From the mid-17th century to the 19th century, the uniform of most British soldiers, (apart from artillery, rifles and light cavalry), included a madder red coat or coatee.
From 1873 onwards, the more vivid shade of scarlet was adopted for all ranks, having previously been worn only by officers, sergeants and all ranks of some cavalry regiments.
The new English Army was formed of 22,000 men, divided into 12 foot regiments of 600 men each, one dragoon regiment of 1000 men, and the artillery, consisting of 900 guns.
The infantry regiments wore coats of Venetian red with white facings.
A contemporary comment on the New Model Army dated stated "the men are Redcoats all, the whole army only are distinguished by the several facings of their coats".
There had been many isolated instances of red military clothing pre-dating its general adoption by the New Model Army.
The uniforms of the Yeoman of the Guard (formed 1485) and the Yeomen Warders (also formed 1485) have traditionally been in Tudor red and gold.
The English Red Coat made its first appearance on a European continental battlefield at the Battle of the Dunes in 1658.
A Protectorate army had been landed at Calais the previous year and "every man had a new red coat and a new pair of shoes".
The English name from the battle comes from the major engagement carried out by the "red-coats".
To the amazement of continental observers they stormed sand-dunes 150 feet (46 m) high fighting experienced Spanish soldiers from their summits with musket fire and push of pike.
There is no known basis for the myth that red coats were favoured because they did not show blood stains.
Blood does in fact show on red clothing as a black stain.