DRESSING THE PART
These three images are all taken from an album of twenty-two studies entitled The Costumes and Uniforms of the British Army During the first months of Mobilization of 'Kitchener's Army', 1914–1915, compiled in March 1919 by the illustrator and costume designer Claud Lovat Fraser (1890–1921).
1. Claud Lovat Fraser, Divisional Artillery, R.F.A., December 1914, 1919
Here we see a superior officer noting down the particulars of a member of the 21st Division (Royal Field Artillery) based at Halton Park, near Tring (Herts), in December 1914.
2. Claud Lovat Fraser, The Encroachment of Khaki and the Favoured Few, 1919
Fraser records the motley assortment of garments sported by the soldiers, who had by now moved into local billets in High Wycombe. Heavy overcoats had to be worn in the heat of late April to make them look 'ostensibly like soldiers' when parading through the town, and as late as May 1915 they were still sporting a mixture of blue and khaki, emphasizing the delays involved in obtaining correct uniform in the early months of the war. Rifles did not arrive until June 1915.
3. Claud Lovat Fraser, Complete, June 1915, 1919
The fully uniformed soldier is now ready for action, beautifully turned out though somewhat apprehensive. Fraser himself saw action as captain with the 14th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry at the Battle of Loos, where his division suffered over 3,800 casualties. Lucky to survive, he was invalided home in 1916, suffering from shell shock and possible gas inhalation. He then worked on pictorial propaganda for the War Office from autumn 1916 until 1917.