The sabretache was a centuries old piece of military equipment. Hungarian and Bavarian hussars carried them in the latter half of the 17th century. The traditional hussar uniform was tight and generally had no pockets so a leather wallet for papers and other small items, hanging from the sword belt, was useful and practical. It was not surprising that such an item would be dressed up with cloth coverings bearing regimental or heraldic devices. German and Russian hussars wore them right up to 1914.

In the latter part of the 19th century, most British officers dressed for mounted duties carried a sabretache in black or red Russia leather. In Dragoon and Lancer regiments metal regimental devices were placed on the face, for staff and departmental officers the Royal monogram was worn while, except for Rifle regiments, the infantry’s was plain black.

The Hussars, however took the sabretache to an art form with coloured cloth faces richly embroidered in gold lace and carrying battle honours and mottoes. Like pouches, drum banners and shabracques, it was another place to proclaim a regiment’s individuality. Although new patterns were produced when additional battle honours were awarded, the style and form remained the same from the 1860s. As with pouches and other embroidered items, crowns, monograms and laurel leaf design varied depending on the manufacturer and often the sabretache worn by an officer in the 1870s was different in detail to that purchased twenty years later.

However magnificent these unique accoutrements were, they were finally abolished (along with much other gold laced embellishments) in 1902.

Measurements for sabretaches are in inches with top width first, lower width second and depth third. 

The 3rd (King's Own) Hussars

The scarlet faced sabretache was edged in herringbone lace with central scarlet stripe. Beneath the monogram was a leaping horse in silver within the garter under which on a blue scroll, edged gold was the motto “Nec Aspera Terrent”. Around and below this was a large spray of laurel leaves upon which were eleven battle honours. On the left from the top, SALAMANCA, TALAVERA, CABUL 1842, FEROZESHAH, PUNJAUB. On the right VITTORIA, PENINSULA, MOODKEE, SOBRAON, CHILLIANWALLA and on the bottom, GOOJERAT.
It was carried from 1861 to 1902. 

9" x 11 1/2" x 12 1/4

The 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars

Identical to the 3rd Hussars, except that instead of the horse underneath the monogram was a 4 over H. On the laurel leaves were 13 battle honours - Above the 4 were DETTINGEN, TALAVERA, ALBUHERA. On the left from the top were SALAMANCA, TOULOUSE, AFGHANISTAN, ALMA & INKERMAN. On the right, VITTORIA, PENINSULA, GHUZNEE, BALACLAVA & SEVASTOPOL.

8" x 10 3/4" x 12

The 7th Queen's Own Hussars

Scarlet faced with the Queen’s Own cypher since at least 1822, this regiment’s sabretache had changed little in design since then.

8 1/2" x 12" x 13"

The 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars

SSurrounded on all four sides by “shamrock” pattern lace, the scroll beneath the crown bears the motto “Pristinae Virtutis Memores” in gold on gold background. The monogram is, unusually, in silver surmounted by the Royal Crest beneath which was the Irish Harp with silver strings. There were four battle honours either side of the harp on a spray of shamrocks. On the left – LESWARREE, ALMA, INKERMAN CENTRAL INDIA. On the right – HINDOOSTAN, BALAKLAVA, SEVASTOPOL, AFGHANISTAN. This was the fourth and last pattern introduced after 1880.

8 1/2" x 10 1/4" x 13 1/2"

The 10th (Prince of Wales's Own ) Hussars

Because of this regiment's unique pouch belt, they used the same lace surrounding the sabretache as on other appointments including the pill box cap. Above and behind the crown were the Prince of Wales's feathers with the motto "Ich Dien" on scrolls beneath.  On the gold laurel leaves below were six battle honours in gold on a blue ground. PENINSULA, WATERLOO, SEVASTOPOL, ALI MASJID, AFGHANISTAN 1878-9 & EGYPT 1884. Between the two top honours was the Roman numeral "X". This was the last pattern worn by the regiment. 

8" x 11" x 13"

The 11th (Prince Albert's Own ) Hussars
The field of this sabretache was crimson, edged on three sides with the regiments unique diamond and chain lace. Beneath the crown was the regiment’s title on a scroll with laurel leaves above on either side. On the Prince’s gold monogram (studded with silver lozenges) was the emblem on the Arms of Saxony with the motto “Treu und Fest” on scrolls beneath. Beneath the monogram was a silver metal Sphinx with the legend “EGYPT”. Above the Sphinx was the battle honour SALAMANCA and below BURTPORE. On the laurel leaves on the left were PENINSULA, ALMA, INKERMAN and on the right WATERLOO, BALAKLAVA, SEVASTOPOL. All the honour scrolls were in gold on a field of purple. This was the last pattern worn by the regiment.

10" x 11 1/2" x 13 1/2"

The 13th Hussars

The face was of white cloth (described as “buff”) edged with the gold herringbone (light Dragoon) lace with a white central stripe. Below the VR cypher was a circlet of light blue with the motto “Viret in Aetanem” in gold with gold edging. Within the circlet was “13” over “H” also in gold. On the laural leaf sprays either side were the honours PENINSULA & BALAKLAVA on the left and WATERLOO & INKERMAN on the right. Below the circlet were ALMA & SEVASTOPOL. All honours were gold on a light blue field.

8" x 10 1/2" x 12"

The 14th (King's) Hussars

The scarlet faced sabretache was edged with gold herringbone lace with gold central stripe and piping. Beneath the VR cypher was a gold Prussian Eagle badge within a gold laurel wreath. On laurel leaves surrounding the badge were twelve battle honours. On the left, DOURO, FUENTES D’ONORO, VITTORIA, PENINSULA & CHILLIANWALLAH. On the right TALAVERA, SALAMANCA, ORTHES, PUNJAUB & GOOJERAT. Below the badge were the honours PERSIA & CENTRAL INDIA. 

8" x 11 1/2" x 12"

The 15th (The King's) Hussars

The regiment’s Austrian wave lace edged the scarlet faced sabretache. Beneath the crown were two conjoined scrolls with the battle honours EMSDORF & VILLIERS EN COUCHE in gold on a gold field with laurel sprays above and either side. Beneath the scrolls was the Royal crest in gold and proper colours. Behind the crest was a trophy of arms in gold with flags either side, the sword blades in silver. On laurel leaves below were six battle honours. EGMONT OP ZEE & SAHAGUN with VITTORIA & PENINSULA below and at the bottom, WATERLOO. After 1881 the honour AFGHANISTAN was added, but it doesn’t seem to have appeared until late in the century. This was the last pattern worn in Queen Victoria’s reign. In 1902 a pattern bearing the Edward VII crown appeared and although examples exist, it disappeared within a couple of years.

​8" x 13" x 13 1/2"

The 18th Hussars

This was the second of only two patterns carried by the regiment. Below the VR cypher were two sprays of laurel leaves connected by a gold loop upon which was the number “18”. On the left was the battle honour PENINSULA and on the left WATERLOO. 

8 1/2" x 12" x 13"

The 19th (Princess of Wales's) Hussars

The scarlet faced sabretache was edged in herringbone lace with white central stripe. Beneath the VR cypher was a silver embroidered elephant, surrounded by laurel leaves with the battle honour ASSAYE on a scroll above and NIAGARA below.

9" x 11" x 12 1/2"

The 20th Hussars

This was the last of two patterns when the battle honour SUAKIN 1885 was added to the previous honour PENINSULA. This was only the second regiment whose face and central stripe on the lace was crimson. 

9" x 11 1/4" x 12 1/2"

The 21st Hussars

The central stripe on the edging lace was changed from white to French grey in 1884. However, sabretaches with the white stripe were still being worn when the regiment was converted to Lancers in 1897.

8 3/4" x 10 3/4" x 12 1/4"


The sword belt worn by hussar officers was mostly not seen as it was underneath the tunic and other jackets. The belt and slings were, according to regulations, 1¼ inches wide and the lace to be the same of that on the sabretache. For the converted light dragoon regiments and the new ones formed in in 1862, it was of the herringbone pattern lace with coloured central stripe. The lace varied slightly for the 11th Hussars and the 15th Hussars had regular herringbone pattern lace with central stripe. The 7th, 8th, 10th and 15th Hussars had the ends of the belt and sabretache slings decorated with miniature gilt tips as on the pouch belts. In 1896 the 1822 pattern sword was replaced by the 1856 universal pattern worn by other cavalry. At the same time, the sword belt was also abolished and the new web pattern belt was adopted. (See            )


Hussars and light cavalry had carried the 1822 pattern sword with three bar hilt for 60 years and although the chances of using it had receded by the mid-nineties, it was still carried for full dress and undress occasions. More and more, officers on service had been using the 1856 pattern sword [ SEE               ]   . In 1896, officers were ordered to wear the 1856 pattern sword and this was followed by all except the 10th Hussars who retained the 1822 pattern until 1914. The sword knot was the gold and crimson type with acorn. The knots of the 13th and 14th Hussars were plain gold.

The sword used at levees was of the Mameluke style and in most cases bore regimental devices on the hilt and bar. The hilt was made of ivory and the embellishments were gilt. Scabbards were highly decorated and despite regulations, were often handed down through generations and as such, varied in style even within a regiment. The three swords shown from the 10th, 11th and 15th Hussars are excellent examples.


​As in other cavalry regiments, the pouch and Pouch-Belt were an important part of the regimental identity of hussar officers. The pouch was originally designed to contain “writing materials” but for the most part was entirely decorative by the 1880s. Seven of the regiments (the old Light Dragoon regiments and ex-Bengal cavalry) had a black leather pouches with silver flaps ornamented with a gilt device. The silver flaps generally had a decorative border on all four sides, which varied, even within regiments and which depended on the engraver’s design. Differences existed even with embroidered pouches of the six other regiments as some were made not only in Britain, but places as far away as India. Every embroiderer had a different idea about the design of a crown or cypher.

The Pouch-Belt (described as a “Shoulder” belt in the 1900 regulations) was also of regimental design, the same seven regiments (with the silver pouch flaps) having essentially the same belt with different central stripe. The silver buckles, tips and slides plus the chain and picker plates were also the same with differences in engravings around the edges. The regulations from 1883 onward generally describe it as follows: Gold lace of regimental pattern, the width not to exceed 2 Inches. The lining of Morocco leather the same colour as that of the sabretache – Buckle tip and slide and ornaments of regimental pattern in silver except for the 7th, 8th, 10th, 15th and 18th in which they are gilt.

The pouch belt and pouch worn by cavalry regiments survived the drastic changes that came in 1902.

The pouch belts and pouches for the 13 Hussar regiments were as follows:
The 3rd (King’s Own) Hussars
Pouch-Belt: Gold herringbone lace (Light Dragoon pattern) on scarlet Morocco leather backing with scarlet silk central stripe. Silver buckle, tip and slide, silver ornaments with chain and pickers. The Pouch was of black leather with silver flap mounted with a gilt Royal cypher.

The 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars
Identical to the 3rd Hussars.

The 7th (The Queen’s Own) Hussars
Pouch Belt: Gold Vandyked (Austrian Wave) pattern on scarlet Morocco leather backing. Gilt buckle, tip and slide of regimental pattern. No ornaments. Pouch: Scarlet leather with scarlet cloth flap edged with gold tracing cord bearing laurel leaves. In the centre, the cypher of Queen Charlotte (George III’s wife) doubled and intertwined in gold embroidery.

The 8th (King’s Royal Irish) Hussars
Pouch-Belt: Gold Irish shamrock pattern on scarlet Morocco leather backing. Gilt leaf design buckle and slide, tip with Royal cypher. No ornaments. Pouch: Scarlet leather with scarlet cloth flap edged with gold Russia braid. In the centre, a gold harp with silver strings surmounted by the Royal crest all upon the Royal cypher in silver. Below a scroll inscribed “Pristinis Virtutis Memores”. A spray of shamrock leaves on each side upon which are battle honour scrolls. Reading down the left “Leswaree”, “Alma”, “Inkerman” & “Central India”. Down the right “Hindoostan”, “Balaklava”, “Sevastopol” & “Afghanistan”.

The 10th (Prince of Wales’s Own) Hussars
Pouch-Belt: A unique black patent leather belt ornamented with a gilt trellis chain. Gilt buckle, tip and slide of 8th Hussars pattern. Gilt picker plate mounted with silver Prince of Wales’s feathers and lions head chain plate. The chain itself in silver. Pouch: Black patent leather mounted with gilt metal laurel leaf edging on the flap. Gilt metal cypher in the centre surmounted by a silver hooped crown. Upon the cypher, the Prince of Wales’s feathers in silver with gilt coronet.

The 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars
Pouch-Belt: Gold diamond & chain lace (unique to the 11th Hussars) on a crimson leather backing. Special pattern silver buckle, tip and slide, the tip with engraved battle honours on a brass plate. Regimental pattern silver chain and picker plates. The chain ornament was a silver coronet with crimson cap. Pouch. Crimson leather with polished brass flap. Silver metal laurel leaf decoration around the edge. In the centre in silver, Prince Albert’s cypher doubled and intertwined surmounted by a crown. Below it a silver Sphinx with the legend “Egypt”. On the left of the Sphinx, a scroll with “Prince Albert’s”, on the right a scroll with “Own Hussars”. On scrolls above and around the cypher, the following battle honours. “Balaklava”, “Inkerman”, “Alma” and “Sevastopol”.

The 13th Hussars
Pouch-Belt: Gold herringbone lace on white Morocco leather backing with white silk central stripe. Silver buckle, tip and slide, silver ornaments of standard pattern with chains and pickers.
Arranged above and below the chain and picker plates, six scrolls with the following battle honours beginning at the top; “Peninsula”, “Waterloo”, “Alma”, “Inkerman”, “Balaklava”, “Sevastopol”. Pouch: Standard black pouch with silver flap and gilt cypher.

The 14th (King’s) Hussars
Pouch-Belt: Gold herringbone lace on plain Morocco leather backing with gold silk central stripe. Silver buckle, tip and slide. On the silver chain plate a gilt eagle and on the picker plate, the Royal Crest.
Pouch: Standard black pouch with silver flap. Special regimental device in gilt on the flap. The crowned Duchess of York’s cypher (doubled & Intertwined) with Prussian Eagle laid upon it.

The 15th (The King’s) Hussars
Pouch-Belt: Special gold regimental pattern chain lace on scarlet Morocco leather backing. Gilt buckle, tip and slide of 8th Hussars pattern. No ornaments. Pouch: Scarlet leather with scarlet cloth covering on the deep flap. Gold chain gimp edging with Russia braid edging inside. In the centre a trophy of arms with flags at the sides all in gold embroidery with silver blades on sword blades and spear tips. On the trophy the Royal Crest in gold. Above all a gold crown. Around the central motif a spray of laurel leaves upon which are battle honours in gold embroidery on gold scrolls. From top to bottom, battle honours are; “Emsdorf”, “Villiers en Couche”, “Egmont op Zee”, “Sahagun”, “Vittoria”, “Peninsula”, “Waterloo” & “Afghanistan”.

The 18th Hussars
Pouch-Belt: Gold Artillery Wave lace on a scarlet Morocco leather backing. Gilt buckle tip and slide of 8th Hussars pattern. Regimental pattern gilt chain and pickers ornament with gilt chain.
Pouch: Scarlet leather with gold embroidery on the flap. The flap was edged with gold floral lace and in the centre was the Georgian cypher doubled and intertwined with hooped crown above.
Either side of the cypher was a large spray of laurel bearing three battle honours (inherited from the 18th Hussars disbanded in 1821) On the left was “Peninsula”, on the right “Waterloo” and below was “Conamir”.

The 19th Hussars
Pouch-Belt: Standard light dragoon pattern on white leather with central silk white stripe. Standard silver buckle tip and slide with chain and picker ornaments. Between the picker plate and chain plate, a silver elephant with curled trunk. Above the elephant a scroll with the battle honour “Assaye” and below a scroll with “Niagara”. (All from the previous regiment in existence from 1781 as the 23rd Light Dragoons renumbered 19th in 1786, converted to lancers in 1817 and disbanded in 1821). Pouch: Standard cavalry pouch.

The 20th Hussars
The same pouch and pouch-belt as the 3rd & 4th Hussars on crimson Morocco leather backing and crimson silk stripe down the centre.

The 21st Hussars
The same pouch and pouch-belt as the 3rd & 4th Hussars on French Grey Morocco leather backing and French Grey silk stripe down the centre.uch: Standard black pouch with silver flap and gilt cypher.