The other ranks peaked service dress cap was introduced in the early Edwardian era and was used up until World War One. At this stage experience in the trenches led to the cap being modified to remove wire stiffening and rigid peaks. The trench caps of 1915 were a long way from the smart SD caps of pre-war days but suited active service conditions better. After World War 1 had ended The British Army smartened up its uniform again to better represent a peacetime army and the stiff service dress cap made a reappearance for the ordinary soldier. Although cut subtly different, the interwar other ranks service dress cap was very similar to that used before the war and it is one of these interwar period examples we are looking at tonight:This pattern was introduced in 1922 alongside the recut service dress jacket and was part of the post war move to bring the standards of the army back to a peacetime footing. It had been decided that the scarlet home service dress of the Edwardian era was not to be reintroduced due to the cost implication, so efforts were made to smarten up the service dress, which until that point had been for field use rather than for parade and walking out use. As well as making the jacket more fitted and introducing brass collar dogs, the cap was recut.
The peak on this cap is distinctly semi-circular rather the ‘D’ shaped and has a definite downwards angle, again indicative of interwar production:Later versions of the cap would make the peak almost vertical in the angle and this is more commonly found with post-WW2 examples of the cap. The underside of the peak is finished in a green leather effect:A brass tab is included inside the front of the cap that forces up the top of the crown, tensioning it and giving the cap its distinctive shape:These were frequently modified to subtly alter the shape of the cap to suit regimental requirements and it was probably the Regimental Tailor’s job to do this so that there was consistency across the unit. The cap has a decorative chin strap in brown leather, adjusted with simple brass slider buckles:A brass button is sewn to either side of the cap band to attach this strap to:This cap has an orange coloured artificial silk liner to it and leather cloth sweat band, sadly now badly damaged:Most caps produced by the military have black oil cloth linings but examples do exist with this type of liner so it is a perfectly legitimate variation of the cap. The sweat band was made of brown oil cloth, but this has not survived well in this example.
This cap was a lucky find on my local second hand market and seems to be in remarkably good condition for its age, even more unusual is that it is in a size large enough to fit my oversized head. I will be pairing this with my 1922 pattern service dress uniform to make a very smart walking out impression.