Home History This British Military Cap Was So Ugly It Drove One Man to Suicide

This British Military Cap Was So Ugly It Drove One Man to Suicide

by Enochadmin

All through the course of army historical past, troopers have accustomed themselves, at instances with grim humor, to carrying impractical and generally unattractive equipment and articles of clothes. However is it attainable for a uniform merchandise to be so ugly that it’s completely insufferable?

That’s what occurred within the case of the Brodrick cap, a doomed piece of headgear also referred to as the Common Forage Cap, whose hideousness turned the stuff of legend after it was first launched to unsuspecting British troopers in 1902.

Lengthy-suffering troopers of the British Military endure the Brodrick cap in 1905. (Society for Military Historic Analysis)

The peakless fabric cap was meant to introduce uniformity in forage caps, which troopers wore as alternate options to stiff shakos and helmets. It derived its identify from William St. John Brodrick, the primary earl of Midleton, who served as secretary of state for warfare — and who later swore he had nothing to do with the despised cap’s creation. Rumors maintain that the Brodrick cap’s design was really fielded by King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales.

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The Universally despised Common Forage Cap

Whoever got here up with the concept might pretty take credit score for curling the British soldier’s proverbial stiff higher lip. The odd-looking, flat-topped hat riled males of all ranks and social backgrounds. Ceaselessly in comparison with a pancake, it was known as a “monstrosity” and even mocked with a cartoon within the satire journal Punch.

One soldier who had sustained a facial harm in the course of the Boer Warfare is alleged to have committed suicide as a result of he was in despair over how the cap introduced additional consideration to his scars.  

“We completely detested this new cap, which the vast majority of males mentioned made them appear to be a variety of bloody German sailors,” in accordance with Frank Richards of the Second Royal Welsh Fusiliers, in his autobiographical e-book “Outdated Soldier Sahib.”

The Royal Marines, pictured above throughout World Warfare I, had been the final to ditch their Brodricks – hanging onto them till 1922 as a result of they apparently resembled sailor hats. (Imperial Warfare Museums)

The cap was so reviled by troopers that they “resorted to all types of pretexts to keep away from carrying it,” in accordance with a postmortem for the cap printed upon its withdrawal in 1907. Nonetheless, pictures exist of grim-looking army males sporting Brodrick caps — leaving one to wonder if being photographed within the cap triggered them to frown greater than regular.  

Due to British troopers’ irrepressible sense of vogue — or a minimum of dignity — the Brodrick had a brief lifespan, spreading all through the military for just a few years after 1902 earlier than dying on the vine in 1905. It was formally rendered out of date in 1907. Solely the Royal Marines went in opposition to the tide, persevering within the Brodrick till 1922 due to its arguably nautical look.

An epitaph for the Brodrick printed by The Green Howards Museum within the U.Ok. immortalizes how the resistance of British troopers prevailed in opposition to the cap that was “inflicted” upon them: “The difficulty of this cover represents an attention-grabbing occasion of how authorities could make an unpopular choice, and of how the quiet opposition of these on whom it’s inflicted can promote change.”

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