History and traditions of the 14th/20th King's Hussars
Uniform items as worn by the 14th Hussars
This photo (above) was taken from ‘Cavalry WO and NCO Arm Badges’ by Linaker and Dine. They credit the collector Hugh King, the owner of the badge, and suggest that the sergeants of the 14th Light Dragoons wore an embroidered arm badge from 1831 to 1861 (see Sergeant’s Arm Badge 1832). The regiment converted to hussars in 1861 and discontinued the embroidered eagle badge. However, they adopted a white metal arm badge of this pattern in 1867. (ARM BADGES)
We know that the crown over the badge was still worn in 1858 as the sergeants were ordered to remove it by the newly formed Clothing Department; no authority for it was held at the Horse Guards. This order must have been ignored because another order to remove the crown followed in Feb 1860. The eagle part of the badge was sealed in Nov 1860 although it had been worn unofficially for nearly 30 years. It was stated that all NCOs were to wear it, not just sergeants.
The badge here is gold with a black eagle holding gold sceptre and orb, with gold crown and trefoils on the wings in place of the usual crosses. It is 44mm high by 36 mm wide.
The regimental badge (above) was changed during World War One because of the association of the Prussian Eagle of Princess Frederike with the German nation. The King’s Dragoon Guards faced the same problem with their badge, the double-headed eagle of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor. So in 1915 the ‘Hawk’ was replaced with the Royal Crest (below) which in fact was the principal badge of the 14th Hussars. The regiment had been reluctant to have this as their badge because two other regular British cavalry regiments already used it as their cap badge: the Royal Dragoons and the 15th (the King’s) Hussars.
Crests were derived from the ornament or device worn on the helmet by medieval knights. These subsequently formed the top of the coats of arms of the aristocracy, and the royal coat of arms has a helmet facing forwards with the crowned lion standing on the current monarch’s crown. In heraldic terms: ‘Upon the royal helm, the crown proper, theron a lion statant guardant or, crowned proper.’ Statant means that the lion is standing with all four paws on the ground, and guardant means facing us.
This badge was worn on caps and collars up until the amalgamation with the 20th Hussars in 1922. Some squadrons may have continued wearing it until 1926 when the Prussian eagle was unofficially restored.