Help support TMP

"British field service cap, 1885 colour?" Topic

5 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please use the Complaint button (!) to report problems on the forums.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the 19th Century Painting Guides Message Board

Areas of Interest

19th Century

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Ruleset


Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Workbench Article

Featured Profile Article

Featured Book Review

239 hits since 18 Mar 2023
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
Glengarry518 Mar 2023 2:49 p.m. PST

What colour were the field service caps for the British 1885 "English" khaki uniforms issued to the Guards in the Sudan? Were they khaki or blue or another colour?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2023 3:14 p.m. PST

Good question – the original field service caps were blue (at least for the Guards) and as there was a shortage of khaki cloth at the time I suspect the Guards at least wore blue ones – for line regiments the 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment had khaki field service caps in 1888 but not so sure about the Sudan. A good reference is Michael Barthorp's article in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research
Vol. 56, No. 225 (SPRING 1978), pp. 25-38; if you have trouble finding it I have a PDF

42flanker19 Mar 2023 2:16 a.m. PST

Michael Barthorp's JSAHR article from 1978 "INFANTRY UNDRESS UNIFORM 1822-1902 deals only with regulation uniforms and local variations- i.e. in the case of forage caps- badges, peaks chin straps, etc.
Unfortunately, he specifically omits detailed discussion of khaki as "not strictly speaking undress."

The service kit issued to the Foot Guards for the Suakim expedition in Feb 1885 specified forage caps but these do not appear to have been a component of the khaki outfits supplied.

The Foot Guards being, of course, a law unto themselves as regards regulation uniform, never adopted the Glengarry worn by the rest of the infantry. The Guards Field Service cap (aka Albert bonnet) had been adopted just prior to the Crimean war and it seems this model remained in use by other ranks for fatigue purposes well into the second half of the C19th.

This cap, based on an Austrian model, with its turned up border, was a fore-runner of the 'Torin' style of cap seen worn increasingly by British officers in the field from circa 1880 onwards, first in Afghanistan, then in Sudan.

In Sudan, officers of the 3rd Grenadier Guards were photographed wearing 'Torin' style caps, (blue with coloured insets)

It seems most likely that, rather than a new style of cap being ordered, the other ranks of the Foot Guards contingent would have worn the existing model of blue cloth Field service cap, or a version of it, being wholly suitable for cold desert nights.

Khaki forage caps, mostly prototypes of the 'Austrian' model with the neck flap or 'hood' fastened with buttons made an appearance in the later 1880s,, as Frederick observed, but only worn by officers in India as far as I am aware.

Glengarry519 Mar 2023 4:53 p.m. PST

Wow, thanks! It's amazing how there is such doubt over the details of even recent history.

42flanker20 Mar 2023 3:59 a.m. PST

It would be interesting to see what the Guards Museum in London has to say. A battalion from each of the three Foot Guards regiments formed a Foot Guards brigade that formed part of Wolseley's 1882 expedition to Egypt. Other than two battalions sent to Canada during the 'Trent crisis' of 1861-62, the Guards had not seen active service since the Crimea.
They must have had forage caps of some sort. The 'set up' forage caps worn at home would not have served.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.