CAPS, JACKETS & CLOAKS WORN BY OTHER RANKS
The pillbox or peakless round forage cap was ubiquitous for other ranks in all branches of the army except the infantry. It was generally blue with a yellow worsted band & button and for the cavalry including Dragoon Guards and Dragoons this was the case. The exception was 2nd and 6th Dragoon Guards which had white bands and buttons and the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) who had their famous white vandyked band. For ranks above corporal the band and top were of regimental gold lace, the same as for officers. In some regiments such as the 1st DG and 4th DG, sergeants below TSM/SSM had a plain gold netted button only. The cap was abolished in 1897.
In the early 1880s the folding field cap or Torin cap was being worn by other ranks in some regiments. In most cases it was worn without a badge. Senior NCOs caps had gold piping on the welts. Photographs show it being worn overseas more than at home stations. Warrant officers of the 6th Dragoon Guards were allowed to wear a cap similar to the ‘Tent’ hat worn by officers of the 10th Hussars amongst others, with a white body piped in blue. It appears not to have been worn after 1893.
The folding field cap with flaps appeared in 1896 and was universally issued. It had, for most regiments, a yellow body and blue flaps and peak. It had a white body in the 2nd DG and white piping on the flaps in the 6th DG. There is evidence that when some regiments such as the 1st DG and 5th DG adopted caps in their own colours, the other ranks were issued plain blue caps. When the pillbox was discontinued, the field cap was worn in most undress situations and on exercise.
It should not be forgotten that on field exercises (and, presumably in wartime on the continent) the heavy cavalry wore the full dress helmet with plume removed and the helmet of the 1st Dragoons is shown in the illustration.
Although the folding forage cap was to be abolished by 1902, the effects of the Boer War were being made apparent at home and photographs show that by late 1900 and 1901 slouch or bush hats were being worn for some undress occasions and especially for field exercises. They were usually light tan with the left brim turned up and, increasingly a regimental badge. Some regiments such as the 2nd Dragoon Guards did not have the brim turned up. No puggaree appears to have been worn at home as a brown leather band was worn around the crown.
The stable jacket had been an article of clothing for British cavalrymen since the middle of the Napoleonic Wars and by 1881 it was still almost unchanged. In Dragoon Guards and Dragoons it was a plain garment in scarlet except for the 6th Dragoon Guards where it was blue. The collar and pointed cuffs were of facing colour and in velvet or cloth the same as the full dress tunic. Warrant officers and senior NCOs had collar, cuffs and the front edged in regimental gold lace. In some regiments, sergeants had only the collar and cuffs so edged. The shoulders had twisted yellow worsted cords with a brass button at the top which for senior NCOs was gold. Badges of rank and trade were worn on the sleeves in the same manner as the tunic. In some regiments (such as the 3rd Dragoon Guards) the chevrons were of padded lace, rather larger than those on the tunic and backed in facing colour. The stable jackets were worn in barracks and for walking out as well as for riding practice and certain field exercises. It is probably safe to say that the stable jacket was the most worn item in the cavalry. In 1897, after more than eighty-five years was finally abolished.