Cap Comforter

Although now commonly associated with the Commandos of WW2, the cap comforter was a comfortable and popular item of head wear worn by nearly all British troops at some point in their career from the early nineteenth century to the present day. The cap comforter consists of a woollen knitted tube closed at each end. Folded out it can be used as a small scarf:imageBy half turning it inside out and then turning up the open end, a hat can be formed:imageThese hats are comfortable, informal and very good at keeping the head warm and were thus popular amongst troops on active service. They were often worn by soldiers in the Great War when on trench raids as their silhouette was not as obvious as the steel helmet. The picture below is of the 1/8th Kings Liverpool Regiment at Wailly, Arras in 1916, note the cap comforters worn by several members of this trench raiding party:TerritorialsThe cap was recorded in Army Orders in 1902 as “Cap, fatigue, comforter: Knitted in brown wool, and can be used as a stable or fatigue cap, and as a neck wrap with service dress jacket.” The cap comforter was very practical as it could be stowed in a pack or pocket without fear of creasing and was frequently worn under a steel helmet to add comfort and prevent too much heat being drawn from the head by the cold steel shell. It was available in three sizes based on the size of helmet it was worn under, Size 1 was for cap sizes up to 6 ½ size 2 for helmets from size 6 5/8 to 7 1/8 and size 3 was for cap sizes above 7 1/8. These sizes should have been stamped onto the hat, but are not always clear. This example is dated to 1944:imageAs can be seen it is made of machine knitted pale khaki wool, with the date stamped onto the exterior in black. The colour did vary later in the war with olive green and brown versions produced. They continued in use after the Second World War and are still used today, making them one of the longest serving pieces of military clothing in the British Army.a183776

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