1/95th Rifle - A Rifleman's Kit
Regimentals and Greatcoat
Known as a soldier’s Regimentals, the Rifleman's uniform was bottle green with black regimental facings on the collar, cuffs and epaulets. Facings were edged with thin white piping that would quickly become discoloured and thus indistinguishable. This was the first attempt at a camouflage uniform in the British Army. It was very effective for skirmishers whose stock-in-trade was to conceal themselves in whatever cover was available and then act as sharpshooters or snipers.
The tunic was fastened with 12 rows of pewter buttons (that would not be polished in action) each bearing the regimental bugle horn. On the outside end of the epaulet was stitched a black roach made of wool with leather strips in the centre designed to offer some protection from sword cuts to the shoulders (a vulnerable area on the Rifleman in close combat). The tunic had short tails to the rear with no turn backs. Additional buttons were stitched to the centre of the back at waist level and on the cuffs. These were purely ornamental. The trousers, or overalls, were designed to go over tight fitting pantaloons, however these had long since been abandoned. They were fastened to the front with a flap and three buttons giving the false impression of pockets, although you will often find a Rifleman warming his hands in them.
The cloth edges of the jacket and trousers were left rough and not turned back as this was considered to be an unnecessary expense in the manufacture. The exact colour of different batches of uniforms would vary depending on the source of the material and the types of dye used. Made of thick woollen material the uniform was surpassingly comfortable in temperate climates. In the Peninsula it would have been incredibly hot during the summer and in rain a new uniform would easily double in weight with the water that the material would hold. As it became worn it would become more waterproof by virtue of the dirt and grease that would be ground in. As the material wore out so it would be patched with any material that came to hand (usually brown in the Peninsula or even leather). The only ironing that a uniform would get would be along the seams to rid the material of ticks and lice.
The Greatcoat, or Blanket Coat, was made of a thick grey woollen material. It was, in fact, a most practical garment offering warmth and comfort. Worn only with the permission of an officer, the coat was full length with a cape around the shoulders to afford extra protection. If worn in the field a soldier's accoutrements would be worn over the coat. On campaign it was common for soldiers to sleep in their coats pulling the cape over their heads for extra warmth. Officers were also issued greatcoats but had black velvet facings on collar and cuffs as a mark of distinction.