British Army uniform

British Army Uniform

British Army uniform

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British Army uniform currently exists in several grades, which are worn depending on the requirements of a unit or individual, ranging from ceremonial uniforms to combat dress.


By the end of the 17th century, England - soon to embrace Scotland to form Great Britain - had largely settled the standard colour of its army's uniforms: red. There were but a few exceptions.

In the decades following final victory over Napoleon in 1815, British army uniforms became increasingly flamboyant and impractical. This trend was curtailed by the realities of the Crimean War.

By the end of the 19th century the British army had moved over to khaki after experience in India. Dress uniform, however, particularly in the more fashionable regiments, could still be colourful to the point of peacockery.

The early use of camouflage - albeit plain khaki rather than variegated colours and patterns - reflected the exigencies of colonial war and the freedom allowed, and taken, by many of the officers who fought it. It is perhaps no coincidence that the increased use of khaki had a strong correlation with the increasing range of their opponents' weapons as technology progresses.

During the Second World War a handful of British units adopted camouflage patterned clothes such as the Airborne Forces' Denison smock and the windproof suit, in the late 1960s the DPM camouflage uniform was adopted across the whole of the British Army.

Uniform numbers

The British army numbers its uniforms for ease of...
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