Sergeant, Light Company 1815

The famous Waterloo shako, seen on this sergeant, was introduced in 1812 along with many other uniform changes, mostly in the cavalry. The body of the shako was quite low compared with the earlier pattern but the false front gave an impression of height. The brass front plate was of similar design for most of the infantry but the Guards regiments incorporated their badges into the design, in the case of the 1st Guards it was a rayed star. The Light Company had a stringed bugle horn badge above the plate and a green plume on the left-hand side of the head-dress. The shako was made of felt and card so needed to be covered with an oilskin most of the time on active service.

The sergeant's jacket buttons down to the waist and has short tails. The button loops are gold for sergeants, white for lower ranks. His chevrons are gold and, in this illustration by Brian Fosten, on both arms. Perhaps this was the case with light companies but in general, at this time rank chevrons, which had only been introduced in 1803, were sewn on the right arm only. See Sergeant, Grenadier Company 1816. By this time, the trousers of the 1st Guards were grey. The sword/bayonet belt has a whistle and chain attached. This was a feature of light infantry officers and sergeants. He carries a flintlock musket whereas battalion and grenadier company sergeants carried a pike.

Uniforms | Regimental Details

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by Stephen Luscombe