UNIFORMS, ARMS & EQUIPMENT - HUSSARS
In 1834 the guidons and standards then carried by the light cavalry regiments were abolished and were not restored until the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The regiments of light dragoons, hussars and lancers henceforth turned to their kettledrum banners for displaying their battle honours and the visual representation of their regimental livery. Drum banners were not accorded the honours that were given to standards and guidons of the heavy cavalry or the colours of Infantry. However, their importance was underlined by the fact that they were taken wherever they went, especially on distant stations throughout the Empire.
By 1881 all the Hussar regiments had their own set of banners and as they were not regulated in any way they were able to express themselves as the commanding officer and regimental committees saw fit. Like their brothers in the dragoons and lancers, these banners were often presented by distinguished persons who had an interest in the regiment.
The 3rd (King’s Own) Hussars
In 1743 at the Battle of Dettingen (during the War of Austrian Succession) a set of silver kettledrums from the French Regiment Gendarmerie. It is often assumed that these drums were carried by the regiment in some perpetuity but this is not true. The drums were carried for a while but apparently were lost in a fire and later replaced. The regiment then used a variety of banners for the next hundred years or so. The last (and very plain) ones were described by Ebsworth in the mid1850s. A brand new set of silver drums were bought by the officers in about 1855 and carried the battle honours and badge of the regiment beneath the Royal Arms engraved on the shell. New battle honours were added later and finally, in 1882 the battle honour Dettingen was placed on the drums (140 years after the drums were captured!)
In addition to the drums, the Regiment has a silver collar, to be worn by the Kettledrummer, awarded by Lady Southampton in 1772 and has been so worn to this day.
Note: This writer has not had an opportunity to view either the drums or the collar at close quarters. The illustration above is based on written descriptions and some photographs.
The 4th (The Queen’s Own) Hussars
The banners carried by this regiment in 1881 were presented some time before 1879. The field was crimson with the Royal Arms in the centre and the battle honours displayed either side on a blue and gold scrolls. A former Colonel of the regiment presented them with a new set in 1891 this time on a yellow field matching the busby bag. The battle honours Alma, Sebastopol and Dettingen were added to these banners.
The 7th (Queen’s Own) Hussars
First presented in about 1865 when the regiment was awarded the battle honour “LUCKNOW”, these banners were carried by this regiment for about seventy years. Some battle honours were added after 1902, but the Victorian Crown and central device remained on them until at least 1932.
The 8th (The King’s Royal Irish) Hussars
This set of banners were carried throughout the period with the addition of the “AFGHANISTAN 1879-80” being made in about 1885. They were not altered again until after the South African War. The banners remained in use for many years with additional honours being added. They remain in the possession of the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars to this day.
The 10th (The Prince of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars
There are not many photographs of the banners carried before 1902. The simple scarlet ones with the Prince of Wales’s feathers in the centre seem to have been used for most of the period. In about 1904 new banners were presented which were of dark blue cloth with the feathers in the centre of a garter, laurel sprays on each side with battle honours along with lozenges on either side carrying the Welsh Dragon and Rising sun. The King Edward Crown surmounted the Garter.
The 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars
The drum banners carried by the 11th Hussars from 1881-1902 first appeared in1857 and were apparently not altered until the late 1930s. Although both left and right banners were identical, the sphinxes on each faced forward.
The 13th Hussars
Although the 13th Hussars had a set of drum banners in the 1850s and 60s there is no photographic evidence of them. The set of banners carried before 1900 first appeared when the regiment returned from South Africa in 1885. In 1904 battle honours of South Africa and Ladysmith 1900 were added. At the same time the VR cypher was replaced by that of King Edward VII, but the QV crown remained.
The 14th (King’s) Hussars
The first set of drum banners with the design shown had no battle honours displayed. They were eventually stitched to the laurel leaves in silver lace. After 1902 battle honours for the South African War were added plus others. The Eagle was replaced by the Garter with royal crest within after 1911.