Category: national army museum

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A Shamshir for Napoleon at the National Army Museum in London

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Mohamed, a Jemadar of the 5th Bengal Cavalry, 1889.

Oil on canvas by Vereker Hamilton (1856-1931), 1889.

Mohamed was said to have been Head Chaprassie (messenger) to Lord Roberts of Kandahar, during the time the latter was Commander in Chief India (1885-1893). As a troop commander, the rank of Jemadar had no exact equivalent in the British Army. He wears the scarlet alkalak or kurta (long coat) with gold lace, scarlet facings and blue pugri (turban) trimmed with gold of the 5th Bengal Cavalry.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1955-04-21-1

Copyright/Ownership

National Army Museum, London

Location

National Army Museum, Study collection

Object URL

http://www.nam.ac.uk/online-collection/detail.php?acc=1955-04-21-1

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British Pattern 1846 Lance

Enfield manufacture, 1848.

At the time of the Crimean War (1854-1856) lancer regiments used the Pattern 1846 Lance. This type of lance would have been carried by the 17th Regiment of Light Dragoons (Lancers) during the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaklava on 25 October 1854. They were the only lancer regiment involved in the battle. In the spring of 1855 the 12th (Prince of Wales’s) Royal Regiment of Lancers came from India to join them in the Crimea.

The lance is 9ft long (2.74 m), with a wooden staff made from ash, a spear-shaped pointed steel lance head, which is attached to the staff by rivets, and a steel shoe fitted to the base of the staff. A red and white pennant would have been attached near the lance head.

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Equipment belonging to

Major Thomas Everard Hutton, 4th (Queen’s Own) Light Dragoons,

used by him during (or awarded to him for) the Charge of the Light Brigade, Crimean War, 1854. 

Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword

“Hussar” or “Hungarian” saddle, c.1854

Pattern 1846 Light Dragoon Shako

Pillbox forage cap, c.1847-57

Sabretache

Officer’s full dress spurs

Crimea War Medal, 1854-56, with clasps: Alma, Balaklava, Sebastopol

Order of the Medjidie, 5th Class

Thomas Everard Hutton (1821-1896) exchanged into the 4th Light Dragoons in 1847 from the 15th (Yorkshire, East Riding) Regiment of Foot, and was promoted captain in 1852.

Captain Hutton rode in the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaklava (1854). He was shot through the right thigh during the advance of the Light Cavalry Brigade and on returning from the guns he was again severely wounded through the left thigh. His horse was wounded in 11 places and had to be destroyed.

After treatment at Scutari and Malta, Hutton returned to England in March 1855 and received his Crimea War Medal from Queen Victoria at the presentation ceremony on Horse Guards Parade, 18 May 1855. He retired from the Army as brevet-major by sale of his commission in 1857.

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Colonel James Skinner CB, 1st Regiment of Local Horse, c.1836

Oil on canvas by an unknown artist, a copy of the portrait by William Melville, c.1836 (in the vestry of St James’s Church, Delhi).

The Anglo-Indian soldier James Skinner (1778-1841) was the son of a Scottish officer in the East India Company’s service and a Rajput lady. Formerly an officer in the Maratha Army, Skinner raised two cavalry units for the British, later known as 1st and 2nd Skinner’s Horse. Nicknamed ‘The Yellow Boys’ for their flamboyant saffron-coloured uniforms, they were famous for their horsemanship and skill at arms.

Skinner was well rewarded, enabling him to acquire a town house in Delhi and a large estate at Hansi, Haryana. He maintained a close interest in Indian culture and was an important patron of the arts, commissioning a number of paintings recording his life and exploits.

Skinner lived in princely style and liked to be addressed by his Moghul title, ‘Nasir-ud-Daula, Colonel James Skinner Bahadur Ghalib Jang – Most Exalted, Victorious in War’. Although he was brought up as a Christian, his household included a number of Hindu and Muslim wives and mistresses. He built a church in Delhi, but also a mosque and a Hindu temple.

Such a cross-cultural lifestyle had few admirers among the following generations of soldiers and politicians in India. Towards the end of his life, although promoted to colonel and created a CB by the British, Skinner was conscious that his mixed race status had denied him the highest rewards for his military skills and leadership.

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Indian Mutiny and William Hodson Display at the National Army Museum in London

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Native Officers of Ambala, 1850s

Here is a very similar double breasted padded jacket from the National Army Museum, which they say is associated with 9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers, circa 1880.

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Light dragoon pattern shako and plume worn by Cornet C Cazenove, 6th Madras Light Cavalry, 1851 ©.

The 6th Cavalry were originally raised in 1799. The British officers of the Madras Army’s Light Cavalry regiments wore a distinctive French grey uniform that had been adopted in 1818. Their shakos, tunics and overalls closely followed the British pattern.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1963-09-264-2

Copyright/Ownership

National Army Museum, London

Location

National Army Museum, Study collection

Object URL

http://www.nam.ac.uk/online-collection/detail.php?acc=1963-09-264-2

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Home Sweet Home

Charles Martin Hodges (1858–1916)

A corporal of the 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars appears to have just returned home, but the occasion is not quite as cosy as the title suggests. This young couple look grave and there is tension between them, suggesting the title of the painting is ironic, but it is not clear why this is. Perhaps it is the strain of separation caused by army life. There was no system of regular leave in the Victorian Army, although officers could obtain leave of absence in peacetime with relative ease.

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Uniform of Colonel John Wilkie of the 10th (The Prince of Wale’s Own) Royal Regiment of Light Dragoons (Hussars) dated around 1854 on display at the National Army Museum in London

On 17 April 1855 Wilkes’ unit arrived in the Crimea, having been sent from from India, to replace the cavalry lost in the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava along with the 12th Lancers. In the Crimea they were part of the Siege of Sevastopol and the Battle of Eupatoria in the same year they arrived.

Photographs taken by myself