Chevrons

Chevrons

In the early 1800’s, the British Army  introduced a new badge of rank for NCO’s. Up until this point, NCO’s had been identified through the use of shoulder knots and epaullettes. Below are transcripts of letters sent from the Clothing Board which not only outline the introduction of chevrons into the army, but also afford the priceless information of how they were to be constructed and worn. There is also a letter which depicts sealed patterns of Corporals and Serjeants jacket sleeves with the chevrons attached being deposited in the Army Comptrollers office, which confirms that all uniforms made for corporals and serjeants would’ve had the chevrons made and attached with the points downwards by the army clothiers, and constructed to the same pattern throughout all units of the infantry.

WO7/33 P.7:

   “Horse Guards, 1st July 1802

Sir,

I am directed by the Commander in Chief to acquaint you for the information of the Clothing Board that His Majesty has been pleased to signify his royal pleasure that the wear of epaulettes and shoulder knots shall be in future discontinued by the non commissioned officers of the foot guards and regiments of infantry and that in lieu there of chevrons made of the lace at present used on their regimentals shall be worn as distinguishing badges in the following manner:

Serjeant Majors                – 4

Quarter Master Serjeants  – 4

All other Serjeants            – 3   

Corporals                          – 2

 

And I am commanded by His Royal Highness to desire, that you will cause the same to be registered in the office of the Comptrollers’ of army accounts immediately communicate to the several army clothiers for their guidance in making up the future clothing of regiments.

I have the honor to be,

Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Harry Calvert

Tho. Fauquier Esq.”

 

WO7/33 P.23

   “Horse Guards, 17th July 1802

Sir,

I have had the honor to submit to the Commander in Chief the proceedings of the General Officers comprising the Clothing Board, held at the Horse guards on Wednesday last the 14th instant and have it in command to signify to you, for the information of the board that His Royal highness perfectly approves of their suggestion respecting the mode of lacing and putting on the chevrons to be in future worn by the Non commissioned officers of the infantry of the army.

I have the honor to be,

Harry Calvert

A.G.

Tho. Fauquier Esq.”

 

WO7/33 P.53

   “Horse Guards, 30th December 1802

Sir,

I have received the Commander in Chiefs directions to send herewith for the information of the Clothing Board, the under mentioned pattern articles of clothing for the infantry of the army, which having received His Majesty’s approbation, are by command of His Royal Highness to be deposited in the office of the Comptrollers of army accounts.

The sleeve of a serjeants coat with chevrons and a privates coat with corporals chevrons, according to the regulations, which directs that they shall be worn on the right sleeve at right angles and extending to within half an inch of the seams, half an inch of the cloth appearing between the bars of the chevrons.

I have the honor to be,

Harry Calvert.

 Tho. Fauquier Esq.”

WO7/33 P.99

   “Horse Guards, 24th May 1803

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose to you the Commander in Chiefs orders respecting the mode of wearing the chevrons adopted by His Majesty’s command, instead of epaulettes and shoulder knots, for the non commissioned officers of the army, and transmit a pattern of the same which has been approved by the Commander in Chief and the General Officers comprising the Clothing Board.

I have the honor to be,

Harry Calvert

A.G.

 

Tho. Fauquier Esq.”

WO7/33 P.100

The Order for Wearing the chevrons  both in the cavalry and infantry

In the heavy cavalry and infantry the chevrons are to be formed of a double row of the lace of the regiment.

In the light cavalry, the chevrons are to be formed of a double row of vellum lace corresponding in colour with the furniture of the regiment.

The bars of the chevrons are to be edged with a very narrow edging of cloth of the colour of the facing of the regiment, and are to be affixed on a piece of cloth the colour of the coat, and worn on the right arm, at equal distances from the elbow and the shoulder.

The number of bars of the chevrons as denoting the rank of the wearer are as follows:

Serjeant Major……………..4

Quarter Master Serjeants.4

All other Serjeants……….3

Corporals……………………2

 

The bars are to be placed at right angles with the points downwards, the distance between the bars is to be half an inch, and their extremities are to extend on each side to within half an inch of the seams on the sleeve.

 

Harry Calvert.

A.G.