The British Army has had many sartorial faux-pas over the years, with some hats more ridiculous than others and liable to incur the wrath of all SNCOs. One such cap is the subject of tonight’s post, the ‘Cap, Combat, DPM’:This cap was trialled from 1970 and entered mainstream use from 1972. The cap is based on a Norwegian army design of peaked cap and is made of disruptively patterned cotton fabric, with a floppy peak and an oval metal slot at the front to allow a cap badge to be affixed if desired (although it seems this was never done):From the side the length of the peak can be seen, as well as the metal ventilators in the crown, designed to prevent the wearer’s head overheating:The cap has a neck flap that can either be tucked up into the body of the cap, or folded down:The inside of the cap is lined with green shirting flannel:This colour replaced the earlier brown in 1978, dating the cap to after this date. Around 1992 the cap underwent another change, with the lining deleted altogether and sizing moving to metric. This cap though still has the old size, ‘7 3/8’, stamped into the liner:The caps were produced in a variety of sizes from a tiny 6” up to a massive 7 7/8”, the largest and smallest sizes being harder to find due to limited production numbers. The cap was nicknamed the ‘Crap Hat’ or the DILAC Cap (DILAC standing for ‘Don’t I Look A ‘C**T’). The cap has fallen out of favour since the introduction of CS95, but was never popular amongst those in authority:
in my unit we weren’t ever allowed to wear ’em, although a few field exercises miles from authority soon put paid to that. I found the crap hat good at keeping dust and sun out of the eyes, but it could be a tad uncomfortable for lengthy periods as the inner-flap edges at the front would dig-in to the forehead…….so you always wore a bigger size than necessary to relieve the pressure…..
Another ex serviceman, Stephen Madden, remembers being issued his from stores in the early 1980s:
I can remember initial kitting and seeing crisp-boxes on the store’s shelves behind the counter with the size of the cap within scrawled on the outside with marker pen and each hat extracted through a hole cut in the side ! As usual, there was no fitting…..the storeman just looked at you, pulled a cap out of one of the boxes and plonked it on top of the ever growing pile of kit……..I ended up with a size 7 that was actually cut far larger than a 7 (more like a 7 & 1/4) so was comfy to wear……….