Original British Victorian Era Royal Welch Fusiliers Bearskin Busby
Original Item: Only One Available. Royal Welsh Fusiliers pattern Bearskin helmet fitted white hacker and correct original grenade badge of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The busby is complete with the linked chain scales chinstrap. Body of the busby remains in good overall condition. Size is approximately a US 7 (56cm).
The Royal Welch Fusiliers was a line infantry regiment of the British Army and part of the Prince of Wales' Division, founded in 1689 shortly after the Glorious Revolution. In 1702, it was designated a fusilier regiment and became The Welch Regiment of Fusiliers; the prefix "Royal" was added in 1713, then confirmed in 1714 when George I named it The Prince of Wales's Own Royal Regiment of Welsh Fusiliers. After the 1751 reforms that standardized the naming and numbering of regiments, it became the 23rd Foot (Royal Welsh Fuzileers).
It retained the archaic spelling of Welch, instead of Welsh, and Fuzileers for Fusiliers; these were engraved on swords carried by regimental officers during the Napoleonic Wars. After the 1881 Childers Reforms, its official title was The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but "Welch" continued to be used informally until restored in 1920 by Army Order No.56.
It should not be confused with the Welch Regiment, a different unit that recruited in South and West, rather than North Wales, and became part of the Royal Regiment of Wales or RRW in 1969.
One of the few regiments to retain its original title, in March 2006 the Royal Welch Fusiliers was amalgamated with the RRW and became 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh, with RRW as the 2nd Battalion.
The original fusiliers in the British Army were The 7th Foot, Royal Regiment of Fuzileers raised in 1685. This subsequently became The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). The original purpose of this unit was to act as escort to artillery guns, as well as keeping discipline amongst the civilian drivers. Both Scots (21st Foot) and Welsh (23rd Foot) regiments also became fusiliers in the period up to and including 1702 and all three regiments were distinguished by the wearing of a slightly shorter version of the Mitred Cap worn by Grenadier companies of all other infantry regiments. A number of additional infantry regiments were subsequently designated as fusiliers during the 19th century, but this was simply a historic distinction without any relationship to special weapons or roles.
In 1865, a distinctive head-dress was authorized for British Army fusilier regiments. Originally a sealskin cap for other ranks, this was replaced by a black raccoon skin cap of nine inches in height, according to the 1874 Dress Regulations. However, Fusilier officers wore a taller bearskin like their counterparts in the Foot Guards The badge for each regiment was placed at the front of the bear or raccoon skin headdress, and consisted of a stylized flaming grenade, with different emblems placed on the ball of the grenade.
Attached to the various types of fusilier headdress, including the modern beret, is the hackle. This is a short cut feather plume, the color or colors of which varied according to the regiment. Initially, the only regiment authorized to wear a plume or hackle were the 5th of Foot (Northumberland Fusiliers). The regiment had originally worn a white feather distinction, authorized in 1824 to commemorate the victory of St Lucia in 1778 when men of the Fifth Regiment were supposed to have taken white feathers from the hats of fallen French soldiers. When, in 1829, a white plume was ordered for all line infantry regiments, to preserve the Fifth (Northumberland) Regiment's emblem, they were authorized to wear a white plume with a red tip, allegedly to indicate a distinction won in battle. The Fifth were designated Fusiliers in 1836.
Following the Second Boer War, plumes were added to the headgear of all fusilier regiments in recognition of their service in South Africa.
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