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British 17th Lancer
Officer Full Dress 1837-1840

  • Sculpted by: Aaron Brown
  • Painted by: Danilo Cartacci
  • Price: $72.95
THE ORGINS OF THE 17TH LANCERS BEGAN IN 1759, DURING THE SEVEN YEARS WAR. THE DECISIVE BATTLE IN THE WAR WITH THE FRENCH IN CANADA OCCURRED AT QUEBEC ON THE 13TH OF SEPTEMBER 1759. AT THIS BATTLE THE BRITISH FORCES, UNDER GENERAL WOLFE, SUCCESSFULLY ASSAULTED AND TOOK THE BESIEGED FRENCH CITY OF QUEBEC. IN THE FINAL STAGES OF THE BATTLE WOLFE WAS MORTALLY WOUNDED. BEFORE HE DIED WOLFE DIRECTED COLONEL HALE, OF THE 47TH FOOT, TO RETURN TO ENGLAND WITH HIS FINAL DISPATCHES AND NEWS OF THE VICTORY AT QUEBEC.
AS WAS NORMAL IN SUCH CASES, THE KING REWARDED THE HARBINGER OF GOOD NEWS. HALE WAS GIVEN LAND IN CANADA AND A COMMISSION TO RAISE ONE OF FIVE NEW REGIMENTS OF LIGHT DRAGOONS. THUS IN 1759 THE 17TH LIGHT DRAGOONS WERE BORN. HALE, STILL IN MOURNING FOR GENERAL WOLFE, CHOSE FOR A BADGE THE DEATH'S HEAD WITH THE MOTTO 'OR GLORY'. THIS MOTTO HAS REMAINED UNCHANGED TO THE PRESENT DAY, CONTINUING AS THE MOTTO (CAP BADGE) OF THE QUEEN'S ROYAL LANCERS.
ALTHOUGH RAISED FOR THE SEVEN YEAR'S WAR, THE 17TH WERE NOT REQUIRED TO SERVE ABROAD UNTIL THE AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.
INITIALLY SEVEN INFANTRY BATTALIONS WERE DEPLOYED TO THE COLONIES BUT WITH THE OUTBREAK OF GENERAL WAR THE NEED FOR CAVALRY WAS REALISED WITH THE 17TH BEING THE FIRST CAVALRY REGIMENT SELECTED. THE ATLANTIC CROSSING TOOK THE REGIMENT TWO MONTHS, ARRIVING AT BOSTON, ONE WEEK LATER THEY WERE PRESENT AT THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL. THEY THEN RE-EMBARKED FOR HALIFAX AND ON TO THE ASSAULT AND CAPTURE OF NEW YORK AND LONG ISLAND. TOWARDS THE LATTER PART OF THE WAR THE 17TH ALSO PROVIDED THE ONLY REGULAR BRITISH ARMY ELEMENT IN TARLETON'S LEGION WITH WHOM THEY FOUGHT UNTIL VIRTUALLY THE END OF THE WAR. IN TOTAL THE 17TH LIGHT DRAGOONS SPENT EIGHT YEARS IN THE AMERICAS. THE REGIMENT HOWEVER DISTINGUISHED THEMSELVES GREATLY IN THEIR FIRST CAMPAIGN. ON 17TH APRIL, 1783, IT WAS CAPTAIN STAPLETON OF THE 17TH WHO HANDED GENERAL WASHINGTON THE FINAL BRITISH NOTICE OF THE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES.
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION OF 1789 WAS TO MARK THE START OF 20 YEARS UNCEASING WAR WITH THE FRENCH. DURING THIS PERIOD THE 17TH SAW ACTION IN THE WEST INDIES, SOUTH AMERICIA AND INDIA.
THE REGIMENT RETURNED TO ENGLAND IN 1823. DURING THEIR PASSAGE HOME THE 17TH TOUCHED AT ST HELENA WHERE THEY DISCOVERED, FROM AN ARMY LIST OF 1822, THAT THEY HAD BEEN RE-DESIGNATED LANCERS. WITH THE SUCCESS OF THE POLISH LANCERS AT WATERLOO IN 1815, THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, THE DUKE OF YORK, DECIDED THAT BRITAIN TOO SHOULD HAVE A CORPS OF LANCERS; THE 17TH HAD BEEN SELECTED ALONG WITH FOUR OTHER REGIMENTS TO FORM THIS CORPS.
ON THEIR RETURN HOME THE NEWLY NAMED 17TH LANCERS WERE EMPLOYED IN A ROUND OF GARRISON DUTIES IN ENGLAND AND IRELAND, WHICH LASTED 30 YEARS.
THE DRESS OF A LANCER OFFICER WAS VERY EXPENSIVE AND MORE ORNAMENTAL THAN PRACTICAL. IN 1828, A NEW LANCE CAP WAS ORDERED AND THE 17TH LANCERS DROPPED THEIR OLD RED AND WHITE PLUME AND REPLACED IT WITH A BLACK COCKTAIL FEATHER PLUME THAT DROOPED 16 INCHES IN FRONT. UPON HIS ACCESSION TO THE THRONE IN 1830, WILLIAM IV, MADE SWEEPING CHANGES THROUGH OUT THE BRITISH ARMY, ONE BEING THAT ALL FIGHTING MEN IN HIS ARMY BE CLOTHED IN GARMENTS OF THE NATIONAL COLOR RED. THIS CHANGE RESULTED IN THOSE REGIMENTS WHO HAD PREVIOUSLY WORN BLUE JACKETS NOW WEARING RED. (ONE EXCEPTION WAS THE ROYAL HORSE GUARDS (BLUES) WERE PERMITTED TO RETAIN THEIR BLUE JACKETS). A FURTHER GREAT CHANGE THAT EFFECTED THE UNIFORM OF THE REGULAR ARMY, WAS THAT THOSE REGIMENTS HAVING SILVER LACE AS A DISTINCTION HAD TO DISCOUNTINUE THE USE OF THIS METAL IN FAVOR OF GOLD. ANY REGIMENT HAVING A BLUE CENTRAL STRIPE TO THE LACE AROUND THE WAIST OF THEIR CAP HAD TO CHANGE TO RED. SO, AT THIS PERIOD THE 17TH LANCER UNIFORM BECAME RED WITH GOLD FACINGS. THE 17TH LANCERS RETAINED THEIR WHITE TOPPED CAP BUT THE FACINGS CHANGED TO GOLD, THE CENTER WAIST STRIPE OF THE CAP WAS CHANGED TO RED. THE LAG-TIME BETWEEN ORDERING THE NEW UNIFORMS AND WEARING OUT THE EXISTING GARMENTS MADE IT POSSIBLE THAT THE ISSUE OF THE RED COATEE DID NOT TAKE PLACE FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS. IN 1837, WILLIAM IV DIED AND HIS NIECE VICTORIA CAME TO THE BRITISH THRONE. HER DESIRE WAS TO PLEASE THE ARMY REGIMENTS, THEREFORE IN 1840 THE 17TH LANCERS WERE ALLOWED TO CHANGE THEIR UNIFORM JACKET BACK TO BLUE, THE TWO PANT LACE STRIPES BECAME WHITE AND THE CENTRAL STRIPE ON THE LANCE CAP WAS CHANGED TO BLUE.
DURING QUEEN VICTORIA'S REIGN, THE 17TH LANCERS WERE TO GAIN FAME AND HONOR IN THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE AT BALAKLAVA 1854.
THE BUST IS BASED ON THE 17TH LANCER CAP WORN BETWEEN 1837-1840 IN THE CRAMER MUSEUM. THE CAP IS PICTURED IN 3 DIFFERENT BOOKS AND IS FEATURED ON THE COVER OF “HEAD DRESS OF THE BRITISH LANCERS” BY DAVID JJ ROWE AND WILLIAM Y. CARMEN



 

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