British Foot Guards Rank Chart

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British Foot Guards Rank Chart

Post  wfrad on Mon 19 Sep 2011, 9:04 pm

A brief description of the ranks;
Colonels, Lieutenant Colonel and Majors wore two epaulettes with bullions, on each epaulette strap was the Royal Crown and regimental star.
Captains also had two epaulettes with only the regimental star on the strap.

Captains of Grenadier and Light Infantry companies had two epaulettes over the wings, additional to the regimental star would be either a bugle horn for infantry, or grenade for grenadier.

Lieutenants and Ensigns had one epaulette worn on the right shoulder, grenadier and infantry officers would had a wing on each shoulder with either a bugle horn or grenade.
Adjutants wore an epaulette with bullion on the right shoulder and laced strap on the left, both had the regimental star on the strap.

Sergeant Majors wore four gold lace chevrons on dark blue cloth.

Colour Sergeants [1813] in the guards managed to ignore regulation patterns and came up with their own version of the rank badge,
Three gold lace chevrons on dark blue cloth with crimson Kings Colour, placed upon the chevrons with crown above the colour and crossed swords below the colour.
Each battalion badge differed according to their own regimental colours.
Sergeants and Drum Majors had three gold lace chevrons place on blue backing.
Corporals had two white chevrons on dark blue backing.

NCO ranks become a little muddied, for example,
Chosen Man {Senior Private} and Lance Corporal are mentioned but I believe never worn. and There also seems to be some confusion as to grenadier and light companies wearing stripes on both arms as in the line regiments, there is little evidence of this as far as I can tell, but I'm not an expert so just for the sake of argument I've shown both sleeve for Inf and Grenadier even though I'm sure this was not the case in general.
Quarter Master Sergeant, the general rule for line regiments would be white chevrons for the QMS, but since ranks of sergeant and above in the guards wore gold, stands to reason the QMS would have gold chevrons also, this again I stand to be corrected on.

Finally I have to thank Garth Thompson from the Commonwealth Badge forum, for allowing me to use some of his fine Victorian Badges for a reference point...
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Last edited by wfrad on Mon 19 Sep 2011, 9:49 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correction)

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British Line Regiment Ranks 1813

Post  wfrad on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 7:06 pm

Again this is just a basic outline, there are so many variations of design between regiments it would take up a whole book just on the wings lace patterns alone.
Badges should be the opposite colour to the lace, the rank of Sergeants and above would be of silver or gold, white for Quartermaster Sergeants.
There is also mention of Drum Majors wearing a gold crown above three gold chevrons on each arm [Society for Army Historical Research special publication No 6] while Osprey MAA119 shows on the rank chart a Drum Major having four chevrons.
The order of 1807 regarding Band Masters doesn't mention dress but the order of 1802 according to the Historical Research publication has the Drum Major as being another Sergeant.
Also as late as 1830 there's illustration still showing Drum Major's with three Chevrons along with other illustrations showing four chevrons.
Take you pick, I've gone along with three chevrons as stated in the Orders of 1802, saying that when it comes to circumnavigating and generally ignoring orders and regulations, your average British regiment is second to none.
Since the evidence points to Drum Majors rated as sergeants at this point, I've shown three chevrons for the Drum Major. This is not to say that four chevrons were not worn regardless of the regulations and it won't be the first or last time that I'm completely wrong..
Ranks for junior NCO's could be of regimental lace or plain white.
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Re: British Foot Guards Rank Chart

Post  sbintayab on Fri 23 Sep 2011, 7:39 pm

Dear Wilf,
Excellent work.... U r great....
Regards
Shams

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Re: British Foot Guards Rank Chart

Post  sbintayab on Fri 23 Sep 2011, 7:57 pm

Dear Wilf,
There is some confusion on the Cavalry rank.....
Regards
Shams

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Cavalry ranks

Post  wfrad on Fri 23 Sep 2011, 10:31 pm

Hi Shams,
Cavalry ranks are a little different.

At the start of the war a sergeant major wore three chevrons, a sergeant, farrier major and trumper major wore two chevrons leaving the corporal with one.
Also many regiments had additional badges above the chevrons which could also caused confution.

Another example would be a corporal of the 1st Life Guards, although called corporal ranked sergeant and wore three gold chevrons.

Yet another would be a sergeant of the 15th Hussars of around 1800 had two chevrons below a crown [granted in 1801 I believe] and corporals just one chevron.
A few years later changing to four chevrons for sergeant major, three for sergeant with crown and two for corporal.
Hope I have the correct dates!

You can see the waters are a little muddier with regard to the cavalry, and thats just the NCO's!!!

I'm sure someone will have a more detailed breakdown, I haven't started on the cavalry so infomation is patchy from memory.
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Wilf

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Re: British Foot Guards Rank Chart

Post  ChrisF202 on Sat 24 Sep 2011, 1:34 am

Historically no British Army cavalry regiments did but nowadays the two Household Cavalry regiments (the Life Guards and the Blues & Royals) are the only regiments to retain this tradition.

Trooper = Trooper
Lance Corporal = Lance Corporal
Corporal = Corporal
Sergeant = Corporal of Horse
Staff Sergeant = Staff Corporal of Horse
Warrant Officer II = Squadron Corporal Major & Squadron Quartermaster Corporal
Warrant Officer I = Regimental Corporal Major & Regimental Quartermaster Corporal
Second Lieutenant = Cornet
Lieutenant = Lieutenant
Captain = Captain
Major = Major
Lieutenant Colonel = Lieutenant Colonel
Colonel = Colonel

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Re: British Foot Guards Rank Chart

Post  sbintayab on Sat 24 Sep 2011, 3:18 am

Dear
I want to know the insignia of British Cavalry officers.
Regards
Shams

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Cavalry ranks

Post  wfrad on Sat 24 Sep 2011, 1:25 pm

Hi Shams,
According to one book by Digby Smith, ranks for cavalry officer 1800 were..
Colonel; two fringed epaulettes with crown over star.
Lt. Colonel; two fringed epaulettes with crown.
Major: two fringed epaulettes with star.
Captain; one epaulette with two stars.
Lieutenant; one epaulette with star.
Second Lieutenant: epaulette without badge.
The above system was I believe introduced in 1810 for the army in general, which leads me to believe this to be an error.

Another reference for cavalry ranks, Michael Barthorp, states that Light Dragoons epaulettes were alike prior to the order of December 1811, then they were:
Colonel; crown and star.
Lt. Colonel; Crown.
Major; star.
Captains and Lieutenants no badge.
This more or less fits with the changes made for the line regiment changes in1810.

Cavalry regiments information regarding the ranking of officers seems before the end of the Napoleonic wars is patchy at best and mainly taken from paintings which I wonder how much of the information contained in a painting was left to the artists imagination.
Don't quote me, most of this is speculation at best having trawled though numerous books coming up with contradictions left, right and centre...
Personnel preference would be that before 1810 little distinction between most cavalry officers, after 1810 the above.
Sorry Shams not a lot of help but official information prior to 1810/12 is hard to find.

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Re: British Foot Guards Rank Chart

Post  ChrisF202 on Sat 24 Sep 2011, 5:47 pm

Hussar officers also had their own distinctive style of rank insignia as well I believe. IIRC this was also copied by the Royal Horse Artillery.

I have a copy of Franklin's British Napoleonic Uniforms (2008) but unfortunately it only has rank insignia details for the infantry Crying or Very sad

However I think Osprey's Wellington's Army series of Men at Arms books contains cavalry rank insignia so I will check those as well.

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Re: British Foot Guards Rank Chart

Post  sbintayab on Sat 24 Sep 2011, 11:05 pm

Thanks Wilf and Chris......
I think officers of Hussar regiment were not distinguished by insignia.
Regards
Shams

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Cavalry ranks

Post  wfrad on Sun 25 Sep 2011, 12:57 am

Chris,Shams
Had a second look and still unable to come up with a definite answer.
Osprey MAA books do mention ranks but tend to contradict others.
PH Smitherman's Cavalry Uniforms of the British Army show some great illustrations that show no clear ranking, again with Mollo's Waterloo Uniform 1 Cavalry, good illustrations but no clear illustration or mention of ranking system.
Barthorp's British Cavalry Uniforms Since 1660 states that there was no clear ranking system for officer until the 1811 ranks were implemented.
An order dated 1796 recommending that officer should be visibly different was ignored and no action was taken.
Franklin's British Napoleonic Uniforms states that Cavalry ranks were the same as the Line Regiments.

Still back at square one, I believe no real effort was make to implement the system of officer ranks until around 1812.

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Re: British Foot Guards Rank Chart

Post  ChrisF202 on Sun 25 Sep 2011, 4:54 am

Have you tried Haythornwaite's Wellington's Military Machine? I don't have it but I do have his companion volume on Napoleon's army and if it's similar it should have rank details in the organization section.

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Re: British Foot Guards Rank Chart

Post  martin tabony on Sun 25 Sep 2011, 11:49 am

[quote="ChrisF202"]Historically no British Army cavalry regiments did but nowadays the two Household Cavalry regiments (the Life Guards and the Blues & Royals) are the only regiments to retain this tradition.

Trooper = Trooper
Lance Corporal = Lance Corporal
Corporal = Corporal
Sergeant = Corporal of Horse
Staff Sergeant = Staff Corporal of Horse
Warrant Officer II = Squadron Corporal Major & Squadron Quartermaster Corporal
Warrant Officer I = Regimental Corporal Major & Regimental Quartermaster Corporal
Second Lieutenant = Cornet
Lieutenant = Lieutenant
Captain = Captain
Major = Major
Lieutenant Colonel = Lieutenant Colonel
Colonel = Colonel

I hope you don't mind a slight correction. A capital "t" in The Life Guards please (we don't hang around swimming pools Very Happy ) The Blues and Royals take their name from the nicknames of the regiments they were amalgamated from. The Royal Horse Guards (Blues) and the 1st Royal Dragoons(Royals) when writing about the regiment the abreviation RHG/D id used (this is also on their buttons.)
Anyway the equivalent rank to corporal is "Lance Corporal of Horse".
So worn on the upper arm (called "Corporal by senior ranks and by rank by juniors) In RHG/D all crowns are backed with black cloth in No2 dress.

Lance Corporal = two chevron and a brass crown
Lance Corporal of Horse = three chevrons and a cloth crown
Corporal of Horse = three chevrons and a brass crown

Worn on the forearm.(and all called "Sir" by lower ranks and "Corporal Major" by seniors)

Staff Corporal and Squadron Quatermaster Corporal = four inverted chevrons and brass crown
Squadron Corporal Major (Wo2) = A brass crown ( small for The Life Guards and large for RHG/D)
Regimental Quartermaster Corporal (Wo1) = A large cloth crown surounded by a wreath.
Regimental Corporal Major(Wo1) = The royal coat of arms in cloth.

All officers ranks are as the rest of the army but a 2nd Lieutenant in The Life Guards is called a "Cornet in RHG/D. in The Life Guards officers are called "Sir" by their juniors up to the rank of major then they are called by their rank.

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Cavalry ranks

Post  wfrad on Sun 25 Sep 2011, 11:57 am

Chris
I've tried Haythornwaite's Weapons & Equipment which was of no help regarding ranks.
Also Fosten's British Cavalry June 1815 didn't help.

I have just ordered a copy of Haythornthwaite's Wellington's Military Machine from Amazon, for the exorbitant price of one penny, thought what the hell, at that price if it's falling apart I could put on disc.
So I should have it by Thursday next week at the latest.
Sorry, I've a feeling that it's another dead end.
Wilf

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No further forward

Post  wfrad on Sat 01 Oct 2011, 2:25 pm

Re; Wellington's War Machine, Just had a message to inform me that it was damaged in storage, so they don't wish to sell it in such a poor condition, makes one wonder!
Even after resorting to auction sites, I'm still no further forward as regarding the Cavalry pre 1815.

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