is the designation given to various types of military undress, fatigue or working headresses. These varied widely in form, according to country or period. The coloured peaked cap worn by the modern British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...
for parade and other dress occasions is known as a forage cap.
In the 18th century forage caps were small cloth caps worn by British cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...
men when collecting forage for their horses. The term was later applied to undress caps worn by men of all branches and regiments as a substitute for the full dress headdress. The kepi
The kepi is a cap with a flat circular top and a visor or peak . Etymologically, the word is a borrowing of the French képi, itself a respelling of the Alemannic Käppi: a diminutive form of Kappe, meaning "cap"....
widely worn during the American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...
is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a forage cap.
British Army usage
In the British Army, forage caps were first regulated by the War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...
in 1811 as a practical head dress that could be worn when out of action, in lieu of the cumbersome Shako
A shako is a tall, cylindrical military cap, usually with a peak or visor and sometimes tapered at the top...
that was otherwise stipulated when in full regimental dress. There is however evidence that they were worn before this date under regimental arrangements and they are specifically mentioned as early as 1768. Their construction was either knitted, or made up locally utilising still serviceable parts of worn out uniforms. Always round in shape, they initially had no peak, but many years later the idea of a peak was transferred from the shako to give the forage cap a more smart appearance. They were initially often in a blue-gray colour with a head band that may well have been in the facing colour of the regiment, but once standardised by war office regulation they began to take on a more uniform appearance and, when not in use, were rolled and carried strapped to the cartouche case. These crude but effective forage caps remained in use until replaced by a similar style of forage cap, known as a Kilmarnock Bonnet (from its place of manufacture), some time in the 1830s.
The Kilmarnock Bonnet style of forage cap was replaced in Scottish units by the glengarry in 1848, but English, Irish and Welsh units, as well as the Foot Guards, continued to wear a stiffened version of the Kilmarnock until 1868, when the remainder of the line regiments also adopted the glengarry, leaving only the Foot and Horse Guards in a forage cap, which had now evolved into two types, with and without a peak.
In 1902 a new but similarly shaped style of forage cap was introduced and named after the then Secretary of State for War
The position of Secretary of State for War, commonly called War Secretary, was a British cabinet-level position, first held by Henry Dundas . In 1801 the post became that of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The position was re-instated in 1854...
, St John Brodrick
William St John Fremantle Brodrick, 1st Earl of Midleton, KP, PC , known as St John Brodrick until 1907 and as The Viscount Midleton between 1907 and 1920, was a British Conservative Party politician....
. The 'Brodrick cap' took the form of a stiffened and round shaped forage cap with no peak that was not dissimilar in appearance to a sailor's hat, although it was dark blue in colour and had a patch of facing colour cloth behind the regimental badge, which was worn centrally at the front.
In 1905 the Brodrick was replaced by a broad topped cap with wired brim and leather peak, based on the pattern worn in the Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...
, which was introduced as a "forage cap" for off-duty 'walking out' and other semi-formal occasions. Under the same name, a slightly modified version of this cap is currently worn by most modern British regiments with No. 1 Ceremonial and No. 2 khaki parade dress. The body of this headdress is generally dark blue, although the cap bands are red for "Royal" regiments and corps, or regimental colours for some other units, especially the cavalry and yeomanry.
Royal Air Force usage
The Royal Air Force uses different nomenclature. The RAF forage cap has no peak and because of its longitudinal cut is called a "fore-and-after" http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/2556513.bin%3Fsize%3D620x400&imgrefurl=http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Judge%2Blive%2Bblogging%2Bfrom%2BRussell%2BWilliams%2Bhearings/3671040/story.html&usg=__DrOrW3Cma54tfNk5eEI1ZYs0wkg=&h=400&w=620&sz=51&hl=en&start=46&sig2=XINAVgFgK1DXmHu2t5AQeg&zoom=1&tbnid=IkMS1vXjIqvm3M:&tbnh=123&tbnw=166&ei=0tnqTaPeAofe0QHotKi-AQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drussell%2Bwilliams%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3DuaN%26sa%3DX%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1002%26bih%3D572%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=111&vpy=253&dur=190&hovh=180&hovw=280&tx=160&ty=81&page=4&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:46&biw=1002&bih=572].
Its two ornamental buttons at the front can be unfastened in order to let down earflaps for harsh weather. (The German army forage cap of the Second World War was similar, but of two distinct types, one with an eye-shading peak or bill, the other without.) The forage cap was worn by RAF personnel for everyday purposes from 1918 until about 1950 when it was superseded by the RAF blue beret (introduced after the Second World War.) The fore-and-after is still worn by airmen in other services, such the USAAF and Royal Canadian Air Force. The peaked cap worn in the RAF for parades etc., is called the SD or Service Dress cap. RAF Forage caps can still be bought privately and worn on duty by all ranks.