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The Thin Red Line


The “Thin Red Line” jacket in 100% British wool with scarlet piping, acetate lining in whatever colour you care to choose. Looks as great on a gal as a gent. (See also The Thin Black Line for the post-colonial colour way)

The phrase the "Thin Red Line" originated in the Crimean War – specifically, a military action by the red-coated Sutherland Highlanders 93rd Regiment at the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854. The regiment routed a Russian cavalry charge against all odds.

The Russian commander, believing that such a small infantry force could not hope to withstand a full cavalry charge, figured it had to be some kind of decoy or trap. Accordingly, he ordered his men to disengage. The British press, of course, spun the story to raise morale amongst the public who regarded the war as an unpopular shambles. The Times' correspondent, William H. Russell, wrote that he could see nothing between the charging Russians and the British regiment's base of operations but the "thin red streak tipped with a line of steel".

The phrase has since come to represent calm British courage... as immortalized in "Carry On... Up the Khyber" when Private Jimmy Widdle paints a thin red line across the ground, declaring, "They'll never get past this!"