Category Archives: Boer War

Shako of the British South African Police (BSAP)


An interesting cousin to the South African polo style sun helmet is the shako used by forces of the British South African Police (BSAP), which was the paramilitary police force of Rhodesia. It was created as a force of mounted infantrymen in 1889 by Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company. It was originally known as the British South African Company’s Police and run directly but the company. Continue reading

The Original Camouflage: Khaki Part I – The Origins and Use in the British Army


The late 19th century saw the era of “Red Coats” pass as British soldiers on campaign donned khaki – which was soon to become the first true universal camouflage

Today camouflage has gone high-tech, with digicam or “digital camouflage” being the preferred pattern. This utilizes small micro-patterns as the method for effective disruption, as opposed to the large blotches of cover, which could be easier to spot with the naked eye. This is of course leaps and bounds over the earliest camouflage, which consisted of solid patterns. Among the earliest was khaki. While known for the casual pants, khaki has a long history as the first widespread military camouflage.

This is part I of a multiple part series on the origins and development of “the Original Camouflage.” Continue reading

Canadian Universal Pattern Helmet

A Royal Canadian Artillery Universal Pattern Helmet Circa 1905.

A Royal Canadian Artillery Universal Pattern Helmet Circa 1905.

Shortly after the adoption of the Home Service Helmet in 1878 by the British War Office, the Canadian Department of Militia and Defence (M&D) followed suit. However, within a few years this pattern, which included blue helmets for Infantry and the various Corps, Green for Light Infantry and a short-lived dark Green for Rifle regiments, M&D did a volte face and ordered the white ‘Foreign Service’ pattern helmet for general use. Continue reading

Sun Helmet of Major C. Venables-Llewelyn of the Glamorgan Imperial Yeomanry


Objects of militaria  are often a link back in time. However, all too often we hear, “if only this piece could tell its stories.” This of course will never happen, but occasionally we get lucky and are able to do some historical research and find out a bit more about a particular item. No longer do we think of a vague shadowy figure who may have worn the uniform, but we can find out a bit more about the original owner.

This is the case with a British Foreign Service Helmet, and storage tin that was once owned by Sir Charles Venables-Llewelyn of the Glamorgan Imperial Yeomanry. Inside the helmet are the stamped letters “C. V. L.,” whilst the tin is marked to a “Major C. Venables Llewelyn.” Continue reading

The Last Kaiser’s Sun Helmet


Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was forced into exile at the end of the First World War into the neutral Netherlands. From 1920 until his death in 1941 he lived in the small country estate in Holland known as Huis Doorn, which today is a museum and contains many personal items from the last Kaiser.

Among these items is an interesting helmet – which by all appearances is a British six-panel colonial pattern helmet with typical puggaree cloth wrapping. What makes this helmet particularly unique about this example is that it apparently was “created” by Wilhelm. Continue reading