BEF Uniform & Equipment Regs



Uniform

I. Pattern 1908 (P08) Web Gear Waist Belt

  1. Cross Straps--Braces
  2. Left and Right Ammo pouches
  3. Bayonet Frog
  4. Helve Holder
  5. Etool Carrier
  6. Small Pack
  7. Water Bottle Carrier
  8. Large Pack
  9. Water Bottle
  10. Etool and Helve (handle)

II. Pattern 1907 Tunic and Trousers

  1. Introduction, 1902
  2. The uniform jacket was described as being a loose fitting garment with a turned down "rolled" collar, rifle patches on the shoulders, patch pockets on the breast, side pockets let into the skirts below the waist and with plain removable shoulder straps. The lining was invariably either strips of white cotton or linen and all facings were of the same drab serge as the jacket (pocket facings and front button hole facings). A field-dressing pocket was sewn to the interior right front skirt. The front was closed with five large (60 line) brass buttons bearing the Royal coat of arms. Smaller (40 line) brass buttons also bearing the coat of arms closed all pockets and shoulder straps. Depending on who was monarch depended on whether the coat of arms bore the Kings or Queen's crown, but for the most the buttons would have the Kings crown. Upon issue individual Corps could change the buttons to regimental pattern with permission or direction of the Commander. When this garment was fitted to the soldier ample room was left for wear of the shirt and cardigan sweater underneath. Other characteristics included the neck hole being gathered by two pleats (darts) on each side of the collar in front and the armholes where the sleeve attaches having a reinforcing felling stitch around the armhole. This is the basic pattern that would serve on until the 1940s and beyond.

    • First change, 1904

    • The removable shoulder straps were replaced with permanently attached straps made of twisted cord.

    • Second change, 1907

    • The shoulder straps of twisted cord were replaced with sewn down cloth shoulder straps. This is the pattern that for the most part the British Army went to war in.

    • Third change, 1914/15

    • The lining in the upper pocket changed.

    • Fourth change, 1918

    • This was a transitional period. The pattern began to resemble those of post-war manufacture. In some cases 1918 dated garments the interior skirt pockets material can be found in various shades of khaki cotton, the arm hole reinforcing stitch maybe absent, and some of the facing pieces maybe made of khaki cotton as opposed to the original drab serge, thus resembling the post-war versions. Whether any of these jackets were issued at the front is in doubt as almost all encountered are what are called demobilization jackets, that is the last jacket issued when demobilization occurred.

  3. The Service Dress Trouser

  4. The trousers were introduced in the same set of Army Orders as the Jacket. The Trouser can be described as loose and straight legged that when fitted would ride high on the waist and would be held up by trouser braces. It was lined at the waistband and at the crotch with white cotton duck.

    The waistband was fitted with 12 buttons for the trouser braces. These buttons were arranged in pairs with two sets of pairs in the back and the other pairs at the front two on each side. These buttons were usually made of white metal (Zinc) or occasionally black japanned tin. Pockets were let into the side seams of the trousers.

    When the ORs were fitted with trousers enough room was to be left to allow for comfort when worn with shirt and woolen drawers.

    What is remarkable about the trousers is that until 1918 they remained virtually unchanged save as the war continued some of the lining and or pocket material may be made of cotton that tends towards a light shade of khaki.

III. Pattern 07 Puttees

The most identifiable WWI item, wool leg wrappings. Nine feet in length with two-foot cotton tape on the end.

IV. Ammo Boots

Black Pebble grain with no toe cap. However boots with toes caps are acceptable for most units, and the others can be more difficult to find. No rubber soles allowed, must be leather.

VI. Braces

Correct British Army braces are the best. Make sure you use ones that are made of non-elastic cotton and have leather attachments for buttons. Clip on suspenders will not be accepted.

VII. Socks

Any gray or green socks are fine.


Equipment

I. Brodie Helmet

Any of the WWI pattern Brodie helmets are acceptable. Look for one with a good liner and fits your head. Leather support straps can be replaced.

Note: Yank helmets are only slightly different than Brit/ Canadian, they are missing a rubber dounut in the top liner pad. WWII helmets are not allowed.

II. No.1 Mk. III Enfield

You will want to find either an Enfield or a BAS Co. Enfield dated 1918 or earlier. Stay away from anything that says RFI or Lithgow. Lithgow is ok if you want to do Aussie.

IIA.Mills Web Gear Rifle Sling

WWII dated ones are fine and are identical to those of the First World War. Just make sure that you get one with Brass ends. Stay away from the ones with blackened ends.

III. Water Bottle

Blue enamel Brit bottle with a gray or khaki cover. Note: Do not use a blue cover.

IV. Etool and Helve (handle)

WWII onesare acceptable but you will need to make sure that the handle you get is early war. Later WWII ones the handle has a wooden lug for the spike bayonet, so the handle can become a mine detector. Stay away from those but the early ones are ok.

V. 303 Brit Charger Clips

Each holds 5 rounds and will fit three to each pouch of the ammo pouches. So the total you can fit into the pouches is 30 (150 rounds).

VI. Small Box Respirator and Bag

VII. Bayonet

Pattern 1907 Bayonet. You want the scabbard to have the tear drop lug. Look for one that is dated with a WWI date (other than the 1907 that is marked on all of them).


Recommended but Not Required

I. Great Coat.

You can find British WWII (1940 Pattern Dismounted) Great Coats

II. Rain Cape.

These are good for a 1917 and later impression. If you want an earlier wet weather impression, you can purchase a Ground Sheet. Early WWII, brown ones are acceptable as well.

III. Gray Wool Blanket.

What you are looking for is a Brit issue blanket. Will have a single red line or three red lines down the centre and will have the ends edged in red wool. Grey Civil War Style blankets are acceptable as long as they do not have the US on them.

IV. WWI Mess Tin.

The "D" shaped and made from the 1850’s through WWI. This was standard issue to British troops.

IVA. WWI Mess Tin Cover.

Canvas cover for your Mess Tin.

V. Service Dress Cap

Basically used for your walking out uniform.