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Coloured Field Service Caps of the Brockville Rifles

February 22, 2015

by James J. Boulton

The 41st Brockville Battalion of Rifles was raised in Brockville, Ontario on 5 October 1866, It was re-designated the 41st Regiment “Brockville Rifles” on 8 May 1900, and then sequentially The Brockville Rifles on 12 March 1920; and the 2nd (Reserve) Battalion, The Brockville Rifles on 18 March 1942. The regiment would have worn the entire historical sequence of British field service caps.

The regiment wore the British Forage Cap for Field Service and Peace Manoeuvres (the “ Torin” cap) from its inception, then in 1890, the Universal Pattern Field Service Cap was taken into service for other ranks. All other regiments wore blue caps but rifle green was ordered for Rifle regiments.

In Britain, the field service cap was abandoned in 1902 in favour of a homely Broderick cap for other ranks and the 1898 staff pattern for officers, but it remained in service in Canada and in India.

In 1937, with the introduction of a new Battle Dress order of dress, there was new interest in the Universal Pattern, re-established in khaki and in colours and distributions of piping or braid on the curtain, crown and / or front and back seams of the crown according to regimental preference. This distinguished units and provided relief from the drab khaki uniform.

The dates for the authorization of the pattern for the Brockville Rifles are so far unknown. The Dress Regulations 1943 specify only “green”. The regimental colours were rifle green and scarlet but the colour of an available example is a very dark green, similar to that seen in the Dufferin and Haldimand Rifles of Canada.

The regulation pattern for the regiment was specified to be:brock

An officer’s cap by William Scully Ltd. White metal General Service buttons (CML collection)

An officer’s cap by William Scully Ltd. White metal General Service buttons (CML collection)

The Universal pattern was finished with two buttons at the front of the curtain. The buttons for this cap could correctly be white metal, gilt or brass General Service buttons, or black Universal Rifle pattern or General Service buttons.

A quality-made other ranks’ cap. The buttons are plain black. (CML collection)

A quality-made other ranks’ cap. The buttons are plain black. (CML collection)

Some British and Canadian rifle regiments finished the officers’ coloured field service caps with a traditional boss, a hemispherical cord badge worn on the front of the cap. The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada was unique in providing for a scarlet pompon for other ranks. A boss was not worn by the Brockville Rifles.

Lieutenant Henderson of the Brockville Rifles. His cap buttons are black, and either General Service or the Universal Rifle pattern.  (MilArt Photo Achives)

Lieutenant Henderson of the Brockville Rifles. His cap buttons are black, and either General Service or the Universal Rifle pattern. (MilArt Photo Achives)

Coloured field service caps continued to be worn for a time after the war and there were no changes for the regiment in the Dress Regulations 1947. Although they were never formally abolished, there was not a suitable order of dress for their use in the Dress Regulations 1953 and the caps gave away to attrition.

Rifle regiments of the Canadian Militia however showed a continued interest in their coloured Field Service caps.

On March 8, 1988, the Directorate of Ceremonial at National Defence Headquarters requested that the five remaining Rifle regiments confirm the design specifications for their coloured Field Service caps, as well as their accoutrements. The intent was to provide standardization within and among the regiments and to provide guidelines for the use of makers of these items at regimental expense.

No changes were made in the patterns described in the Dress Regulations 1943 for the Queens Own Rifles of Canada, the Voltigeurs de Québec and the Royal Winnipeg Rifles

There were changes for the remaining two regiments. The Brockville Rifles and the Regina Rifles, then the Royal Regina Rifles. For The Brockville Rifles, there was a considerable change in the distribution of the piping.

brock2The 2011 Canadian Forces Dress Instructions (A-DH-265-000/AG-001) provided in Chapter 6, Paragraph 16f for headdress for undress order in accordance with branch or regimental custom, including

Berets or wedge caps (including those latter styled and coloured as field service caps for undress wear with full dress)

and Chapter 5, Section 1, Paragraph 4c that for rifle regiments

Customary approved pattern undress field service (wedge) caps are authorized for wear as optional items by all ranks of rifle regiments with ceremonial, mess and service orders of dress, in lieu of other authorized headdress.

Several named photographs of members of the Brockville Rifles taken in 1942 show the other ranks’ equivalent of a boss in wear, a scarlet pompon. It would appear that the other ranks had defaulted to this distinction authorized for the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.

Left, Cpl. B. Lampkin. Right,  Rfmn C.R. Hyndman

Left, Cpl. B. Lampkin. Right, Rfmn C.R. Hyndman. Both wear OR CFSCs with the unauthorized pompom. Photo courtesy Major Roger Hum, The Brockville Rifles Museum


Ref: Boulton, J.J and C.M. Law The Canadian Field Service Cap Service Publications 2014

Special thanks to Captain Richard J.S. Law, The Brockville Rifles, for the 2011 updates.

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One Comment
  1. Richard Law permalink

    Well done James, I may produce/offer you a second part to this in the coming months.

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