Outbreak: Uniform 1914

Video transcript

Welcome to Bisley, the famous rifle ranges. During the years leading up to war, depots such as Bisley, and many others up and down the country, were used as training depots, preparing soldiers for service overseas. These depots are still used for this purpose today.

Interpreter: This is the Service Dress Pattern uniform issued to every soldier wishing to serve out in the front in 1914.

Starting from my top here, I’m wearing the stiff cap, a smart piece of kit with brass insignia at the front there, showing you I am of the Middlesex Regiment.

Now on to the jacket. It’s khaki in colour, so excellent for camouflage conditions. It also, by its feel, is itchy. It gets warm, you get hot, you sweat, it gets even itchier. But you do feel the benefits when it gets cold because it’s thick, it does keep you warm. It’s durable and it’s long lasting.

Down to the bottom here, these are the puttees – a Hindustani word meaning bandages – and it is a long piece of cloth that you will wrap around your legs. Hard to master, but they do have a use, three in fact.

First use is that they support your calf whilst marching. Secondly they stop sticks, stones, creepy crawlies, from getting into your boot. And lastly, when it rains, you’ll feel the benefit of them because they will stop water seeping into your boot and getting your socks wet. Now, this is good in theory, but in practice it didn’t quite work as well.

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