View Full Version : The Guards and the Bearskin
19-05-2009, 12:00 PM
I've recently been speaking with an elderly relative (96 and still going strong!) who can recall an uncle who served in the british army and wore the Bearskin so I'm presuming he was in the Guards
Unfortunately she cannot remember when this was.
He was a Harry PICKERING b. 1874 in Malta the son of a soldier
My questions are this:
Did all the Guards regiments wear the Bearskin and if so from what period?
If he joined during a period of conflict i.e. Boer War, WW1 would the bearskin have been issued as part of his kit or was it only issued to career soldiers?
Any help in narrowing down my search for this man would be appreciated.
19-05-2009, 1:57 PM
A fur cap had been worn by both the grenadier and fusiler companys of most regiments prior to the Napoleonic wars. However, because of their distinguised service against Napoleons Old Guard at the Battle of Waterloo, the 1st Foot Guards were honoured by being renamed the Grenadier Guards, and took to wearing the fur head-dress in all their companies.
It is unlikely that a soldier would have worn the bearskin unless on ceremonial duties, and certainly not on active service during the Boer War. However it was worn in the Crimea, in 1854, at the battles of Alma and Inkerman.
On your search for Harry, there is an extremely good Malta Family History website, where I found the following:
Harry Edwin Charles PICKERING, baptised 26th June 1870, the son of Harry and Alice Pickering, Private, 87th Regiment.
Could this be your man?
19-05-2009, 3:20 PM
See reply above, also........
The Index to Regimental Registers of births 1761-1924 also records
PICKERING, Harry E C - Malta - Regiment 11th - Year 1870 - Volume 1383 Page 22
If this is your chap, you could order a copy of the birth certificate from the GRO.
The entry is duplicated in the Army Chaplains' Returns of birth 1796-1880
PICKERING, Harry Edwin C - Malta - 1870-2 - Page 51
19-05-2009, 4:34 PM
Beware the possibility that Granny confused bearskin and busby!
Could the mention of the "11th" refer to the 11th Hussars who did wear the busby?
19-05-2009, 10:52 PM
Thanks for your imput it's much appreciated.
The man you found is my man and thanks to you I now have his full christian names. It's also interesting to note the his dad was serving in the 87th as I have him in the 1881 census serving with the 11th at Exeter Barracks.
The old girl is certain that he wore a Bearskin, mind you she was certain she had an uncle Fred, turned out to be an uncle John:confused: Still she's entitled to be a bit confused at her age.
I'll run it past her again in a couple of weeks, see what she says then:)
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