British Uniforms in the Victorian Era

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
#1
What are some good sources on this subject? I have a book that illustrates the Highland regiments of the 19th Century in some detail, but I have less information available on other units in the British Army of this period.

I've seen illustrations of the British soldiers in New Zealand (during the Maori Wars) wearing blue uniforms, yet elsewhere I see Victorian soldiers depicted in khaki uniforms or as 'redcoats' - what was the significance of the blue uniform? Was it for naval units, or was it used solely by the units in New Zealand?
 

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,339
U.K.
#4
AFIK blue serge jackets were only ever issued to British line infantry in New Zealand in the 1860's because scarlet stood out too much against the background vegitation. I'll look this up and get back to you.
 

bartieboy

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
6,616
The Netherlands
#7
I got a great book on this called battledress, it encompasses an incredible amount of uniforms. If you remind me on it ill send the images to you
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
13,541
Navan, Ireland
#8
Btw was red not chosen as colour because it was so cheap?
Yep and in the hot African sun it would of turn a brown colour.

In the Napoleonic wars it was noticeable how scruffy British troops were to their continental counterparts-- Wellington didn't care as long as his troops were different and so could be identified functional was fine. However the 'experts' in London loved the smart appearence of French troops so copied their uniforms -- very dashing and very stupid.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,213
South of the barcodes
#9
What are some good sources on this subject? I have a book that illustrates the Highland regiments of the 19th Century in some detail, but I have less information available on other units in the British Army of this period.

I've seen illustrations of the British soldiers in New Zealand (during the Maori Wars) wearing blue uniforms, yet elsewhere I see Victorian soldiers depicted in khaki uniforms or as 'redcoats' - what was the significance of the blue uniform? Was it for naval units, or was it used solely by the units in New Zealand?
Traditionally speaking its red for infantry, green for the rifles, blue for cavalry and artillery but thast only for government forces.

as mentioned before theres cases where the marines and others used blue but theres also local militia forces, yeomanry and other locally raised units who could invent their uniforms on the spot depending on the vanity, sanity and taste of their founder.
For example coastal artillery militias wore black, others in the cavalry wore whatever they could get away with, then you have foreign national troops particularly in India who wore everything from red, white, yellow and gold lacing, usually all at the same time if they could.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,213
South of the barcodes
#10
Yep and in the hot African sun it would of turn a brown colour.

In the Napoleonic wars it was noticeable how scruffy British troops were to their continental counterparts-- Wellington didn't care as long as his troops were different and so could be identified functional was fine. However the 'experts' in London loved the smart appearence of French troops so copied their uniforms -- very dashing and very stupid.
And then after the Franco-Prussian war everything French was out of fashion and everybody went Prussian.

Anybody who says Imperial uniform policy was about functionality have been hitting the Chota pegs too hard, its all about showing off fashion and the wealth to make your men look like toy soldiers.
 

Similar History Discussions