Original British Crimean War Era 4th Queen’s Own Hussars Officer’s Busby - Saw Action as Part of the Light Brigade

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very beautiful genuine fur bearskin Busby used by the 4th Hussars, and has been ever since the infamous “Charge of the Light Brigade” in the 1850s. The helmet is complete with the symbolic right side “Yellow Bag” and yellow/gold cord surrounding, without chin scales and yellow cockade. Size is approximately a US 7 1/4.

The regiment was designated a light dragoons in 1818, becoming the 4th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons and went to fight at the Battle of Ghazni in July 1839 during the First Anglo-Afghan War.

The regiment next saw action, as part of the light brigade under the command of Major General the Earl of Cardigan, at the Battle of Alma in September 1854. The regiment was in the second line of cavalry on the right flank during the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in October 1854. The brigade drove through the Russian artillery before smashing straight into the Russian cavalry and pushing them back; it was unable to consolidate its position, however, having insufficient forces and had to withdraw to its starting position, coming under further attack as it did so. The regiment lost four officers and 55 men in the debacle. Private Samuel Parkes was awarded the Victoria Cross during the charge for saving the life of a Trumpeter, Hugh Crawford.

The regiment became the 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars in 1861. Winston Churchill was commissioned as a cornet in the 4th Hussars in February 1895.

Makes a wonderful display item!

Busby (Military Headdress)
Busby is the English name for the Hungarian prémes csákó ("fur shako") or kucsma, a military head-dress made of fur, originally worn by Hungarian hussars. In its original Hungarian form the busby was a cylindrical fur cap, having a bag of coloured cloth hanging from the top. The end of this bag was attached to the right shoulder as a defense against saber cuts.

In Great Britain busbies are of two kinds: (a) the hussar busby, cylindrical in shape, with a bag; this is worn by hussars and the Royal Horse Artillery; (b) the rifle busby, a folding cap of astrakhan (curly lambswool) formerly worn by rifle regiments, in shape somewhat resembling a Glengarry but taller. Both have straight plumes in the front of the headdress.

The popularity of this military headdress in its hussar form reached a height in the years immediately before World War I (1914–1918).

It was widely worn in the British (hussars, yeomanry, and horse artillery), German (hussars), Russian (hussars), Dutch (cavalry and artillery), Belgian (Guides and field artillery), Bulgarian (Life Guards), Romanian (cavalry), Austro-Hungarian (Hungarian generals), Serbian (Royal Guards), Spanish (hussars and mounted cazadores) and Italian (light cavalry) armies.

There were some variations in the materials of which cavalry busbies were made. Thus Russian Cossacks of the Imperial Guard used black sheepskin, Guard Hussars dark brown long-haired fur, and line Hussars black lambswool. All but one of the twenty Prussian Hussar regiments wore sealskin busbies dyed in black, while their officers favored dark brown otter-skin. The Brunswick Hussar Regiment No. 17 had the distinction of being issued busbies made of bearskin.

Possibly the name's original sense of a "busby wig" came from association with Richard Busby, headmaster of Westminster School in the late seventeenth century; the later phrase buzz wig may have been derived from busby. An alternative explanation is that the British hussar cap of the early 19th century was named after the hatter who supplied the officer's version—W. Busby of the Strand London. The modern British busby is worn with full dress by the Waterloo Band of The Rifles, the Royal Horse Artillery and ceremonial detachments at regimental expense. In its hussar version it is now made of black nylon fur, although Bandmasters still retain the original animal fur.

The busby should not be mistaken for the much taller bearskin cap, worn most notably by the five regiments of Foot Guards of the Household Division (Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards). Around 1900 the word "busby" was used colloquially to denote the tall bear and raccoon skin "caps" worn by foot guards and fusiliers and the feather bonnets of Highland infantry. This usage is now obsolete.

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