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The Highland Light Infantry cap badges

Article about: The Highland Light Infantry (official abbreviation HLI) was formed during the Childers Reforms of 1881 (which amongst other things created the "territorially" named regiments repla

  1. #1

    Default The Highland Light Infantry cap badges

    The Highland Light Infantry (official abbreviation HLI) was formed during the Childers Reforms of 1881 (which amongst other things created the "territorially" named regiments replacing the earlier system of numbered regiments) by amalgamation of the 71st (Highland) (Light Infantry) regiment and the 74th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot.

    The cap badge of the HLI remained unchanged in design until the 1958 amalgamation with The Royal Scots Fusiliers aka RSF (not The Royal Scots which was a different regiment).

    The only difference to the badges format was that initially it bore the Queens Victorian Crown. It did not include a regnal cypher so when the Kings Crown version appeared in 1901 it continued until HM Queen Elizabeth ascended the Throne in 1953 when a Queens Crown version was introduced followed by the anodised aluminium version of the same badge prior to the 1958 amalgamation with the RSF.

    Shown here are the Kings Crown versions of; Officers badge, ORs (enlisted) white metal and ORs 1915 brass economy. The brass economy in this case appears to have been deliberately blackened using Lamp Black or similar, perhaps by holding it over a smoking oil lamp or even a piece of burning carbon rubber.

    Badges in the first two formats (the brass was only meant for WWI but who knows if they were all removed from circulation immediately afterwards) were in use from 1901 - 1953.

    The design consists of the star of the Order of the Thistle with a bugle horn (from the 71st), the Elephant (from the 74th) which represents service in India along with the battle honour Assaye ( India 23 Sep 1803) also from the 74th. In the centre is the monogram HLI. At the top is the relevent sovereigns crown which accross the time line was; QVC, KC then finally QC.

    The officers badge is cast from silver and gilt brass in four parts; the star in silver, the crown, monogram and elephant on scroll all in gilt brass.
    The two ORs badges are; die stamped white metal or brass.

    The Highland Light Infantry cap badgesThe Highland Light Infantry cap badgesThe Highland Light Infantry cap badgesThe Highland Light Infantry cap badges

    Regards

    Mark
    Last edited by Watchdog; 06-08-2021 at 09:37 AM. Reason: Typo
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

  2. #2

    Default

    Here are two more to illustrate how similar earlier and later cap badges can be when the Monarch changes but the badge does not contain a regnal cypher or personal monogram;

    The first is as worn by HLI other ranks from the amalgamation in 1881(during the reign of Queen Victoria) to the accession of King Edward the 7th (E VII R) in 1901 when the queens victorian crown was changed to the kings (or Tudor) crown. The kings crown was worn through the reigns of;George V, Edward VIII (doesn't really count IMO) and George VI until 1953 when the present queens (or St Edmunds) crown as shown on the seccond badge here, was adopted with the coronation of Elizabeth II.

    One peculiarity with this regiment is that whilst the Kings crown version was authorised in anodised aluminium (Staybrite) in the early '50s there is as far as I am aware (if anybody knows differently please post it here) no evidence that a queens crown version was ever authorised or produced in anodised aluminium though a white metal version was. The anodised aluminium queens crown badges are at best unofficial badges and are quite common.

    The Highland Light Infantry cap badgesThe Highland Light Infantry cap badges

    Regards

    Mark
    Last edited by Watchdog; 06-15-2021 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Typo
    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

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