Changes in Uniforms in 1915

Sunday, February 28, 1915

In billets, Armentières  

The Battalion War Diarist wrote for this day: “Platoons in trenches relieved, and were not replaced by battalion.”    [1]

“Officers and Soldiers Alike at Front, Dress for More Comfort and Efficiency”
“Officers and Soldiers Alike at Front, Dress for More Comfort and Efficiency”

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: London, February 22 (Correspondence) – War has struck a blow at both military smartness and military picturesqueness.  These two features, which distinguished European wars of the past, are now yielding to the practical.  The British Tommy in the trenches, wearing goatskin coat, rubber boots and knitted cap, pulled down over the head, looks more like a Robinson Crusoe than a soldier.  French Zouaves still wear baggy trousers, Moorish jacket and fez, but the cloth is coloured a greenish yellow like the British khaki.  Belgians have changed their regulation little cap for a warm cap which looks as if made for a chauffeur.

Among the changes undergone in the British field uniform is a Sam Brown belt made of webbing instead of the more conspicuous leather.  The belt, designed a couple of generations ago by a British officer in India, supports sword, pistol and canteen and is suspended by a strap crossing the shoulder.  In view of the short range in trench fighting, the British officer has been forced to do away with the minor elegance of a flannel collar and khaki coloured necktie.  His full skirted overcoat early gave place to a short coat of the model of the seaman’s pea jacket, which is found warmer than the old model besides being free from the annoyance of skirts.

France is re-uniforming its troopers in the new tricolour cloth, a combination of the three colours of the national flag and of a bluish colour.  It is used for the characteristic great coats of the men and for officers’ jackets.”   [i]

[1]   War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, Feb 28, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa,
[2]   “Military Display Has All Been Cut Out,” The Montreal Daily Mail, Montreal, Quebec, Monday, March 8, 1915, pg. 5, col. 2.


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