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Museum of the Manchester Regiment Object Focus

Officers Coat of the 63rd Regiment of Foot

Officer's coatThis is the oldest design of uniform we have in the Collection. It was worn by an officer of the 63rd Regiment some time between 1796 and 1811.

On the ‘tail’ of the coat, at the back is a fleur-de-lys. This shows us how the Regiment used the fleur-de-lys on its uniform from its earliest days.

The fleur-de-lys is still used on Regimental dress, to this day. It is part of the design of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment’s buttons.

There are 2 rows of 10 buttons down the front of the coat. Each one of these buttons bears the Regimental number ‘63’.

Why are army uniforms red?

Red, blue and grey were all used in British military uniform in the 1600’s. Red and blue dye was cheap and easy to produce and grey uniforms were made from un-dyed wool.

In 1702 Marlborough ordered that all his officers were to ‘be clothed in red’ which gave his whole army a common identity, against their enemies.

In 1707 the Act of Union, joined England and Scotland and effectively creating Great Britain, under one parliament. Red also coincided with the red cross of St. George, patron saint of England.

All these factors resulted in red becoming the dominant national colour and so the colour used most extensively on British military uniforms.