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The Dorsetshire /Dorset Regiment Cap badge consisted of the following constituent parts: Castle and Key; Sphinx and Marabout; Primus in Indis; Waterloo Wreath; Regimental name.
In 1881 the 39th Regiment of Foot had become the 1st Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment and the 54th Regiment of Foot had become the 2nd Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment. The name of the Regiment changed from the Dorsetshire Regiment to the Dorset Regiment in 1951 after the name of the County was officially changed. In 1958 the Dorset Regiment amalgamated with the Devonshire Regiment to become the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment.
There is a display of Dorsetshire/Dorset Regiment cap badges worn between 1881-1958 on display on the first floor of the Museum. There were many slight changes to the design over the years but the constituent parts remained the same . Visit the Cap Badge page for an image of the badge.
The Castle and Key
The Castle and Key insignia were awarded to British Infantry Regiments who took part in the Great Siege of Gibraltar 1779 – 1783 which included the 39th Regiment of Foot who became the 1st Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment in 1881. It then became incorporated in the new Dorsetshire Regiment badge. The Castle is Gibraltar Castle.
Primus in Indis
The 39th Regiment of Foot were the first Regiment to serve in India in 1754 and the Dorsetshire Regiment were allowed to use the motto “Primus in Indis” as a result.
The Sphinx and Marabout
The 54th Regiment of Foot captured Fort Marabout in Egypt in 1801. The Regiment was then presented with two of the brass canons captured in the fort. For the next 40 years one of these guns accompanied the Regiment and was drawn at the head of the Regiment on all ceremonial parades, with salutes being fired. When the 54th Regiment returned to England in 1840, Queen Victoria ordered that the gun be withdrawn and at the same time bestowed the battle Honour ‘Marabout’ on the Regiment, in addition to the Sphinx (superscribed Egypt) which was awarded for the Egyptian campaign as a whole. In 1847 Queen Victoria further ordered that the Sphinx and Marabout should be worn by all Officers of the 54th, over the numerals 54 on their forage caps. This privilege was later granted to all ranks.
In 1881 the 54th Regiment of Foot became the 2nd Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment and the Sphinx and Marabout were incorporated in the new Regimental Badge. It is also found on the Badge of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment. The Marabout Gun is on display in the Keep Military Museum.
The Waterloo Laurel Wreath
The 54th Regiment of Foot were in reserve at Waterloo, being posted at Hal, 10 miles away to cover the Channel Ports. They were not, therefore, awarded the Battle Honour but all ranks received the medal and the gratuity. The 54th were allowed to wear the Waterloo Wreath on their buttons until 1881. In 1890, when the first badge common to all ranks of the Regiment was designed for the undress cap, the Laurel Wreath was included in the design.