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
While we focus on sun helmets on this website these are, of course, only one form of headgear among many worn by armies throughout history. The subject of this article is the British Home Service Helmet, which in this writer’s opinion was inspired by the Colonial Pattern sun helmet worn in India from at least as early as the 1850s.
Many colonial pattern sun helmets featured a spike at the dome, a feature reminiscent of the German “Pickelhaube” (Pointy Hat). This traditional of wearing a spike is one that appears to originate in the 1840s, and while a helmet with a spike on top is traditionally associated with Prussia and later Germany, the truth is that many nations including the United States, Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Chile all were among those that utilized the decorative spike. Continue reading
“From the earliest times fear of the sun’s rays must have sometimes urged the soldier or traveler to wear down the back of the neck a white handkerchief or handy piece of cloth. The official introduction of a neck curtain, however, appears due to Sir Henry Hardinge, who, in 1842, prior to leaving for India as Viceroy, ordered white cap covers for tropical use, to which was added some time later a white neck curtain.” 1,2