Thursday, 17 July 2008

Birth of the British Grenadier

Everyone knows the song the British Grenadier - reputedly dating from the late 17th century but I thought it might be interesting to look at the first references to Grenadiers by diarist John Evelyn.
29th June 1678 Hounslow Heath
His Majesty and a world of company were in the field; and the whole army in battalia; a very glorious sight.. Now were brought into service a new sort of soldiers, called Grenadiers who were dexterous in flinging hand grenadoes, every one having a pouch full. They wore furred caps with coped crowns like Janizaries, which made them look very fierce, and some had long hoods hanging down behind as we picture fools. Their clothing being likewise piebald, yellow and red.

On Horse Grenadiers 5 December 1683
The King had now augmented his guards with a new sort of dragoons, who carried also granados, and were habited after the Polish manner, with long peaked caps, very fierce and fantastical.

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