Blue cloths

chinstrap

Member
I posted my British helmets here some time ago, but they disappeared in the hacking melt-down. I know from those posts that there are some blue cloth/home service helmet fans out there, so here are a couple of new ones.

2nd Volunteer Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment QVC. I would welcome any information on the plate. It differs from the 'standard' 2nd VB plate , which simply has the sphinx on the tablet, bearing the word 'Egypt' set on a dark background, whereas this has the red rose of Lancashire under the tablet, as on the later cap badge, and the device is set against a rayed background.

P1020063.jpg



My most recent acquisition- Officer's Blue cloth QVC to Border Regiment 1st Volunteer Battalion. It's in immaculate condition. One oddity , however, is that division between the red and white enamel should be horizontal, whereas it clearly rises from left to right as you look at it. I thought this meant the enamel centre had been inserted out of true, but the dragon's position in relation to the lettering on the motto looks to be correct.

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Patrick
 

wihu61

New member
Beautiful. How old are these helmets, around 1900??? :-?
Were they for daily use, or were they used for parades etc.?
 

chinstrap

Member
Thanks for the comments.

These types of helmets, strictly known as 'Home Service Helmets' were for full dress occasions. (There was another type of helmet for foreign service). They're often known as 'Blue cloths' as this is the colour worn by the majority of regiments who wore this type of helmet - line infantry had a spike and Corps such as Artillery, Ordnance etc a ball in a cup . However, they do occur in other colours e.g. a very dark green for Light Infantry regiments and grey for Rifle regiments. I believe the idea of the spike or ball design was taken from the Prussian pickelhaube.

This type of helmet was brought in in 1878 and, I think, worn until the outbreak of WW1. The helmet plates on these two would date between 1881 , when regiments took territorial titles, rather than numbers, and 1902, when Queen Victoria died. The shape of the crown indicates this, hence QVC (Queen Victoria Crown). After her death the shape of the crown changed and is known as the King's crown,or KC.

Hope this helps. If I've missed anything, no doubt somebody else will pitch in.

Patrick
 

Peter_Suciu

Well-known member
Fantastic helmets. Simply fantastic.

I feel bad correcting a Scotsman, but Queen Victoria died January 22, 1901. The King's Crown is also known as the Tudor Crown or the Imperial Crown. And finally, the current crown under Queen Elizabeth II is the St. Edward's Crown, which does look like the Queen Victoria crown.

I also don't know if technically "full dress" is correct. These helmets were part of the scarlet uniforms, but that meant more than just parades and galas. Back in that era the helmets would have been part of daily dress uniforms.

This was one of the reasons it was so expensive to be an officer. You needed the mess uniform, several types of headgear, etc. You'd go broke being an officer!
 

stuart_bates

New member
Patrick,

Rifle regiments wore the helmet covered with Rifle-Green which was almost black. Rifle Volunteers wore the grey covering.

Stuart
 

chinstrap

Member
Peter

You're right, of course, on the dates.The KC was introduced on the plate in 1902, so far as I know, but the Queen died before this. I know what you mean about the times when the home service helmet was worn. I think you're right , but the 1900 dress regs include the helmet under the 'full dress' section, rather than the 'undress' section, which is why I wrote this.

Stuart

I'd always taken the King's Royal Rifle Corps helmet , which we both know well, as being grey. Would you describe it as rifle-green?

Patrick
 

Peter_Suciu

Well-known member
chinstrap said:
You're right, of course, on the dates.The KC was introduced on the plate in 1902, so far as I know, but the Queen died before this. I know what you mean about the times when the home service helmet was worn. I think you're right , but the 1900 dress regs include the helmet under the 'full dress' section, rather than the 'undress' section, which is why I wrote this.

Patrick--
This is an issue that I've been trying to resolve as well. When exactly were these helmets worn? Daily?

I know these weren't worn as much as say the German pickelhaube. The movies may show British soldiers training in them, but I don't think this was the case.
Peter
 

stuart_bates

New member
Patrick,

checking the DRs for 1883, 1891 and 1894 I find Rifle-Green specified for Rifle regiments including the KRRC - I forget when they changed to the lambskin busby but that is specified in the 1900 DRs. I have seen Rifle-Green described as nearly black but certainly the KRRC you sold me is nowhere as near black as it is a dark green.

Peter,

there are photos of the Home Service Helmet being worn during training or drill and on manoeuvres. Specifically, I remember a photo of the Glosters at bayonet drill wearing the helmet. This photo is in the Navy & Army Illustrated.

Stuart
 

Peter_Suciu

Well-known member
What a different era. These lovely helmets were worn for training. Today at least, soldiers can travel in more comfortable attire. I see the military in America in their camo. Years ago they had to wear dress uniforms to fly on airplanes!

As for the Blue Cloths... this helps explain why the officer's versions have survived (private purchase and the fact that most officers probably didn't get as down and dirty), while the ranks probably used these things until they fell apart.
 

zipperheads9

New member
The Rifle units here did not get any different colour then the regular infantry unit, they did get the lovely rifle busby as apposed to the glen or pillbox.
nice helmets.
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