East Kent Helmet, circa 1900


The Buffs Royal East Kent Regiment

This is an 1878 pattern British Blue Cloth Home Service Helmet.

The helmet plate (badge) has a St Edwards Crown which was in use from 1878 to 1901.

Adopted by the British Army in 1878 it was in use as the full dress helmet until 1914. Nowadays only some of the regimental bands wear them.

This style was approved for the Infantry in 1878 and was authorised for the British Army in General Order 40 of May 1878, although it had been on trial for a few years prior to this date. Made of cork and covered with a blue cloth this helmet has a spike as did the Prussian model, which had inspired its adoption, but its silhouette owed more to the white foreign-service helmet adopted by the British a few years before.

The Officers helmet was of a better quality as it was purchased privately. It had a gilt curb chain chin strap lined with black velvet gilt rose fastenings, the spike and the helmet plate was gilt. Other ranks were on general issue and an inferior quality, the curb chain chin strap was lined with leather, the rose fastenings and spike were brass as was the helmet plate.

Helmet plates were of three basic designs; for most infantry it was an eight pointed star surmounted by a crown. Between 1878 and 1901 the St. Edwards Crown (known as the Queen’s crown) was used and between 1901 and 1939 the Tudor Crown (known as the King’s crown) was used.