Garrison Artillery Volunteers

A display group whose passion is Royal Artillery of the 20th Century

Clothing & equipment worn by the Royal Field Artillery 1914 – 1918 

& suppliers of this equipment to re-enactors.

This list has been requested by members of the Garrison Artillery Volunteers who wish to portray the Field Gunners of the     14 – 18 period. Much of the equipment listed can be obtained from the well-known suppliers such as Soldier of Fortune and What Price Glory; other items can be sourced from on-line auction sites. There are also niche suppliers who may be able to offer some of the more obscure items. However, wherever you shop and whatever your budget – buyer beware! Many of these items are manufactured in countries where quality control is ‘variable’ so if possible always check carefully that each item is correctly patterned and fit for purpose before parting with your cash. If in your searches you come across a company that previously has not stocked WW1 uniforms or equipment please send me their details so that we can all be aware of what they have to offer.

Rod Ulrich

WW1 Events coordinator for the Garrison Artillery Volunteers.



The basic uniform of the period for other ranks is usually referred to as the Pattern 08 and consisted of an SD cap, tunic, riding breeches, puttees and boots. Under clothing consisted of woolen undershirts, long and short woolen underpants, woolen grey socks and the long tailed ‘grey back’ shirt. Examples are shown below:

All the above were always worn with the following items which support each item of clothing improving the comfort of the wearer. Puttees are worn by winding from knee to ankle (inside of leg to outside) with the pointed tip on the outside of the ankle pointing to the rear. The tapes are then further wound as a wide securing strap with the end tucked back under the tape. Note that spurs were only worn by officers, NCOs, drivers and others on horseback.



Worn with the uniform were the cap badge, shoulder titles and lanyard (L/H Shoulder). Personal equipment also included a ‘housewife’, wash-roll and towel. Each individual was also issued a pocket knife – similar to but twice the length of a WW2 issue item. Lastly, and worn by all other Ranks except warrant officers, is the ’03 Pattern five pouch leather bandolier. Made from chestnut coloured harness leather and always worn on duty, the bandolier was kept highly polished – even in the field – being an item of great personal pride!

Gunner ‘walking out’

’03 Pattern five pouch leather Bandolier

Do not buy from S.O.F. or W.P.G. unseen, good reproes available on line, the image is an original.

Gunner ‘walking out’

Wearing his uniform as described above. Note how the Puttees & Bandolier are worn.


Field Kit 

Being essentially classed as ‘mounted troops’ the Royal Field Artillery was equipped in the same manner as the cavalry and Royal Horse Artillery. Therefore, their basic field kit varied considerably from the infantry and the Royal Garrison Artillery. Every item was compatible with the wearer being mounted on either a single horse, a team of horses, driving a cart or wagon, or riding on a limber. All heavy or bulky items were carried on the battery transport. Greatcoats and personal weapons were either carried on the saddle or in-situ on the limbers. The basic personal items were the mounted pattern greatcoat, the mounted pattern carrier and water bottle, the mounted pattern mess tins (and cover). All additional personal kit (cap/comforter, wash roll, towel, housewife, woolen gloves, spare socks and ‘the unconsumed portion of the day’s ration’) was carried in a GS haversack (initially) or (later) in the webbing haversack. The water bottle and carrier was worn over the right shoulder under the bandolier and often had the mess tins strapped to the water bottle.The haversack was worn over the left shoulder. If the greatcoat was being worn all equipment was carried on top of the coat.


Water Bottle Sling

'08 Webbing Haversack

Mounted Pattern Greatcoat

Water Bottle

GS Pattern Haversack

Mounted Pattern Mess Tins, Strap and Cover

S.O.F. Ground Sheet & 1917

1945 Pattern Rain Cape

The Greatcoats are routinely available online; all you need to do are add brass GS buttons, brass RFA shoulder titles and any rank (if held). All other items are available from S.O.F. although GS haversacks may have to be sourced from ‘Victorian Era’ suppliers such as S.O.F. Again, cap/comforters, woolen gloves, etc, are fundamentally the same as WW2 items but khaki brown rather than olive green.
The only wet weather protection provided was a ground sheet. This is also available from S.O.F. and is a simple rectangle of rubberised cloth which was for sleeping on but could also be wrapped around the shoulders and fastened over the chest. Later in 1917 a poncho style cape was issued and of course the well regarded leather jerkin (with leather buttons) also became available.  Of course all this equipment was perfectly adequate for 1914 but as the war intensified both the conditions and the weapons encountered brought on great changes in personal protection.

Personal Protection

In April 1915 the German army launched the first chemical warfare assault in history. Within days the Allied
armies were implementing measures to help protect those whom these weapons would be used against. The
only protection immediately available was to soak some material such as a sock, handkerchief or scarf in urine
to cover their nose and mouth. The ammonia in urine helping to reduce the effects of chlorine gas. Very
quickly face pads and goggles replaced this (all made by home front volunteers) but again were superseded by
more sophisticated equipment.
The first was known as a ‘smoke hood’ and the second was the ‘PH helmet’ which addressed the
shortcomings of the earlier type and was proof against the later types of gas and carried, in addition to a ‘smoke hood’,
by everyone within 2 miles of the front lines. Finally, the full face ‘small box respirator’ was
developed which gave absolute protection against all the gasses used but at the cost of a vast reduction in the
ability to communicate.

The entire range is usually available from S.O.F and W.P.G. sources but as always check carefully as to
condition. The small box respirator haversack is often available as a single item. It is often asked if the small
box respirator haversack is the same as a WW2 respirator haversack; unfortunately they are very different
with the 1917 version being smaller, with leather tabs instead of brass rings and a bespoke adjuster tab. The
1939-45 mark VII bag if bleached to a light khaki colour with the straps modified looks a reasonable substitute.
In early 1915 the increasing amount of casualties suffering from serious head injuries was causing concern and
all the major combatants were seeking to develop protective headgear. In Britain the Royal Armouries
collection of medieval and post medieval helmets were examined for suitability in preventing injury from
above. John Leopold Brodie copied the shallow dish type design but developed it to be made as a steel
pressing with an added integral liner.
Further developments using non-strategic ballistic steels were rapidly adopted and became available in limited
numbers by September 1915. By June 1916 over a million had been manufactured and a universal issue
achieved. There are of course several differing marks of Brodie helmet that were used from 1915 to 1938
before the helmet and its liner were completely redesigned.

The most obvious differences between this and a WW2 helmet are the liner and the leather chinstrap. However, what is less obvious is the shape. The Brodie is in fact elliptical, being broader over the shoulders and narrower front to back; however, a WW2 helmet has an almost circular outline. You could of course adapt a WW2 helmet shell to take a WW1 liner and Chinstrap but you will need to change the two Bales (Chinstrap attachments) to the earlier pattern too. Genuine Brodie helmets can of course be
found at shows and on line without costing a fortune but you do need to know how to spot deliberate fakes. Repurposed US 1917 Pattern helmets are available from S.O.F. and W.P.G. but you can always disguise the shape of a WW2 conversion by giving it a cloth or hessian cover.

I hope this helps when deciding to join in with the WW1 Section. If you find alternative suppliers or individuals who can produce or
convert substitute items please pass it on to the group. Should you wish to download this document in its entirety please click the link below.

Thanks, Rod.