Bandsman’s Cape

It has long been traditional in the British Army for bandsmen playing outside in inclement weather to be issued with woollen capes to cover their shoulders and upper torso rather than a traditional greatcoat. Greatcoats are heavy and bulky and when being worn it is not always easy to bend your arms, essential when playing many instruments. The cape offered some protection from the weather, whilst still leaving the arms free to play. Today we are looking at an example of a bandsman’s cape from the early post war period. It is made of a dark blue wool and is secured up the front with three staybrite buttons:

This cape is a remarkably simple garment, with the attached collar being the only element of note. The staybrite buttons each have a small rose design on them:

A label is sewn into the cape which shows that it was manufactured in 1965:

A white paint marking is also visible inside the cape:

As the bands of the Household Division wear grey capes, and the Royal Marines wear dark blue greatcoats, the most likely user of this example is one of the infantry regiments. Here band members can be seen wearing a cape such as this one:

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