P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

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GLOSSARY

armoured equipped with armoured cars or tanks; cavalry regiments that converted permanently from horse to armour between 1928 and 1942.

bag coloured cloth sewn to the top of a fur busby and falls to one side of it, originally on the top of a hussar's shako.

balmoral (or tam o' shanter) flat-topped bonnet, with a central tourie or pom-pom, worn by Scottish regiments in sendee dress from 1915.

battalion operational unit of an infantry regiment, composed of several companies, under the command of a lieutenant-colonel.

battery a permanent unit of an artillery regiment, from the collective noun for guns (usually six per battery). Approximately 100 gunners under the command of a major.

battle honour a public commemoration of a victory awarded to a regiment or battery by an army committee for display on its standard, colour, guidon, drums or badge.

bearskin a cap covered with the fur of bear, traditionally the Canadian Black bear. Worn by foot guards in full dress, fusilier officers prior to the First World War and grenadiers between 1768 and 1837.

bonnet a thick woollen cap worn in Scottish regiments from the eighteenth century.

braid tape used to strengthen hats and buttonholes in the eighteenth century.

breeches short trousers fastened just below the knee.

busby a fur or sealskin cap made to fusilier, hussars or rifles specification. Named after its original maker, W. Busby of the Strand.

cap headgear without a brim.

captain commissioned officer in charge of a company or troop.

cartouche cartridge (ball and powder) ammunition for firearms.

caubeen a voluminous beret-like bonnet traditional to Ireland, adopted by Irish regiments from the 1920s.

cavalry troops on horseback, from the Italian cavalleria which derived from the Latin caballus (horse).

chaco name given to the shako after 1844.

Chindits Gen Wingate's long-range penetration infantry, formed for the jungle campaign in Malaya, 1942.

coatee short jacket of the first half of the nineteenth century, with or without tails.

colonel field officer in overall command of a regiment.

colours revered silk 'flags' carried in infantry battalions, originally raised up in battle to show scattered soldiers where to regroup.

colour belt the broad 'sash' worn by subalterns with a small 'bucket' at its base for the pikestaff of a colour to be carried in.

commissariat supplier of stores and provisions for an army.

corps a body of soldiers of indeterminate strength; a support organisation (logistic, medical, admin, etc.) of varying strengths, the largest boasting several regiments.

coveralls common overalls or boiler suits worn when working on greasy vehicles.

cuirass body armour worn by cavalrymen in the seventeenth century and Household Cavalry troops in full dress from 1820 to the present day.

cypher interlaced initials, usually of a monarch, originally written as part of a secret code.

dicing a pattern of coloured squares normally worn as a band on Scottish caps.

doublet jacket with flaps or skirts, usually found in Scottish uniforms.

dragoons heavy cavalry named after a short musket of the sixteenth century called a dragon from the flame and smoke it belched out when fired. Early dragoons were infantry mounted on poor-quality horses for quick transportation to the enemy, where they would dismount to fire. Towards the end of the seventeenth century dragoons would be grouped with the cavalry in battle and thereafter quickly evolved as cavalry proper.

dragoon guards a title invented in 1746 to preserve the status of the regiments of horse that were relegated to dragoons for reasons of economy.

East India Company see Honourable East India Company.

ensign lowest commissioned infantry officer rank given the honour of carrying one of the battalion colours, which were originally called ensigns.

facings the coloured lining of a uniform coat revealed when the collar, cuffs, lapels and skirts were turned back in the eighteenth century. The word was applied to cuffs and collar of jackets from 1800.

fencibles regular regiments that were embodied for the course of a war.

field officer senior rank of commissioned officer.

flank company grenadier and light companies that used to take post on the flanks of a battalion in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

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