Dressed in his redcoat, the brightest colour, in his tall black hat, with two leather belts across
his chest supporting ammunition pouch and bayonet, with waterbottle and haversack, his
heavy black knapsack containing greatcoat, blanket, spare shirts, cleaning materials and a
few possessions, his white-breeched legs ending in stout shoes and gaiters marched all
over the world, from the snows of Canada to the deserts of India, fighting the
French, savages, native infantry (or in some cases, civilians), as a tool of
British Foreign policy concerning trade and expansion.
All British soldiers volunteered, some as drunkards to get alcohol, some to
get warm clothes and food, or a little money, and some to escape prison or
civil prosecutions. I.ife was harsh, with a very strict penal code and long hours
of drill and cleaning kit and equipment, often in squalid conditions of
accomodation. On campaign away from England, they could flounder and
struggle in unaccustomed country, but in battle they were the acknowledged
finest fighting men in any infantry.