Throughout the First World War injured soldiers who were recovering from their injuries were issued with a blue flanelette uniform to wear. This was a single breasted, loose fitting garment with white facings and was derided and hated by those who had to wear it as it was rarely an adequate fit. One soldier explained:
I had to turn the trouser legs up till the turn ups nearly reached my knees, so that the white facings were quite a spectacle. The bagginess allowed plenty of room for bending.
This sartorial disaster of course provided great material for the comic postcard and today we are looking at an example from 1916 entitled ‘A Bad Fit of the Blues’:
The central figure of the cartoon is the soldier himself, wearing ill fitting hospital blues and looking decidedly cheesed off by them:
A shocked nurse watches on, placing her fingers over her ears to block out his choice words on the matter:
The postcard itself was painted by an artist known as RW Stoddart in 1916:
It seems that the main problem with hospital blues fitting so poorly was the material they were made from, as the blue flanelette shrank at a different rate to the lining which meant it pulled in odd directions and looked particularly untidy after its first wash. For such an unpopular uniform though, it remained in service for decades and a version of it was still seeing service in World War II.