UNIFORMS, ARMS & EQUIPMENT - HUSSARS

HKETTLE DRUMS & BANNERS

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 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.

TO BE CONTINUED