A superb example of the extremely rare Regency period Officers Shako of the 17th Light Dragoons pattern 1812. See plate 19 “Head dresses of the British Army” – Cavalry by W. Y. Carman (pictured above).
The condition of this helmet is outstanding and possibly never worn. The Regiment history states “1812 .. the old helmet disappeared and the felt shako took its place”. After service in India from 1808 having landed in Calcutta with 790 strong, the regiment lost through disease, invalided and killed in action 26 Officers and 796 men but received numerous reinforcements during this period. It returned home with no less than 200 all ranks. On arriving in St. Helena in 1823 they learnt for the first time that they had been redesignated as a Lancer Regiment. It is also recorded that “the shako was discarded forever and a lance cap of the more orthodox shape introduced in its place”.
Close examination of this helmet shows almost no wear with even the complete chin strap in perfect condition. The maker’s placement of a Coat of Arms indicates a Scottish maker as the main Lion and Unicorn are reversed with first and fourth quarter of the shield depicting the Lion rampant of Scotland.
Being over 200 years old, Shakos of this quality virtually never survive. A truly magnificent example to an extremely popular regiment.
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