Object of the Month – The Dick Cloak

This long black military cloak belonged to Major General Robert Henry Dick, KCB KCH KOV. It has an overlaid shoulder cape with heavy braiding and tassel work around the edges. It dates from 1815.Cloak of Sir Robert Henry Dick

Officers would often wear dark heavy cloaks in order to protect themselves and their brightly coloured uniforms. However, the fringing on this cloak reveals that its owner was equally as interested in fashion as he was in practicality.

Major General Dick was well known for his love of elaborate uniforms and during his time with the Black Watch he introduced several embellishments to the Black Watch Officers’ uniform, including white cashmere pantaloons. He also replaced the traditional four-yard kilt with a four-foot kilt so the men could afford some of his more expensive alterations.

Robert Henry Dick was born in India in 1786. His father served as a surgeon with the East India Company. Despite being born in India, General Dick was a Perthshire man. From the age of fourteen he spent most of his life serving in Scottish regiments.

He was a competent soldier whose skill and dedication caught the attention of the Duke of Wellington during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1808 he was appointed junior Major to the 2nd Battalion of the 42nd Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch).

It was during his service with The Black Watch that he took part in the Battle of Quatre Bras. The Black Watch suffered a number of casualties and fatalities, including the loss of their Commanding Officer.

As second in command, Dick assumed command of the Battalion. This was only for a few minutes, as he was soon wounded in the hip and shoulder. He was unable to take any further part in the campaign. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 42nd where he served until 1828.

Retiring from active service for ten years, he applied for re-employment in 1838. His distinguished career and long-standing connection with The Black Watch made him a most suitable commander for the 73rd Regiment.

He died at the Battle of Sobaron in India, from one of the last shots fired during the encounter. The outcome was victorious for the 73rd.

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About blackwatchmuseum

The Museum of The Black Watch offers an insight into one of the British Army's if not the world's most famous fighting units. Scotland's Black Watch is an elite military regiment whose history stretches back almost three centuries.
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