Original knitted comforts from WW1 do not survive outside museum collections, so to add an example of these ubiquitous garments to a private collection involves having a reproduction made. Luckily there are sources for the original knitting patterns and if you can find a skilled knitter you can have a perfect replica. I am very lucky in that my mother is an exceptional knitter so I gave her a copy of this knitting pattern:
Knitted comforts were incredibly important in both wars as it was impossible for the War Office to supply sufficient quantities of warm clothing to all troops. When one considers that the War Office supplied 137, 324, 141 pairs of socks over the period of the Great War and this only equated to three pairs per man every six months the size of the problem becomes apparent. This balaclava differs from modern examples in having a long ‘bib’ front and back:
This allows a nice seal round the neck keeping out any cold air when it’s worn with a woollen uniform:
This balaclava is actually very warm and practical and I will be passing other knitting patterns to my mum to make up further comforts to go with my WW1 kit. I have been asked to let you know that my mum is wiling to make these balaclavas to order for anyone who wants their own ( who wouldn’t?). She is asking £30 for the balaclava and other comforts can be knitted to order. If you are interested please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide further details.