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17th. Lancers Tschapka Helmet


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When we bought this lovely Victorian 17th Lancers helmet, it was not assembled. I am posting now in the hope that Stuart - and other experts -can say if we've got it back in the right order ? The rare helmet plate dates it between 1879 and 1900 - the last Battle Honour being for the Zulu War 1879 (bottom right). The o'r's helmets are a little flimsy, but despite this it has stood up well to the passing years. The officers' version - of which Stuart has one in his collection (I think?) - is more impressive and has feathers instead of the horsetail.

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Hi Mervyn,

a couple of points -

1. the yellow band around the waist of the cap should have a central blue stripe (the 21st Lancers had an all yellow band).

2. the horsehair plume is rather long for an OR's cap but perhaps it is a Sergeant's or Officer's plume (it is a replacement yes?).

The 17th originally had white horsehair plumes and in 1874 adopted black plumes, but in 1883 reverted to white plumes. In 1876 cocks' feather plumes were authorised for levees and Review Order but it was horsehair for all other occasions. And after 1900 the 17th had a white top to the cap - cloth for officers and patent leather for ORs.

I don't think I would attempt to clean up the waist band. At least not without an expert opinion, as too often one can just make things worse. What has caused the stain as quite likely someone on the forum could help.

I would like to see an interior and a rear shot but otherwise you have done a good job of putting this gem back together.

Cheers,

Stuart

Edited by Stuart Bates
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Thankyou everyone for kind comments - and particularly Stuart for advice and posting the officer's helmet. I've been able to print them out -just found out that if you 'right' click it brings the printer up ...

I think it would make an interesting thread to explore the history of Lancer Regt's in the British Army - unfortunately we don't seem to have that many helmet collectors.

I will give a small example of what I mean - from memory, so open to correction . The main Lancers were Polish at the time of the Napoleonic Wars - the British had considered , but, not adopted. Napoleon however, had brought a number of Polish lancer Regt's into his army. During the Battle of Waterloo, Wellington ordered our heavy cavalry to attack the lines of French Artillery which were causing many casualties. They charged , across muddy ground and were quite succesful in their attack on the guns - however, the Polish lancers were called-up and our men retreated. The problem was that our horses were now tired and the mud hindered them - when the Poles charged our men were targets and most of the Royal Scots were killed - many with lances to the back. This tragic loss caused the War Office to reconsider and a number of light cavalry regt's were transformed into Lancers. Which is why they don't have the long list of battle Honours earlier regt's. have.

Anyone feel like doing some research ??

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My reading indicates that the Heavy Cavalry charged to save the day for Picton's Division which was being roughly handled by D'Erlon's infantry and the French Cavalry but they also disabled 15 guns of a French Battery which had done so much damage to the Allied troops.

The Heavy Cavalry charge was composed of 2 Brigades; the Union and the Household -

Union Brigade -

The Royals - 89 killed and 107 wounded

2nd North British Dragoons - 99 killed and 97 wounded. In 1866 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) and in 1877 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)

6th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Dragoons - 73 killed and 116 wounded

Household Brigade -

1st Life Guards - 18 killed and 42 wounded

2nd Life Guards - 17 killed and 40 wounded

Royal Horse Guards - 17 killed and 60 wounded

King's Dragoon Guards - 43 killed and 104 wounded

Ok better get on with Lancers.

Edited by Stuart Bates
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According to David J.J. Rowe, Major John Floyd of the 21st Light Dragoons acquired a few lances in 1780 and made his men practise with them. However, his enthusiasm apparently led nowhere.

Rowe also states that in 1793 the British employed foreign lancers (Polish), who formed the Uhlans Britaniques and served in the Flanders Campaign. They were disbanded in 1798.

In 1816 the following Light Dragoon Regiments were converted to Lancers 9th, 12th, 16th, 19th and 23rd, although the 19th was disbanded in 1821 and the 23rd in 1817. However, the 3 remaining Lancer Regiments were joined by the 17th in 1822 and the reformed 5th (or Royal Irish) Regiment of Dragoons in 1858.

It is noteworthy that these regiments were designated as Light Dragoons (Lancers) until 1861 when the appellation Light Dragoons was dropped.

The last Lancer Regiment was formed when the 21st Hussars converted in 1897 and made the famous cavalry charge at Omdurman in 1898 suffering casualties of 21 killed and 50 wounded.

That should start the ball rolling Mervyn but here is a Busby to the 21st before they converted.

Stuart

Why do attachments display so large? How does one make them a reasonable size?

Edited by Stuart Bates
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I forgot to add that the 16th have battle honours for the Peninsular Campaign and Waterloo even though my information clearly states that they were converted from Light Dragoons in 1816.

Now there is an area for research!

Here is my 16th Lancers Officer's lance cap clearly showing the battle honours mentioned above (just joking).

I don't know why Photobucket corrupted the photo so will try again.

16thLancersOfficerspre1902-5800.jpg

Edited by Stuart Bates
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Having done some more checking the 9th, 12th and 16th all have battle honours from the Peninsular Campaign and Waterloo. This makes sense as honours awarded when they were Light Dragoons would not have been dropped on conversion to Lancers. It would have caused a mutiny :mad:

The 19th and the 23rd were in Lower Canada in 1815 and various stations in India, Ireland and England during the Peninsular Campaign.

Stuart

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Stuart - this information and detail is what a forum is all about - not just the pictures - but also, the reason for changes and progress. I had no idea that we had ever tried a Polish Lancer unit - they were always regarded as the greatest horse cavalry in Europe and were responsible for turning the Turks back at the gates of Vienna. They used large horse axes as well as sword and lances and were greatly feared. What a pity the British didn't persist with them.

Thankyou for doing this research - particularly on the changes and amalgamations with regiments. We could really expand this thread by looking at the individual campaigns of each regt.. I will volunteer (better than a 'pressed' man ! ) to research the 17th Lancers in the 1879 Zulu War. They were the only cavalry unit - apart from Gen. Chelmsford's mounted guard of a squadron of 1st. Royal Dragoon Guards.

Any other members willing to pick a subject to investigate ?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I allocated the 16th Light Dragoons at Waterloo for research, but when I started I unearthed some lovely information about and additional photos of the Wolseley helmet. That takes priority as I want to get the book to the printers at least by September.

But I will get back to the 16th soonish. As you say it's more than just posting a few photos. Although I see my original 16th Lancers is back! Must be a problem with Photobucket, yes?

Stuart

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  • 4 years later...

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