15: Depot Company, Independent Garrison Company, Veteran Battalion

Sources mentioned below are documented on page 1. Click to enlarge images.


Depot Company

Material in Appendix XII to Vol II of Beamish’s history of the Legion documents the formation of this company on 25 November 1803, with five officers and 13 men. It joined expeditions to Hanover in 1805-6 and to the Baltic in 1807, but otherwise was based at home, in the later period on the Isle of Wight. It was discontinued from 25 December 1812 and in February 1813 the officers and men were transferred to the newly formed Veteran Battalion or to the Legion’s line battalions.

Beamish states that “Both depot and garrison company wore the uniform of the infantry of the line of the King’s German Legion.” In the Meyer ledger (thanks for access to Meyer & Mortimer and Ben Townsend) a short entry of October 1811 for Lieutenant Schaeffer of the Depot Company shows that he bought a superfine scarlet “Regt Coat of the Depo[sic]” with ten gold lace loops at the front, but with four “extra” loops paid for, and a gold epaulette. (I’m uncertain as to the placement of the extra loops.)

With this came a scarlet cassimere waistcoat with gilt buttons. (In contrast, the three line battalion waistcoats whose colours are recorded in Meyer are white and dark blue. The dress of the line battalions is discussed on this page.)


Independent Garrison Company

The same appendix in Beamish records that this was formed on 25 March 1805. It joined expeditions to Hanover in 1805-6, to the Baltic in 1807, to Sweden in 1808, and from there joined the Legion’s forces with the army in Portugal. On 25 February 1813 the officers and men were transferred to the newly formed KGL Veteran Battalion in England, and the Company was discontinued from 25 March.

As already noted, Beamish states that “Both depot and garrison company wore the uniform of the infantry of the line of the King’s German Legion.” The dress of the line battalions is discussed on this page.


Foreign Veteran Battalion

Beamish’s Appendix XII records that on 26 January 1813 approval was announced for the formation of a Veteran Battalion “to receive the worn-out men of the Kings German Legion.” The personnel were to be drawn from across the Legion. A memorandum of 8 February states that the battalion would incorporate the personnel of the Independent Garrison Company of the KGL, then serving in Portugal. The Veteran Battalion was formed in Bexhill from 25 February, and was initially of four companies. In January 1814 it was augmented to six companies and in August 1815 to ten.

Communications from Horse Guards state:

“No off-reckonings to be granted. To be clothed in the same manner as the veteran battalion in the British service.”

“… the prince regent has been pleased to approve of the same description of clothing being provided for the veteran battalion of the King’s German Legion … as is worn by the veteran battalions of the British army …”

Hamilton Smith’s chart boxes for the British Veteran Battalions (as worn by the KGL) and the Foreign Veterans (as not worn by the KGL)

Charles Hamilton Smith’s chart shows the thirteen Royal Veteran Battalions of the British army post-1811 in blue facings, their lace square ended and in pairs, with a blue line towards the outside edge, the officers with gold lace and metal. With the possible exception of the precise position of the blue line in the lace, this is exactly the dress already worn by the line battalions of the Legion, as discussed on this page, which must have eased the transition.

(Hamilton Smith’s charts also include a uniform for “Foreign Veterans”: blue facings, singly spaced square lace with a central red line, with silver officer’s lace and metal. This was not adopted by the KGL Veteran Battalion.)

page1: some sources

page 2: Line Battalions

page 3: 1st Light Battalion

page 4: 2nd Light Battalion

page 5: Light Dragoons 1803-7

page 6: 1st Hussars 1808-16

page 7: 2nd Hussars 1808-16

page 8: 3rd Hussars 1808-16

page 9: ‘Heavy’ Dragoons 1803-13

page 10: Light Dragoons 1813-16

page 11: Foot Artillery

page 12: Horse Artillery

page 13: Gunner Drivers

page 14: Engineers

%d bloggers like this: