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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars


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Hello you all

First and formost my best wishes to all Forum members and their family. Let us hope that you can keep in good health!

I have another question.

We have a colback, presumably from the 18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars, dating from 1914 period. It has an inscription:

" 18 H 10341 6 14 W(broad arrow)D 3 1912 "

Who can explain this to me?

18 H = 18th Hussars?

10341 = service number? --> If this is a service number, who can identify the soldier?

3 1912 = March 1912?

6 14??

Who can help me out?

Thank you very much!



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A busby?

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It's a fur/bearskin hat worn by Hussars, have a look here

My OED (old-fashioned book form, 1989 second edition) says:

colback = calpac [the mod. Fr. form]

and gives the example from an 1871 translation of Erckmann-Chatrian's Waterloo:

We saw nothing but cuirasses, colbacks, sabres

Under calpac:

A felt cap of triangular construction, worn by Turkis, Tartars etc, also an oriental cap generally.

The examples suggest it then has a turban wound round it - then there's this from the Daily News, 1871:

The Persian Ambassador, wearing his fur Kalpack.

The OED doesn't seem to have got as far as putting it together with busbies and Hussars, however.


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busby...? :unsure:

I've now looked up 'busby' in the OED and it says 'derivation unknown'

1. a large bushy wig, obsolete

2. A tall fur cap, with or without a plume, having a bag (generally of cloth, and of the colour of the facings of the regiment) hanging out of the top, on the right side; worn by hussars, artillerymen and engineers, hence, one who wears a busby.

The examples all involve Hussars - not guards , who in my ignorance I thought were the men who characteristically wore busbies.

There's no ref to colbacks or calpacs, but the website Jon refers to clearly shows the meaning overlaps.

Not much help to the original query, sorry, Jan!


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Guards wear bearskins (not bare skins).

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MIC to Arthur Gibbs 10341 - 11th Hussars

later went into 1st Dub Fus 28185

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Jan - does the hat (we'll agree to call it that :thumbsup: ) have the cloth 'bag' on it still (the piece of cloth hanging from the top over one side). if so, what colour is it? Also, is there a plume of any sort (probably horsehair); that, too, would help identify the regiment.

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The colback is not in our permanent display. I haven't seen it yet. The description I'm giving comes from our old catalogue (which has been digitalized somewhere in the 90s.) which is in French. I have tried to translated it, but I'm unsure of some of the words. Some of the words might be a bit funny in combination with some others.

"black bearskin

Flame blue cloth with wool braid daffodil

daffodil badge wool: woolen cord Daffodil

White horsehair plume held rigid by a ring of copper, copper olive

jugular meeting

gold chain on black velvet

On the inside: 18 H 10341 6 14 W(broad arrow)D 3 1912"

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