just as scarlet gave way to khaki for Indian service in the 19th century. The cavalry, however, wore buff leather coats and armour long after the infantry had abandoned them; the Austrians (see Plate I., line 1, No. 2), on account of their Turkish wars, retained them longer than any.



Alsace Regt., 1690.


Austria: 1705.

Austria: Wiirttemberg Regt., 1710.

Hungary: Hussars, 1762.

England: 34th Foot, 1742.

England: Grenadier, 4th Foot, 1751.

I l esse-Ca„c 1 Regt., 1756.

England: 40th Foot, 1790.

Missing image

Thus the principle ever since followed - uniform coat and variegated facings - was established. Little or nothing of sentiment led to this. By choice or convenience the majority of the corps out of which the new model was formed had come to be dressed in red, with facings according to the colonel's taste, and it is a curious fact that in Austria sixty years afterwards events took the same course. The colonels there uniforming their men as they saw fit, had by tacit consent, probably to obtain " wholesale " prices, agreed upon a serviceable colour (pearl grey), and when in 1707 Prince Eugene procured the issue of uniform regulations, few line regiments had to be reclothed. The preferences of the colonel were exhibited in the colour of the facings (Plate I., line 1, fig. 3)'. In France, as in England and Austria, the cavalry, as yet rather led by the wealthy classes than officered by the professional, was not uniformed upon an army system until after the infantry. But in 1688 six-sevenths of the French cavalry was uniformed in light grey with red facings; and about half the dragoon regiments had red uniforms and blue facings. Louvois, in creating a standing army, had introduced an infantry uniform as a necessary consequence. The native French regiments had light grey coats, the Swiss red, the German black and the Italian blue, with various facings. The French grey was probably decided upon, like the Austrian grey, as being a good " service " colour, which could be cheaply manufactured (Plate I., Guard Dragoon, 1806.

Deutsc luneister Regt., 1805.

Voltigeur, 51st Regt., 1806.

France: Revolutionary Infantry, 1795.


9th Foot, Royal Horse lst Ru?,ti 1812. Artillery, 1815. Dragoons, 1815.

Missing image

and: .

Infantry Officer, Scots Fusilier Gene. ti Officer, 1859. Guards, Officer, 1865.1864.

a,iii l.tY,iii Infantry, 1845.

J ager, 1848.

Line Infantry, Gyulai itegt., 1852.1856.

line i, fig. i). Both these greys, however, refined themselves in course of time into white.

The hat and the long coat and breeches remained the uniform of line infantry almost everywhere up to the advent of the shako and the coatee about 1790-1820. The gradual evolution of these two garments, from the comfortable civilian clothes of 1690 to the stiff, precise military garments of 1790, can be traced in a few words. The brim of the felt hat was first looped up on one side for convenience, then, for appearance' sake, on the other, and so became the three-cornered cocked hat, fringed with feathers, lace or braid, of Marlborough's wars.' Then came the fashion of looping up before and behind, which produced the hat called the " Khevenhi ller," or the broadside-on cocked hat. Lastly, came the purely decorative, lace-looped " fore-and-aft " pattern, as worn in many states to-day. But before this came into vogue the cocked hat had practically disappeared from the ordinary ranks of all armies. It may be said that so long as the cocked hat survived in its simple, rank-and-file form, uniforms retained much of their looseness. Though the long skirts that rendered great coats unnecessary were looped back, and the ample cuffs of Marlborough's time were becoming narrower until they were at last sewn down to the sleeve, yet the military costume was in all essentials the civil costume of the time - long coat, hat, sleeved waistcoat, breeches and gaiters.

But other influences were at work. The principal was the introduction into armies of Slavonic irregulars, which tended to restrict line infantry and cavalry to parade drill and to pitched battles in parade order. This, and their complete separation from the civil population, stiffened their costume until it became " soldierly." Frederick the Great, indeed, could not have developed the infantry fire power that he needed if his soldiers had had tight sleeves, but in his old age the evil of sacrificing comfort to smartness attained a height which, except in the 1820-1840 period, was never surpassed. The figure of a Prussian fusilier, Plate I. line 1, No. 7 (in which by mistake a slung sword is shown) shows this process beginning. The stock has made its appearance, soon to stiffen into a cloth collar, under which, as if it were not already tight enough, another stock in due course came to be worn. The flapped cuffs, shown in the British figure No. 5, have become plain round cuffs, above which are embroidery stripes and buttons which at one time laced the flaps of the cuff together and now survive as the " guard-stripe." This may be called the first instance of the dummy adornments, which are so marked in modern full-dress uniforms. Similarly the former cloth turnback on the front of the coat has even in 1756 been cut off, the buttons and embroidered loops that retained it being kept as decorations.

Many of these specially military adornments were borrowed from the national costumes of the irregulars themselves. Their head-gear in particular drove out the cocked hat. The grenadier cap, now a towering bearskin, was its first successful rival, the shako the next. The grenadier cap was, in the first instance, a limp conical cap (identical with the hussar cap), edged with fur and having a tassel at the end. Soon the fur became more prominent in the front, and the tail disappeared. Then the cloth mitre-cap (Plate I., line 1, fig. 6) appeared. This was originally a field-service cap, with ear-flaps and sunshade. But it stiffened about 1775 into a fur cap of the same shape (with which sometimes the old cloth tail is found), and this in turn evolved, through the fuller but still narrow and forward-pointing bearskin of Peninsular days, into the great fur cap of grenadiers and fusiliers of the present time. The mitre-shaped cloth cap survives in a few Russian and Prussian regiments. As early as 1755, as the Prussian figure shows, a conical leather cap with a large brass plate in front had come into existence. This held its ground for some time, and the grenadier cap of to-day in Russia. and Prussia is a metal copy of the mitre field-service cap itself. A curious derivative of the low fur cap with a peak in front and a bag-tail behind worn by some 17thand 18th-century grenadiers is the head-dress of the Russian horse-grenadiers.

1 In the cavalry an iron-framed skull-cap was often worn under the cocked hat.

The peak has become the helmet, the fur a " sausage " across the cap from ear to ear, and the back part of the helmet is covered by the bag-tail.

The Hungarian hussars introduced the jacket and the busby. The latter was originally a conical cap with fur edge, but the fur became higher until there was nothing left of the cap but the ornamental " busby-bag " of to-day. It would appear also as if the hussars brought the shako to western Europe. This is a conical, bell-topped, or cylindrical head-dress of stiff material, commonly leather. Its prototype, the tall cylindrical cap of the i 8th-century hussars, was tilted on one side and wound round with a very narrow bag-tail, the last few inches of which, adorned with a tassel, hung down. But the shako itself succeeded, as nothing else succeeded, in being accepted by line infantry and cavalry, and after passing through numerous forms it remains in every army to-day, either as a low rigid cap (Germany, England and Austria), a stiffened or limp kepi (France and Italy), or the flat-topped peaked cap which is the most common military head-dress of modern Europe.

All these adjuncts came in the first place from the national costume of imported auxiliaries. So also did the lancer cap, which, originally the Polish czapka, was a cylindrical cap, the upper part of which could be pushed up or down after the fashion of a bellows or accordion, with a square top. The original form is seen in Plate I., line 2, fig. 4, and the stiffened development of it in Plate I., line 3, fig. 1. The British lancer cap (Plate II., line i, No. 2) has still a full middle portion, but in Austria and Germany this has dwindled to a very narrow neck (Plate II., line 3, No. 6; Plate IV., line r, No. 7). The line infantry and cavalry coat, full-skirted in the first instance, retained its original length until about 1780, but from that time onwards (probably in most cases in the interests of the colonel's pocket) it becomes, little by little, shorter and scantier (Plate I., line 2, Nos. 2, 3, and 5), until at last it is a " coatee," not as long as the present-day tunic (Plate I., line 2, Nos. 6 and 8), or a swallow-tailed coat (Plate I., line 3, figs. 1-3). This, of course, did away with the protection afforded by the full skirt, and necessitated the introduction of the great coat, which even to-day in some cases is worn, without the tunic, over the " vest " that represents the sleeved waistcoat (Plate II., line 2, No. 3), formerly worn under the long skirted coat. The white breeches and gaiters, retained to the last, gradually gave way to trousers and ankle boots in r800-1820.

Meanwhile another form of head-dress, which was purely military and owed nothing to Poland or Hungary, came into vogue. This was the helmet, which had disappeared from the infantry about 1650-1670, and the cavalry thirty years afterwards. It took two forms, both of which possessed some of the characteristics of ancient Greek and Roman helmets. These were a small helmet with sausage-shaped ornament from front to back, worn chiefly by British light dragoons and artillery (Plate I., line 2, fig. 7), and the towering crested helmet worn by the French, British and Austrians. The French cuirassiers and dragoons (Plate I., line 2, No. 3) had, and still have, long horsehair tails dependent from the crest. The Austrian infantry helmet, worn with the white coat, similar to, but smaller than, that shown in Plate II., line 2, No. 5, had no ornament, but the British heavy cavalry helmet (Plate I., line 2, No. 8) resembled that of the French. To-day, besides the French, the Austrian dragoons and Italian heavy cavalry have this form of helmet (Plate II., line 3, No. i, and Plate IV., line 2, No. 8).

It has been said above that the coatee and the shako are the principal novelties in European military costumes of Napoleon's time. To these should be added the replacement of the gaitered breeches by trousers, and the adoption of hussar and lancer uniforms of ever-growing sumptuousness, in which the comfort that had originally belonged to these national irregular costumes was entirely sacrificed. After Waterloo, indeed, all traces of the old-fashioned coat disappeared, and, except for the doubtful gain of tight-fitting " overalls," the soldier was more showy and worse off in comfort and convenience than ever before or since. One or two examples ma; be quoted. In George IV.'s time the coatees of the lifeguards were so tight that the men were unable to perform their sword exercise, and their crested helmet, surmounted by a " sausage " ornament, was so high that the sword could not be raised for a downward blow. The total height of the lancer cap with its plume (Plate I., line 3, No. I) was about an arm's length, and prints exist showing British lancers in a cap of which the square top is very nearly as broad as the wearer's shoulders. The hussar furred pelisse, originally worn over a jacket (Plate I., line 1, fig. 4), and so worn by the Austrians to-day, had become a magnificently embroidered and laced garment, always slung and never worn, and the old plain underjacket had been loaded with buttons and lace, and differed from the pelisse only in the absence of fur. It was the Restoration era, too, that delighted to decorate uniforms with sewn-down imitations of the skirt pockets, turn-back cuffs, &c., of the old coat. This was, in short, the epoch of pure dandyism, and although some of its wilder extravagances were abolished between 1830 and 1850, enough still remained when the British army took the field in the Crimea to bring about a sudden and violent reaction, in which the slovenliest dress was accounted the best. The dress regulations of 1855 introduced the low " Albert " shako and the tunic, abolished the epaulette - an ornament which had grown in the 18th century out of a shoulder cord that kept the belts in place and was decorated at the outer end with a few loose strands or tassels of embroidery - and made other changes which, without bringing back uniform to its original roominess and comfort, destroyed not only the dandyism of George IV.'s time, but also the chastened finery of the Early Victorian uniforms (Plate I., line 3, No. 7).

The tunic, accompanied by a spiked helmet of burgonet shape, had been introduced in Prussia and Russia about 1835. Russia was too poor to allow extravagance in dress, and Russians, clothed as they generally were in their great coats, had little incentive to aim at futile splendour. Both countries, however, and France and Austria likewise, passed through a period of tight, if unadorned, uniforms, before Algeria, Italy, and similar experiences brought about the abandonment of the swallow-tailed coatee. The French adopted the tunic in 1853, the Austrians in 1856, and in both countries the shako became smaller and lighter. From about 1880, when the spiked helmet replaced the low shako in England, no radical changes were made in full dress uniforms, except that the Russian army, abandoning the German pattern uniforms formerly in vogue, adopted a national uniform which is simple, roomy, and exceedingly plain, even in full dress. In 1906-1909, however, this attempt to combine handsomeness and comfort was given up, full dresses being made more decorative, and light green-grey service dresses being introduced. Lastly, since the South African War and the development of infantry fire, the attempt to wear full dress uniform on active service has been practically given up. Great Britain first of all adopted the Indian khaki, and then a drab mixture for " service dress " and returned, after 150 years, to the civilian style of field dress, adopting the " Norfolk jacket " or shooting coat with spinal pleat and roomy pockets. Germany, Italy, the United States and other countries have followed suit, though each has chosen its own shade, and the shades vary from light grey blue in Italy to deep olive drab in the United States. The details of the present-day uniforms in the principal states are given below. It might be stated, as a summary of modern uniforms, that Great Britain has most completely divorced service and full dress, and that in consequence her full dress is handsomer and her service dress plainer than those of any other country. Whether, for European war at any rate, the obliteration of regimental distinctions has not been carried too far, is open to question. The method adopted for the Italian infantry would seem to give enough means of identification, without increasing visibility, and as this method was used by the British in the South African War, it will probably be revived in future wars.

1 Great Britain

2 Cavalry

3 Badges of Rank

4 Regimental Badges

5 Undress Uniforms

6 Service Dress

7 Indian Native Army

8 Cavalry

9 Artillery

10 Cavalry

11 Cavalry

12 Infantry Officers

13 Branch and Line Badges

14 Naval Uniforms

Great Britain

The full dress uniforms of the British service in 1910 had not undergone any radical change since the army reorganization of 1881. Many regiments had, however, resumed their original facings instead of the white common to all non-royal English regiments in the last twenty years of the 19th century. But the Scottish regiments maintained their yellow or yellow-buff facings, and the single Irish regiment which is not " royal " (the Connaught Rangers) its green. Rifle regiments had astrakhan busbies, resembling in shape enlarged " glengarry " caps, with plume and lines. Details in all corps have been changed, rendering the uniforms more handsome. In September 1910 it was announced that the cloth helmet would be replaced by a shako.


Household cavalry and dragoons wear single-breasted tunics with gold buttons, cuffs pointed with Austrian knot collars and shoulder-straps of the facings colour and white piping on the front and the skirt-flaps. The household cavalry wear steel cuirasses in review order, and in undress tight-fitting jackets and blue red-striped overalls. All wear steel or brass helmets, with drooping horsehair plumes, except the Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons), who have a grenadier bearskin with feather plume. All wear blue pantaloons and jack boots, except the household cavalry, who in full dress wear white leather breeches and high jack boots. reaching above the knee. The stripes on the pantaloons are yellow, (white in 2nd and 6th Dragoon Guards), white belts' and slings. See Plate II., line I, figs. 4 and 9.

Lancers (Plate II., line 1, No. 2) wear double-breasted tunics with gold buttons, and the front or " plastron," the peculiar mark of the lancer, varies in colour with the facings of the regiment. Lancers wear lancer caps (the Polish czapka) with drooping plumes. Pantaloons are blue, with yellow stripes (white in 17th), boots as in the dragoons. Round the waist is a girdle of yellow and red, and the cap is secured to the collar of the tunic by yellow lines.

' The 1st Life Guards have a red line, the 2nd a blue line, in the pouch belt.





1st Life Guards. ... .

2nd „ „





Royal Horse Guards (Blues) .




1st Dragoon Guards (King's) .




2nd „ 1




3rd „„


Black and red

4th.. .




Dark green

Red and white

6th „ „ (Carabineers).




7th „. .



Black and white

1st Royal Dragoons




2nd Dragoons (Scots Greys) .

(Bearskin cap)


6th Inniskilling Dragoons. .



Czapka top.

5th Lancers. .. ... .





9th „. ... .


Black and white

12th „. .. .. .








17th „. .. ... .





21st „. .. .. .

Light blue

Light blue


3rd Hussars. ... .



Garter blue


4th „. .. .. .



7th „. .. ... .



8th „

White over red

loth „

White over black

I ith „


White over crimson

13th „



14th „




18th „. .. ... .


White over red

19th „. .. ... .





Missing image

Platt` Tt, Great Britain.

13th Hussars, 11th Lancers, Officer. Officer.


10th Hussars, Officer.

end Life Guards, Officer.

Field Marshal.

Major-General. Royal Horse Artillery, Officer.

Royal Field 3th Innis- Artillery, killing Dragoons

Officer. Officer.

Army Ser v ice Iii a'i

Corps, Scottish Undress, Fusiliers, Engineers,

Officer. Borderers. Officer. Officer.


Grenadier Guards, Officer.

Nine's Argyli and

Regiment, Officer. (Royal Lancaster), Sutherland

Officer. Service Dress. Highlanders.

9th Hussars.


Austrian th 1st Uhlans. Artillery, Colonel.

Hungarian General.

18th Infantry. 82nd Infantry.

The undress cap is in all the above blue, with bands of various colours, amongst which the most noticeable is the white zigzag on a black background of the Scots Greys.

Hussars (Plate I., line 1, figs. i and 3) wear a blue jacket, shorter than the ordinary tunic, braided with yellow or gold in front, along the back seams and on the collars and cuffs. They have no shoulder-straps, facings or waist-belt. The 3rd Hussars wear, however, scarlet and the 13th white, collars. The distinctive head-dress is the cylindrical busby with an upright feather plume, lines, and a busby-bag on the right side. The pantaloons are blue, except for the 11th Hussars, who wear crimson. Double stripes on the trousers, yellow (white, 13th). The undress cap is a red peaked cap. Officers' Hessian boots have gold edging and boss.

Infantry.-The uniforms of the four Foot Guard regiments are distinguished by the cuffs, which have slashed flaps and buttons, by the blue shoulder-straps and by the embroidery patches on the collar, cuff-flaps and skirts, which are analogous to the GardeLitzen of continental armies. The only uniform which could be mistaken for it is the Royal Marine Light Infantry's (Plate IV. line 3, No. 11 ), which has also slashed flaps, but it has fewer and smaller embroidery patches and plain collars. All the Guard regiments wear scarlet tunics with blue collars, shoulder-straps and cuffs, bearskin caps, blue trousers with red piping (officers, red stripe). The regimental distinctions (Plate II., line 2, Nos. 3 and 6) are: Grenadiers-Buttons equally spaced, white plume, red cap-band. Coldstream-Buttons spaced in twos. red plume, white cap-band. Scots-Buttons in threes, no plume, diced red and white cap-band. Irish-Buttons in fours, green plume, green capband. All wear in undress the white jacket, which is the old sleeved waistcoat, and peaked cap.

The uniforms of the line infantry may be classed as Line, Light, Fusilier, Rifle, Lowland and Highland Scottish. The tunic in the first three is red, with pointed cuffs and collars of the facings colour (blue in Royal regiments, white in English and Welsh, yellow in Scottish, green in Irish, except where the older colours have been revived), red shoulder-straps, gold buttons and white piping, blue trousers with red piping. On the shoulder-strap in the case of the rank and file is the regimental title, on the collar the regimental badge. The line infantry have a dark blue helmet (Plate II., line 2, No. 7), with brass spike and ornaments; the light infantry a dark green helmet of the same pattern; the fusiliers (Plate II., line 2, fig. 4) bear or racoon skin cap with hackle plume. In undress all ranks have a blue (green for light infantry) peaked cap, with a black (royal regiments, scarlet, non-royal Irish, green) band. The rifle regiments (Plate II., line 2, No. 8) wear very dark green tunics and trousers without coloured cuffs or collars. In the King's Royal Rifles the scarlet piping and collar form a conspicuous distinction. The head-dress of the rifle regiments is an astrakhan cap with plume (red and black, K.R.R.; dark green and black, K.I.R.; black, Rifle Brigade), in undress a dark green peaked cap.

The Lowland and Highland Scottish regiments wear a scarlet (Scottish Rifles, green) " doublet " with gauntlet cuffs (Plate II., line 2, Nos. 2 and 10.) In undress Highland regiments wear the white jacket. Highland regiments wear tartan kilt and plaid and sporran (varying with the regiments), diced hose-tops and white spats, Lowland regiments (also Scottish Rifles, Highland Light Infantry, and all mounted officers) tartan trews. The head-dress of Highland regiments is a " feather bonnet "-a loose fur cap of peculiar shape with hackle. The Highland Light Infantry wear a small shako with a red and white diced band and ball. Lowland regiments (except the Royal Scots Fusiliers) wear the Kilmarnock bonnet (Plate II., line 2, No. 2). The Scottish Rifles have a shako with black drooping plume. The undress cap of all Scottish infantry is the " glengarry." The full dress of officers is similar to that of the men, but it is more ornamented (see below for badges of rank). In all English and Irish regiments clothed in scarlet a crimson waist-sash is worn by officers. Guards officers on ceremonial occasions wear a gold and crimson sash. On the collar and cuffs there are broad edgings of lace terminating in the case of the cuffs in a small Austrian knot. The rifle Jacket is of hussar pattern with black embroidery and a black pouch belt (Plate II., line 2, fig. 8.) The Highland officer has a special pattern of sword; in full dress the basket-hilted claymore (socalled) or a plainer sword decorated with ribbon, on service a plain cross-hilted sword. He has also a richly decorated dirk, a broad white baldric, and a very full sash over the left shoulder. Lowland officers have also the shoulder belt and claymore, &c.

Royal Artillery.-The Royal Horse Artillery (Plate II., line 1, fig. 7 ) wears an old-fashioned hussar uniform, consisting of busby with red bag and white plume, a blue jacket with 18 rows of gold braid and scarlet collar. Trousers blue with red stripe. The Royal Field and Royal Garrison Artillery (Plate II., line 1, No. 8) wear a blue tunic with red collar and gold lace (Austrian knot on the sleeve), blue trousers with red stripe, helmet with brass plate and ball ornament, waist-belt and pouch-belt (white for men, gold for officers). The badge is either a grenade or a device of a field gun on its carriage.

Be replaced by a shako.

x xv1r. 19 a Corresponding Corps and their facings in 1815. (S = silver lace.) Facings.

Line Infantry, English and Welsh. Queen's (R. West Surrey). Buffs (East Kent).:. King's Own (R. Lancaster) Royal Warwickshire King's Liverpool Norfolk Lincolnshire Devonshire .


Suffolk Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorks) .

East Yorkshire.. Bedfordshire. Leicestershire Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regt.) Cheshire. ... South Wales Borderers Gloucestershire.. .

Worcestershire. East Lancashire East Surrey .

West Riding (Duke of Wellington's) Border Royal Sussex Hampshire South Staffordshire Dorsetshire. .


Prince of Wales's Volunteers (S. Lancashire) Welsh Essex Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby).. Loyal North Lancashire Northamptonshire. .

Princess Charlotte of Wales's Royal Berkshire Queen's Own R. West Kent Duke of Cambridge's Own Middlesex .

Wiltshire (Duke of Edinburgh's Own) .

Manchester. .


Prince of Wales's North Staffordshire. .

York and Lancashire .

Line Infantry, Irish. Royal Irish Regt... Connaught Rangers .

Leinster Regt. (R. Canadian). .. .

Light Infantry. Prince Albert's Somersetshire Duke of Cornwall's .

Missing image

Oxfordshire and Bucks Buff yellow Blue Lincoln green Yellow Buff yellow White Grass green Buff yellow Grass green White Scarlet White Blue Yellow White Grass green White Lemon yellow Buff yellow White Blue Green Blue Blue White 2nd, blue (S). 3rd, buff (5). 4th, blue.

6th, yellow (S). 8th, blue.

9th, yellow (S). loth, yellow (5). 11th, green.

12th, yellow.

14th, buff (S). 15th, yellow (S). 16th, yellow (5). 17th, white (S).

19th, grass green. 22nd, buff yellow. 24th, grass green (5). 28th, yellow (5). 61st, yellow (S). 29th, yellow (5). 36th, gosling green. 30th, pale yellow (S). 59th, white (S). 31st, buffs (S). loth, black.

33rd,red (S); 76th, red (5).

34 th, yellow (5). 55 th, green.

35t h, orange (S). 107th, (?).

37th, yellow (S). 67th, yellow (S). 38th, yellow (S). 80th, yellow.

39t h, grass green. 54t h, green (5).

40th, buff yellow. 82nd, yellow (S). 41st, red (5).

69th, green.

44 th, yellow (S). 56th, purple (S).

45 th, dark green (S). 47th, white (5). 81st, buff (5).

48th, buff.

58th, black.

49th, green. 66th,gosling grn. (5). 50th, black (5). 97th, blue (S).

57 th, yellow. 77 th, yellow (S).

62nd, buff (5). 99 th, pale yellow. 63rd, dark green (S), 96th, buff (S).

64th, black.

98th, buff.

65th, white; 84th, yellow (S).

18th, blue.

88th, yellow (S). 94t h, green.

(tooth and 109th late H.East India Co.'s troops).

13th, yellow (S). 32nd, white; 42nd, pale yellow (5). 43 rd, white (S). 52nd, buff (5).


Corresponding Corps and

their facings in 1815.

(S=silver lace.)

Light Infantry - continued.

Yorkshire (King's Own). .


51st, grass green

(105th H.E.India

Co.'s troops).

Shropshire (the King's)

53rd, red; 85th,

yellow (S).

Durham. .. .. .

Dark green

68th, bottle green

(S) (106th H.E.

India Co.'s


Highland. .. .. .

Buff yellow

71st, buff (S);

74th, white.


Northumberland.. .

Gosling green

5th,gosling green (S).

Royal (City of London). .


7th, blue.

Lancashire .


loth, yellow (S).

Royal Scots


21st, blue.

Royal Welsh .... .

23rd, blue.

Royal Irish. ... .

27th, buff (108th

lateH.East India

Co.'s troops).

Royal Inniskilling.. .

87th, green; 89th


Royal Munster.. .

and 104th

late H. East India

Co.'s troops).

Royal Dublin. .

(102nd and 103rd,

late H.East India

Co.'s troops).


Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Dark green

(Formerly 26th and

90th line).

King's Royal.. .. .


60th Rifles, red.

Royal Irish. .. .. .

Dark green

(Formerly 83rd and

86th line).

Rifle Brigade. ... .


95th Rifles, black.

Line Infantry, Lowland


Royal Scots Lothian


1st, blue.

King's Own Scottish Bor-

derers... .

25th, blue.


Black Watch (Royal Hrs.)

blue; 73rd,

dark green.

Seaforth. .. .. .

Buff yellow

72nd, yellow (S).

Gordon. ... .


75th, yellow;

92nd, yellow (S).

Queen's Own Cameron Hrs. .


79th, dark green.

Princess Louise's (Argyll and

91st, yellow (S).

Sutherland Hrs.).. .


93rd, yellow (S).

Royal Engineers (Plate II., line 2, No.5). - Scarlet tunic with garter, blue cuffs and collar, yellow shoulder-cords and piping, blue trousers with red stripe, helmet with royal arms on plate, and spike. Waistbelt white for men, gold-laced russia leather for officers, who wear also a pouch-belt of russia leather with a wavy gold lion in the centre.

Army Service Corps (Plate II., line 2, No. 1). - Blue tunic with white facings and white piping. Helmet with ball and plate, trousers blue with double white stripe. Officers, gold belts. Royal Army Medical Corps, blue uniform with magenta facings; Army Veterinary Corps, blue with maroon facings; Army Pay Corps, blue with yellow facings; Army Ordnance Corps, blue with red facings. The West India Regiment (negroes) wear a red sleeveless jacket over a white smock, baggy dark blue trousers, and a round cap with white puggaree.

The distinguishing mark of the staff officer in full dress is the aiguillette and the cocked hat with upright or drooping plume; in undress and service dress the red gorget patches on the collar. The full-dress uniforms of a field marshal and a general officer are shown in Plate II., line 1, Nos. 5 and 6.

Badges of Rank

All officers have twisted gold shoulder-cords (except Foot Guards,who wear a blue cloth shoulder-strap with lace edges); on these cords badges of rank are worn as follows: 2nd lieutenant, lieutenant and captain, I, 2 and 3 stars; major, crown; lieutenant-colonel, crown and star; colonel, crown and 2 stars; brigadiergeneral, crossed swords; generals, sword and baton crossed, and (majorgeneral)star; (lieutenant-general), crown; (general), crown and star; field marshal, crossed batons in a laurel wreath with crown above. In service dress (khaki), however, the badges are worn in worsted on a slashed flap !of the sleeve, coupled with rings of braid (1 for a 2nd lieutenant or lieutenant, 2 for a captain, &c.). Non-commissioned officers wear chevrons (point downwards) on the upper right arm; lance-corporal or acting bombardier,'; corporal,2; sergeant,3; coloursergeant, 3 chevrons and crossed colours; staff-sergeant, 4 chevrons. On the lower part of the left arm chevrons(point up) are worn as "good conduct " badges. A sergeant-major is dressed as an officer, except that he has a crown on the lower part of the right sleeve). There are also badges of proficiency such as crossed rifles for marksmen, a spur for rough-riders, a fleur-de-lys for scouts, &c.

Regimental Badges

The grenade in various forms is worn by the Royal Artillery, the Grenadier Guards and the Fusilier regiments. The figure of Britannia was awarded to the (9th) Norfolk regiment for gallantry at Almanza, 1707. The White Horse of Hanover was given to some regiments for service against the Jacobites. The Lion of England was awarded by William III. to the King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment for services against the troops of James II. The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment wear a Paschal Lamb, the badge of Catherine of Braganza, queen of Charles II. The Dragon of Wales figures among the badges of all the Welsh regiments. Several regiments wear a castle and key in memory of services at Gibraltar, others have a tiger for services in India and still more a sphinx for Egyptian campa;gns. The most general of all badges - though not the most generally worn - is the " stripped " rose. Nearly all corps possess several badges, which are combined in various ways.

The special interest of these badges is that they are peculiar to the British army. Although a badge of the branch (infantry, cavalry, &c.) is common, no other army wears distinctive regimental devices.

A few details of general practice may be added. All cavalry wear a pouch-belt over the left shoulder. The crimson infantry sash is worn by officers round the waist and by sergeants across the body and over the right shoulder. All officers and sergeants who do not wear the sash, to whatever branch they belong, have a pouchbelt, the pattern of course varying. Ankle boots (and sometimes leggings with them) are worn by dismounted men. Swords, except in the case of Scottish infantry, are worn suspended by slings from a belt (the belt in infantry, rifles and hussars being worn under the tunic or sash). On foreign service the uniform is varied according to circumstances, the most usual change being from the full dress head-dress to the white helmet.

The full dress of the territorial army varies greatly, sometimes conforming exactly to the uniform of the corresponding regular units, sometimes keeping to its original " Rifle " character in grey or green of various shades. The latter conform to the rules of the dress of " Rifles " (e.g wear pouch-belts instead of sashes), and the former, though in many cases the silver lace and ornaments of the old volunteer force are retained, to those for the regulars, the distinguishing mark in all cases being the letter " T " on the shoulder or collar. The yeomanry cavalry is variously attired, some old regiments possessing rich old-fashioned hussar uniforms, others of recent formation wearing " service " colours only. Some regiments are dressed as dragoons, but the great majority are hussars. The infantry and artillery of the Honourable Artillery Company of London are dressed somewhat after the fashion of the Grenadier Guards and the Royal Horse Artillery.

Undress Uniforms

In " walking-out " order most troops wear the tunic, Household Cavalry and Dragoons with waist-belts and sword-slings, lancers with girdle (R.F.A. and Army Service Corps also wear girdles in walking-out order), infantry and all other branches except hussars with waist-belt. Sergeants of infantry wear the sash and side-arms, the latter privilege being accorded also to corporals of the guards regiments. White gloves are worn by sergeants. Since the general introduction of khaki service dress, undress uniforms of red, blue, &c., have mostly disappeared, but the blue serge " jumper " is still retained. Officers of infantry (except in hussars and Rifles) have undress frock coats of various patterns. With these the " Sam Browne " equipment brown leather waist-belt, frog and the sash and slings are worn, but with the jumper and service frock, braces. Field officers have an edging of braid on the peak of the undress caps, staff and general officers an oak-leaf design.

Service Dress

This, since the conclusion of the Boer War, is universally khaki serge, of shooting-coat pattern, with a spinal pleat and four large pockets; all buttons and badges are in bronze. It has a double collar. A peaked cap, breeches or trousers, and puttees of the same colour are worn with it. The universal pattern greatcoat and macintosh are also khaki coloured. The guards and staff officers, however, wear a light grey overcoat.

Mess Dress, for officers, after undergoing various modifications, now almost universally consists of a jacket with roll collar, waistcoat, and overalls and patent leather Wellington boots, the colours following in the main those of the full dress.

It remains to mention a few of the many regimental distinctions, trifling in themselves yet of the greatest importance as fostering regimental pride and as recalling specially gallant services in the old wars. The officers of the 7th Hussars and the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry wear linen collars with their undress uniforms. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers have a bow of black velvet (called a " flash," this being an obsolete slang word for " wig ") sewn to the back of the collar - a survival of the old-fashioned method of tying the hair in a club queue. The officers of certain regiments, in memory of severe losses, wear a black line in their gold lace. To commemorate Culloden the sergeants of the Somersetshire Light Infantry wear their sashes over the left shoulder as officers used to do. Until after the South African War the only fusilier regiment that wore plumed busbies was the Northumberland Fusiliers; now, however, all fusiliers wear a hackle (in the order of regiments shown in the table: red and white; white; primrose; white; white; grey; green; white and green; blue and green). The (28th) Gloucestershire regiment wears two badges on the helmet, to commemorate its having fought facing both ways, ranks back to back, at Alexandria in 1801.

Indian Native Army

The uniforms of the Indian army vary infinitely in details, owing to the different methods of tying the turban, &c., practised by different castes and tribes, and to the strictly regimental system of clothing and equipping the soldier. But the infantry, except the Gurkha Rifles, have tunics of similar pattern, viz. long skirted, without collars, and (if scarlet) with round cuffs, flaps and broad edgings on the front of the tunic of the facings colour. The trousers are dark blue and wide, and spats are worn with them (Plate III., line 3, No. 4). Gurkhas (Plate III., line 3, No. 5) are dressed as Rifles, except that their head-dress is a round cap. The pattern of cavalry uniform, which is generally followed whatever the colours and regimental distinctions, is shown on Plate III., line 3, No. 3.

In the main the dress of the native cavalry is dark blue. Five of the regiments wear red, the three Madras corps French grey, the Hyderabad and one other green, and only three drab. One regiment, the 1st, wears a yellow uniform, being perhaps the only one so clothed in the world.

Native artillery units wear blue with red facings, native engineer units, red with blue facings. The ' Queen's Own Corps of Guides wears drab with red facings.

The greater part of the infantry wears, in full dress, scarlet, the various facings following no discoverable system, although certain groups of regiments have a regular colour scheme.

A large number of regiments are clothed in drab, and there are Gurkha and other rifles in green; the remarkable Baluchi uniforms (green and drab with baggy red trousers) are unique in the British Empire.

The regiments of the Australian Commonwealth, with certain exceptions, wear khaki or drab with white facings and emu plume in the cavalry and green facings in the infantry. The same principle is carried out in other services, the intelligence corps having pale blue, the signal corps royal purple, the medical chocolate and the veterinary maroon facings. The artillery, engineers and army service corps are dressed as the corresponding branches of the home army. All the Canadian forces are uniformed very similarly to the British army. The 6th Dragoon Guards and the 13th Hussars are the models for the cavalry, and line, rifle, highland and fusilier uniforms are all represented, the dark rifle uniform predominating. In South Africa, as in Australia, khaki has become almost universal.

France The Revolutionary simplification of the varied uniforms of the Ancien Regime has endured to the present day. Even in the various waves of flamboyant military fashions they have remained simple in the sense that all troops of an arm or branch were dressed practically alike, with none of the regimental differences that England, deferring to tradition, and Germany, systematizing the ordre de bataille to the last detail, preserved and introduced.

The line infantry wears a single-breasted blue tunic with red collar, a small red flap on the cuff, red epaulettes and gold buttons. The number of the regiment appears on a blue collar patch. The cap is a madder-red kepi, with blue band, brass grenade, tricolour cockade and a ball. The trousers are loose, madder-red, and worn either with shoes and gaiters or with high ankle boots. The men usually march in the blue double-breasted greatcoat, under which is worn the plain veste (Plate III., line 2, No. 1). With this is worn a kepi without ornaments and having the number in front. The officers wear a tunic of a different blue, almost black; otherwise, except for rank badges, it is sirrilar to the men's; epaulettes and braid, gold. The officers' full dress kepi has a golden ball and the trousers have a black stripe (Plate III., line 1, No. 1).

The chasseur battalions (Plate III., line 2, No. 2) wear the same pattern of tunic as the line, but the collar and cuffs are self-coloured, the epaulettes green, the trousers grey-blue with yellow piping, kepi dark blue with yellow edgings and green ball, buttons, &c., silver. Chasseur officers are dressed as the men (with the usual officer's blue-black tunic), but have a drooping green plume. The Alpine battalions wear a plain dark blue jumper and soft cap (beret ) or tamo'-shanter. Under the jumper, which is usually half-open, they wear a light blue shawl round the waist. The trousers are wide, dark blue knickerbockers, and puttees are worn with them.

The Zouaves (Plate III., line 1, No. 8) wear dark blue red-trimmed jackets and waistcoats, with a light blue cummerbund, baggy red trousers with blue piping and dark blue or white spats. The headdress is a red tasselled cap (chechia). The " false pockets " round which the braid circles on the front of the jacket are red for the 1st, white for the 2nd, yellow for the 3rd and blue for the 4th Zouaves. Zouave officers have the ordinary officer's tunic, with blue-black collar and gold ornaments, but wear it unbuttoned (showing a red cummerbund) and without epaulettes. The cuff is pointed and slit almost to the elbow, the edges of the slit being gold laced according to rank and having a scarlet lining. Only the service kepi is worn. The red trousers have the usual black stripe, and are cut very wide.

The Turcos are dressed similarly to the Zouaves, but with light blue jackets and waistcoats, light blue or white trousers, red cummer bund and yellow braid; the four regiments are distinguished among themselves in the same way as the four Zouave units. Their officers have a light blue tunic with yellow collar, Zouave cuff, red trousers with light blue stripe; kepi red, with light blue band.

The Foreign Legion is dressed as line infantry, with certain minor distinctions. The colonial (formerly marine) infantry wears a double-breasted tunic with gold buttons, blue grey trousers and dark blue kepi with red piping, plain collar and cuffs. The full dress cap badge is an anchor.


Cuirassiers (Plate III., line 1, No. 3) wear dark blue tunics with red collars and cuff-flaps, silver ornaments and steel cuirasses, steel helmet with brass ornaments, black horsehair tail, red " shaving-brush " at the front of this tail and another shavingbrush, of colour varying with the squadron, &c., on the left side of the helmet. The trousers are'red (officers with dark blue stripes, men with blue piping). The number is borne on a blue collar patch. The officers wear silver, the men red, epaulettes. Undress cap as infantry, silver-laced for officers.

Dragoons wear blue tunics (the black-braided " dolman, " shown on Plate III., line i, No. 6, is gradually passing out of the service) with white collars and cuff-flaps, silver buttons, &c., helmet as for cuirassiers, but without the " shaving-brush " at the front of the horsehair tail, trousers red with dark blue stripe. The men wear shoulder-cords instead of epaulettes, and the officers only wear their silver epaulettes on ceremonial duties. The number appears on a blue collar patch. Undress cap as for cuirassiers.

Chasseurs d cheval (Plate III., line 1, No. 7) wear a light blue tunic or dolman (the latter black-braided) with silver buttons, red collars and cuff-flaps. The trousers are red with light blue piping (two broad and one narrow light blue stripes between for officers). The full dress head-dress is a light blue shako, with dark green plume in full dress, coloured ball in other orders. The badge on the shako is a brass bugle. The kepi is red with light blue band and piping (silver braid for officers). Number on the collar.

Hussars are dressed as chasseurs a cheval, but with white braiding on the dolman instead of black, and self-coloured collar. The badge on the shako is an Austrian knot.

The Chasseurs d'Afrique wear the half-open veste, which is light blue with yellow collar and edgings. The cuff is slit in the Zouave style, the visible lining being yellow. A red cummerbund is worn. The shako is almost invariably worn with a white cover and neck curtain. The trousers are red. Officers as the corresponding chasseur officers in France, but with yellow instead of red collars, &c.

The native Algerian cavalry, the Spahis, wear national costume - red jacket with black braiding, red cummerbund, light blue wide trousers, and red morocco boots. Above this they wear a flowing red mantle of thick cloth, and over this mantle the ample white burnous, which covers the head and shoulders. Their French officers wear a red tunic, with self-coloured collar and cuffs, gold buttons and epaulettes, number with crescent in gold on the collar, gold rings on cuff according to rank, trousers as for the hussars, &c., in France.


The rank and file wear blue tunics or dolmans (more usually, however, the veste). The dolman has black braiding but a red shoulder-cord, and has red collar, with black patch and number, and red pointed cuffs; buttons, &c., gold. The trousers are dark blue, with two broad and one narrow red stripe. The kepi is dark blue, with dark blue band and red ornaments, the full dress cap having a badge, in red, of crossed guns and grenade. Artillery officers wear a black-braided dolman (blue-black) with gold shouldercord and Austrian knot. Their kepi has the artillery badge in brass, gold braid, and a red plume. Plate III., line 1, No. 5 shows an artillery officer serving on the general staff.

Engineers, dark blue tunic with gold buttons, black red-edged collar patches bearing the number in red, black red-edged flap on cuffs; red epaulettes, trousers and kepi as for artillery. Engineer officers have the same tunic as infantry, without facings, and the engineer badge (a cuirass and helmet) on the full dress kepi.

Train (Army Service Corps), blue-grey dolman, black-braided, with red collar, black braid on the cuff, and red shoulder-cord; infantry kepi, officers as officers of the chasseurs ¢ cheval but with (silver) Austrian knot on the sleeve, and red plume. Medical officers have dark blue dolman, red trousers with black stripe, and red collars and cuffs. Their distinctive marks are a whole red kepi (with gold braid), a white armlet with the red cross, Aesculapius' staff on the collar, gold-laced shoulder-strap, and a curious pouch-belt which is entirely wrapped in a red cloth cover that buttons over it.

Generals wear in full dress the uniform shown in Plate III., line 1, No. 4, with some distinctions of rank. In undress they wear a dark blue jacket with black braiding, the black Austrian knot on the sleeve carrying the silver stars of rank; trousers red with black stripe; kepi red, with a blue band covered by gold, oak leaf lace. General staff officers (see Plate III., line 1, No. 5) wear their regimental uniform, with gold or silver aiguillettes, and on the collar, instead of the regimental number, the thunderbolt badge of the staff, the badge or number being removed also from the kepi. Their special distinctions are the armlet and the plume, which vary according to the staff to which the officer belongs.

Badges of Rank. - General officers (on the epaulette or on the Austrian knot), one silver star for general of brigade, two for general of division. Other officers (rings on the cuff and kepi band. or strands of braid on the Austrian knot), i for sub-lieutenant, 2 for lieutenant, 3 for captain, 4 for commandant, 5 (3 gold and 2 silver) for lieutenant-colonel, 5 for colonel (Plate III., line 1, figs. i and 5). Epaulettes: sub-lieutenant, i with fringe on right shoulder and I scale on left; lieutenant, fringed on left and scale on right should

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Uniforms'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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