PEAKED FORAGE CAPS AND BADGES IN THE BRITISH ARMY 1881-1902
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PART II

FORAGE CAPS WORN BY GENERAL OFFICERS, 
CORPS AND ARMY DEPARTMENTS 1881-1902

When the 1880 round forage cap was introduced the use of gold lace bands was greatly expanded. The army staff continued to use the lace that had been introduced some years before but the military departments who had previous worn the black oak leaf band on their caps now had special patterns. By the 1890s, with many of the departments amalgamating and becoming corps, the distinctions were given to other miscellaneous branches of the army like the Military Police and Army School inspectors. 

GENERAL OFFICERS & HEADQUARTERS STAFF

The cap, with gold lace oak-leaf pattern had been worn in undress by Field-Marshalls and General Officers since the Crimean War. Colonels and other officers on the Headquarters staff on the staff had worn the same lace until 1864 when a special staff lace was introduced. This appeared in the 1874 regulations and was worn on the round forage cap until 1900. The Indian Staff Corps wore what was essentially two bands of lace separated by a 1/8th inch crimson stripe. The cap was apparently not worn after the Indian Army reorganization of 1897.

ROYAL ARTILLERY, ROYAL ENGINEERS AND DEPARTMENTS

ROYAL ARTILLERY
The round forage cap with peak was worn in the Royal Artillery only by officers on the staff at Woolwich. All other officers, warrant officers and staff sergeants wore the round forage cap without peak. The gold lace band on both caps was of the Royal Artillery pattern.

THE ROYAL ENGINEERS
Prior to 1880, the Royal Engineers had worn its regimental gold lace band on the previous cap with a gold bullion grenade badge on the front. After 1880 the badge was omitted. The RE lace pattern was similar to the staff pattern lace except the pattern slanted from right to left from the top. Although the illustrated Dress Regulations of 1900 showed the lace slanting the same way as the staff pattern, photographic evidence overwhelmingly show otherwise. The cap had a gold netted button on the crown but there was no gold figuring. Field officers had the gold edging to the crown as in the infantry. The cap was worn by all officers, Warrant officers and Staff Sergeants of the Corps.

COMMISSARIAT & TRANSPORT CORPS
The Commissariat and Transport Corps was formed from the ill-fated Control Department in 1875. The band on the C&TC cap was 2 in deep for the Principal Commissary and 1 ¾ in deep for the remaining officers (Shown above). There was a 1/8th dark blue stripe in the centre of the band and a 1/16th inch stripe in the centre of the bullion peak. The cap was not worn by Warrant officers and Staff Sergeants who wore the peak-less pillbox cap. 

THE ARMY SERVICE CORPS
The Army Service Corps, created in 1887, was the first department to be converted to full combatant status (although with 4 VCs, they were hardly strangers to combat). The cap shown, worn by the Principal Commissary on the C&TC, was now extended to all officer ranks of the ASC. As with the former corps, WOs and Staff Sergeants did not wear the cap.

THE ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT & ORDNANCE STORE CORPS.
The Ordnance Department had five components of General stores (such as clothing), Warlike Stores, Armourers and the inspectorates of Guns and ordnance. These components became one entity in 1896 but the Department (Officers) and Corps did not combine to become one corps (the RAOC) until 1918. For the Ordnance Department the branch colour was scarlet and the caps of officers followed the same pattern as the C&TC up to 1896. Until that time, Warrant officers and Staff Sergeants had worn the pillbox cap only. After 1896 they wore the round forage cap with a 1 ½ inch band.

THE ARMY PAY DEPARTMENT
The Army Pay Department was formed in 1875 and their caps followed the example of the C&TC and Ordnance with their branch color as bright yellow. After 1896 the thin coloured stripe in the bullion peak was abolished. The Army Pay Corps consisting of NCO staff clerks was formed in 1898 and their cap will be shown in the next plates. 


ARMY MEDICAL, CHAPLAINS AND VETERINARY DEPARTMENTS

THE ARMY MEDICAL DEPARTMENT
The Army Medical Department was authorized in 1873 and replaced the regimental medical officers (with the exception of the Household Cavalry and Foot Guards) then serving. Except for Surgeons with equivalent rank to General Officers, the peaked pre 1880 caps had the oak leaf band. After 1880, the gold lace cap band followed the staff pattern with two thin black lines in the 2 inch lace. 

THE ARMY HOSPITAL CORPS
Raised in 1857, the Army Hospital Corps provided the stretcher bearers and hospital orderlies under the supervision of the Medical Department. Although consisting of other ranks, it had officers commanding the various bearer companies. The 1880 forage cap bore the oak leaf band with an embroidered Red Cross badge on the front. It was a little larger than that worn on the right sleeves off other ranks. Staff Sergeants continued to wear pill box caps with a brass AHC badge on the front. 

THE MEDICAL STAFF CORPS
In 1884, the Army Hospital Corps was replaced by the Medical Staff Corps. The assimilation of this corps within the Army Medical Department was a gradual process. Officers adopted 1 ½ inch Medical department lace on their forage caps In 1896 Staff Sergeants were permitted to wear the round forage cap with the same lace.

THE ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
The amalgamation of the all the medical branches took place in 1898 and the R.A.M.C. was formed. For a short time, officers and staff sergeants wore the round forage cap with dull cherry stripes in the lace, but it wasn’t long before the staff forage cap was introduced with the dull cherry band.

THE ARMY CHAPLAINS DEPARTMENT
The forage cap was black with black staff pattern band. The bullion on the peak and the button and decoration on the crown were also black. The embroidered badge of the Maltese cross edged gold was worn in front. According to photographs the badge was often placed wherever the wearer wanted. Before 1893 some chaplains wore a badge of the cross within a gold circle.

THE ARMY VETERINARY DEPARTMENT
Formed in 1878 this department, like the Medical Staff, superceded the veterinary officers on regimental staffs (except the Household cavalry). The Veterinary Department was put on an official footing in 1881. All Veterinary officers wore the round forage cap with the departmental lace and maroon stripe in the centre. By 1892 only the Principal and deputy Veterinary Surgeons wore the peaked cap whilst other officers wore the pillbox cap with the same lace (as befits a cavalry organization).



MISCELLANEOUS UNITS

MILITARY PROVOST STAFF AND MILITARY POLICE
Until 1895, the Provost Marshall wore the round forage cap with staff lace whilst officers of the Military Police and Governors of Military prisons wore the cap with black oak leaf lace. In 1896 the base colour of the cap was changed to scarlet with gold staff lace band and worn by all the officers in the disciplinary corps. The band was edged top and bottom with blue piping as was the edge of the crown.

INSPECTORS OF ARMY SCHOOLS
Before 1890, inspectors of army schools had worn the infantry forage cap with oak leaf lace band and the embroidered Royal Crest badge. In 1891, the band on the cap was changed to departmental pattern with light blue stripe in the middle.

UNATTACHED OFFICERS
Officers that were not attached to any corps or department wore the Infantry (non-Royal) cap with embroidered Royal Crest badge.  

ROYAL RESERVE AND GARRISON REGIMENTS
In In 1900, largely because of the large commitments of manpower involved in the South African War, several Royal Reserve regiments, recruited from ex-servicemen, were raised for home defence. The Garrison regiments (5 in all) were raised in 1901 for overseas service. The officers and staff sergeants of all these regiments wore the Infantry forage cap with scarlet band and a brass Royal Arms as a badge. After 1902 the caps were no longer worn.

OFFICERS OF THE ROYAL HOSPITALS OF CHELSEA AND KILMAINHAM
Officers of these institutions wore the round forage cap with special lace band of “Double Vellum” pattern.

OFFICERS OF THE ROYAL ASYLUM AT CHELSEA
The caps for these officers were of the pattern worn by Royal regiments of infantry with the embroidered Royal Crest badge.  

TO BE CONTINUED
The final segment will be posted
on Sunday May 28th and will include a short introduction to the headdress that replaced the round forage cap in 1902.
The Brodrick Cap