Illustrations of West India Regiment soldiers in uniform, 1812


These images are taken from Charles Hamilton Smith's Costumes of the Army of the British Empire, According to the Last Regulations 1812 (Colnaghi and Company, 1815). They show us how soldiers in the West India Regiments were dressed, and how they compared to other regiments in the British Army in 1812.

What can we learn from the uniforms of the West India Regiments?

The private of the 5th West India Regiment would have been clearly recognised as a British solider. He is wearing the bright red jacket that all other British soldiers wore, and this meant that commanders always knew which troops were which since French soldiers, for example, wore blue jackets. All regiments had very minor differences in their uniform, some had white or grey trousers for instance, but in most respects this private is dressed in a very similar manner to white soldiers, and carries the standard rifle. The uniform of sepoy troops in India was clearly different to that of white troops, with shorts replacing trousers and most troops going barefoot. The uniforms show that the West India Regiments were a part of the regular British Army, unlike Sepoys in India who were employed by the East India Company not the king.

Full title:
Costumes of the Army of the British Empire, According to the Last Regulations 1812
Image / Aquatint
Joseph Constantine Stadler, Charles Hamilton Smith
© National Army Museum
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NAM.1950-11-33-3; NAM.1950-11-33-42; NAM.1950-11-33-42

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