Other Ranks’ Field Service Cap

Alongside its new battledress uniform, the British Army reintroduced the Field Service cap in 1937. The design dated back to the start of the century and had been used, amongst others, by the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. It had fallen from favour and was largely replaced by regimental pattern caps or the stiff peaked service dress cap. The FS cap, however, was easy to fold flat and tuck into a pocket or pack and so was far more practical than the SD cap. The same design was used for officers and other ranks; the officers being made of barathea (see here and here), whilst the other ranks version was made of plain khaki drab serge:

The cap was to be issued a size larger than a man normally wore and was to be positioned on the right side of the head, with the front just over the right eye:

Technically the cap could be undone and the sides worn down to offer protection to the ears and chin (although thankfully few chose to make the sartorial decision). In order to allow this feature to work, the sides were secured with small brass hooks that looped into metal grommets on the crown of the cap:

A pair of brass buttons were sewn to the front of the curtain that could be undone to allow the cap to be unfolded, but were usually just polished to give a soldierly appearance without being used:

The serge ran into the inside of the cap and acted as a sweat band, wear being seen on the inside of this example:

The crown was made of a cotton drill type fabric, note also the hooks from the curtain visible on the inside. The size, manufacturer and date are stamped into the cap here; 1938, a size 7 and produced by Collett Ltd:

Gordon Spikins was issued one of these caps as a member of the Army Cadet Corps:

We received our uniforms, which consisted of a battledress blouse, trousers (too long for me), a big, wide web belt, 1914 pattern, a pair of gaiters and a “forage cap”. This cap was to be worn on the right side of your head, with two buttons over the right eye. It took some practice to keep the hat on, particularly when you turned, as the hat spun off your head, to the anger of the NCO giving the orders!

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