Allies Soldiering

Brits on horseback

United Kingdom
As a courtesy to British visitors, these pages are written in -tentative- English

British Hussars

It would naturally take some time for the “Hussar craze” to contaminate the United Kingdom after sweeping over the Continent. The dash of attire and behaviour displayed on the Napoleonic battlefields in the service of France certainly made the best impression, and in due time the British Army started changing her Light Dragoon Regiments into Hussars, in dress and in title.

A proud tradition was established, and British Hussars displayed their elegant uniforms both in Society and over the Battlefields of the world. Some dramatic events made the stuff of legend. The Crimean War was a milestone, for the undying glory of the Light Brigade or the subsequent drastic changes in uniform.

Queen Victoria’s Army counted up to 13 Hussar Regiments. I may say that they sported some of the most splendid uniforms of the time. The trademark of the Victorian British Army, Regimental particularities, makes it a pleasure scrutinizing those images of the past, on the lookout for the telltale sign that will eventually give out the sitter’s regiment. Army lists and medal Rolls are the necessary companions of the researcher.

A bit more disturbing is the abundance of territorial Hussars in the Yeomanry Cavalry regiments. Uniformology resources are scarce, but a little thoroughness makes up for that.

“Chase me Ladies, I’m in the Cavalry !”
Portrait of the Young Man as a Hussar
The Regiments
(click on the postcard icons to access the various Regiment pages)
3rd (King’s Own) Hussars 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars 7th (Queen’s Own) Hussars 8th (K.’s Royal Irish) Hussars
10th (P. of W.’s Own) Hussars 11th (P. Albert’s Own) Hussars 13th Hussars 14th (King’s) Hussars
15th (The King’s) Hussars 18th (Q. Mary’s Own) Hussars 19th (Q. Alex.’s Own) Hussars 20th Hussars
21st Hussars
The Cavalry Depôt
When a Regiment was sent to serve overseas, a Squadron would stay in England to do depôt service – training new recruits and horses, to be sent over as reinforcements when needed.
The Cavalry Depôt was reorganized in Canterbury in 1871, and would gather the depôt squadrons of all the Cavalry Regiments on foreign service.
The Cavalry Depôt also served as a Riding School, training the future Regimental Riding-Masters, thus ensuring a certain level of uniformity in the equestrian arts among the various Regiments.
Officers at Canterbury in 1878

Yeomanry Cavalry

Early Yeomanry (territorial volunteer cavalry) uniforms is not as well a covered field as the regular army – but the good news are that most uniforms are quite distinctive. Most Yeomanry uniforms display white / silver lace, as opposed to the yellow / gold of the regulars (though there were, of course, exceptions to a rule that could never be fully enforced).
When faced with a supected Yeoman, first thing is to localize the county where the photographer’s studio was located. That holds the key to most identifications.
The 1898 Army List lists 38 Yeomanry Regiments (not all Hussars, some styling and fitting themselves Lancers or Dragoons), plus two Irish Terrritorial Cavalry units and the London Mounted Brigade.
Here are a few of them, classified by the order of precedence authorised in 1884 by Queen Victoria (when appropriate) :

1. Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry 2. Warwickshire Yeomanry 3. Yorkshire Hussars 4. Sherwood Rangers 5. Staffordshire Yeomanry 8. Cheshire Yeomanry 9. Ayrshire Yeomanry
10. Leicestershire Yeomanry 11.North Somerset Yeomanry 14. Northumberland Hussars 15. South Notts Hussars 16. Denbighshire Hussars
17. Westmorland & Cumberland 18. Pembroke Yeomanry Cavalry
19.Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles 20. Hampshire Carabiniers 21. Royal Bucks Hussars 23. Dorset Yeomanry 24. Royal Gloucestershire Hrs 28. Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry 29. Loyal Suffolk Hussars 30. Royal North Devon Yeomanry
31. Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars 32. West Kent Yeomanry 33. West Somerset Yeomanry 36. 2nd West York Yeomanry Cavalry 39. Lancashire Hussars 3rd County of London (Sharpshooters)
The Lost Hussars
It is not always within my capacity to formally ascertain which regiment a subject belongs to ; your help is more than welcome, if you have any clue thanks for contacting me at
Sergeant in Hull North Somerset Yeomanry ? Cornet  Staff Sergeant Drill Instructor
This is knot a Hussar
Ceci n’est pas un Hussard

Many British units sported uniforms that incorporated  traditional elements of the Hussars’ outfit : Hungarian knots, fur busbies, braided jackets…
It is therefore quite natural to mistake them for Hussars.

Some of them are devoted pages on their own right :
– the Royal Horse Artillery
(click on the image to the left)
-the Indian Army
(click on the image to the right).

A few other ones are presented hereunder.

Royal Horse Artillery The Indian Army
Royal Artillery Royal Engineers Rifle Volunteers Lancers Staff Officer
Recommended Readings
British Hussar Regiments 1805-1914
by AH Bowling
The Mess Dress of the Yeomanry Cavalry 1880-1914
by David J. Knight and Robert J. Smith
The Uniforms of the Imperial Yeomanry, 1901-1908
(the Military Historical Society, 2009)
by David J. Knight and Robert J. Smith
Evolution of the uniform patterns ; this deceiptively small book is packed with information and illustrations ; excellent value. Packed with information and illustrations : photos, drawings and colour plates, including some  reference work on lace and braid patterns ; superb work ! To know how the uniforms of the Yeomanry evolved, between proud traditions and the modernity brought up by the Boer War. Another excellent read on a fast moving era.
Recommended Browsings
Soldiers of the Queen The British Empire
A Beautiful Collection of Period Photographs from “Soldiers of the Queen”.
A very inspirational website – the design of mine owes MUCH to SotQ. Great stuff !
Military history and uniformology ; great reference with lots of scholarly commented pictures. I bookmarked the “Armed Forces” pages but there’s more to the website.

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