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Canadian Wolseley

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Canadian Wolseley Helmets
An unstructured guide for collectors

Wolseley Helmet - The Wolseley Helmet was introduced into Canadian Service on 9 July 1910, by Militia Order 260 as an advance notification of the intent to formally adopt the helmet into general use. In 1911 the following was published as  Militia Order No. 490.

"Wolseley pattern helmets will now be issued to the Permanent Force in exchange for the old pattern white helmet. Officers Commanding units should indent for them in the usual manner, and, on their receipt, should return the old pattern helmets to Ordnance charge. The metal fittings and pugarees now in charge of units will be retained for use on the Wolseley helmet and, therefore, will not be replaced.”

By 1911 the Wolseley pattern helmet had already been adopted by the British Army (in fact it is mentioned and photographed in the 1900 Dress Regulations, albeit for the West African & Chinese Regiments only, as well as in the British 1904 regulations) as their foreign service pattern helmet. General Order 114 of 1906 allowed the issue of a pugaree to all NCOs and Men of the Permanent Force as well as authorizing the wear of a badge, identical to that worn on the field service cap, on the helmet. The Wolseley was to be the default full dress headdress for any regiment or Corps which did not have an approved pattern of headdress, i.e., Bearskin, Busby, Shako, etc...

With the introduction of the Wolseley helmet a khaki helmet, or alternatively a khaki cover for the white helmet, was approved for field wear. In the mid-1930s a circular letter was distributed which allowed for the wear of regimental embellishments (usually in the form of a patch) to be worn on one or both sides. Several regiments wore their approved badge on the pugaree but, by 1940, no badges or plumes were authorized with the exception of the three noted in the 1943 War Dress Regulations (WDR). Although approval was required before adopting a patch, no complete list of embellishments has been located.

1943 War Dress Instructions - Para 70. Khaki Wolseley Helmet or White Wolseley Helmet with Khaki Cover - Regimental patches, when duly authorized, by National Defence Headquarters may be worn on the left side of the helmet. No badges, plumes, hackles or ornaments of any description other than regimental patches may be worn, except as follows:
a) Foot Guards - regimental pattern pagri badge and plume.
b) The Black Watch - a red hackle.
c) Irish Fusiliers of Canada - regimental pattern plume.

General description (from the 1932 Dress Regulations) - Wolseley pattern, cork, covered with white cloth, made with six seams, bound with buff leather, projecting peak all around, 3 inches in front, 4 inches at back and 2 inches at sides, ventilated at top with zinc button covered with white cloth, side hooks. At top of helmet a collet riveted on to a collar 3/8 inches wide to receive button. Plumes, spikes, chin chains, etc., will be worn on ceremonial occasions when not on duty with troops and when in full dress with troops. In all other orders of dress a leather chin strap 3/8 inches broad is worn. In full dress, rifle regiments wear a chin-chain on morocco leather of the same colour as the regimental facings, lined with black velvet. Plumes are worn only by those officers who are authorized to wear the cocked hat and are of the same pattern and dimensions as worn on the cocked hat. They are attached to the helmet by means of a screw passing through a socket, 11/2 inches high, leaf pattern, and fastened with a nut. A white pugaree is worn with the white helmet unless a pugaree of another colour is specially authorized. The badge is worn in the centre of the pugaree on the front of the helmet and should be fitted so as not to perforate the helmet or pugaree. Metal furniture will be gilt or gilding metal, except in Rifle Regiments when it will be bronze. Ornaments as follows:

a) Cavalry - A spike of bright metal on a base of acanthus leaf pattern. 
b) Engineers, Signals, Infantry, Ordnance Corps and Officers not belonging to a regiment or corps - A spike of bright metal mounted on a bright dome base.
c) All other units for which the white helmet is authorized as the full dress head-dress - A ball in a leaf cup, pattern of base as for Cavalry.

Embelishments - In spite of restrictions established by Dress Regulations, a number of Regiments and Corps adopted embellishments. These could include a badge, flash or coloured pugaree and often resulted in a combination of two of these elements.


White Wolseley helmet

59th Stormont and Glengarry 
Corps of Guides
Manitoba Mounted Rifles
2nd Armoured Car Regiment
60th Rifles of Canada
Royal Canadian Regiment
106th Regiment
Toronto Regiment
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
Prince Edward Island Regiment
The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry
Royal New Brunswick Regiment
Loyal Edmonton Regiment 
Royal Westminster Regiment
Mississauga Horse
Canadian Machine Gun Corps
Winnipeg Light Infantry
Fusilier Regiments, except
Princess Louise Fusiliers
Colonels, Brigadiers and Generals
All other regiments and corps

Sutherland tartan
Six-fold Muslin pugaree with two centre folds scarlet and four outside folds khaki
Myrtle green pugaree
Maroon pugaree
White pugaree edged with rifle green and scarlet in alternate rows
Scarlet pugaree w/7 folds
Blue pugaree
Regimental badge on a red patch worn on left
French grey pugaree, although originally worn by all ranks this was changed to ORs only while officers wore a white pugaree.
White pugaree and yellow over red plume
Red pugaree
Blue pugaree
Black pugaree
Scarlet pugaree, later Blue pugaree w/5 folds
Myrtle green pugaree
Maroon pugaree
Originally Royal blue, then dark green pugaree
White pugaree, grenade on front
Blue pugaree
White pugaree with plume as for cocked hat
White pugaree




Khaki Wolseley

Royal Canadian Artillery
Royal Canadian Corps of Signals
16/22 Sask Horse
Governor General’s Foot Guards
Black Watch (RHC)
Irish Fusiliers of Canada
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

Red and blue patch on left side
A patch of light blue, white and green, worn on left side
French grey, red and blue triangle on left side with grey uppermost similar to CEF 16th LH
Red plume on left side (following the example set by the Coldstream Guards with whom the GGFG is allied.) A pugaree badge was also authorised, but none was worn.
Red hackle and tartan patch on left side
Regimental pattern plume
French grey diamond patch


Standard pattern white Wolseley for wear in Full Dress. This example dates from the 1970s and was worn by the Band of the Royal Montreal Regiment.

Standard pattern, issue khaki Wolseley, dated 1913 and marked with the C/Arrow denoting Canadian ownership.

Royal Canadian Regiment

The RCR received permissioin to wear a 7-fold scarlet pugaree in 1914 although evidence exists that this waorn earlier. This 1914-dated helmet is unusual in that the pugaree is removeable.


Standard flash for The RCR. This helmet is named to T.G. Gibson who retired as a Brigadier.

Approval for this pugaree has not yet been located.



Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

The PPCLI full dress helmet includes a gilt spike and chin-chain as well as an over-sized badge. The pugaree is French Grey and was adopted to memorialize the colour of the PPCLI formation patches worn during the two World Wars. Photo Courtesy Clive M. Law

The French Grey embellishment commemorates the formation patch worn by the regiment during the First World War. Courtesy Museum of the Regiments, Calgary

Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Regiment

Worn during the Second World War by officers only.  Courtesy Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Regimental museum



Royal Winnipeg Rifles

Economy pugaree using a simple ribbon in the colours of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, fronted with a collar badge. Courtesy Royal Military College Museum.

Official blessing for this unique pugaree has not been located.  Courtesy Royal Winnipeg Rifles



Royal New Brunswick Regiment

The RNBR wear a light blue pagaree consisting of 5 folds and the regimental cap badge. This example is dated 1963. The spike is made of plastic. Courtesy New Brunswick Military Museum



Royal Hamilton Light Infantry

Full Dress headdress of the RHLI. Courtesy New Brunswick Military Museum



Black Watch (Royal Highlanders of Canada)

Named to an officer of the 2nd Battalion. The Black Watch were one of the few regiments authorized by the Canadian 1943 War Dress Regulations to wear regimental embellishments on the Wolseley helmet.

5th Royal Highlanders of Canada

A fine example of an early Wolseley as worn by the 5th Royal Highlanders of Canada, predecessors to the Black Watch of Canada. Courtesy R.V. Taboika

Prince Edward Island Regiment

Although the regimental flash is in keeping with British practice no authorization has been found to permit the PEIR to adopt this flash.  Courtesy PEI Regiment museum

Governor General's Foot Guards

This Wolseley was the property of an offficer in the 2nd Battalion, Governor General's Foot Guards. It displays a red hackle - better termed a plume in keeping with Guards' terminology. The plume is worn on the left side which is consistent with GGFG practice (although allied with the Coldstream Guards there are some minor differences. In this case the GGFG is the senior Foot Guard Regiment and the plume is worn on the left even though the buttons are worn paired.)  Courtesy GGFG Museum


This regiment has not yet been identified.

Royal Canadian Army Service Corps

Early pattern CASC. 

Later pattern pugaree for the RCASC. It is believed that this change ocurred in the early 1960s. 
Photo courtesy Dwayne Hordij

'Bombay bowler' style sun helmet with flash attributed to the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, ca. 1942. Although not an official pattern a number of officers outfitted themselves with this style of helmet during the Second World War.

Royal Westminster Regiment

The RWR initially wore a silk French Blue pugaree. This has now been changed to a more economical polyester.

Toronto Regiment

Approval for the Toronto Regiment to wear a red flash was initially granted for the Universal Pattern helmet. The practice carried over to the Wolseley.  Courtesy Royal Regiment of Canada museum

Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps

Full Dress Wolseley helmet worn by a Medical Officer.  Courtesy GGFG Regimental museum

Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, ca. 1938. Courtesy Canadian War Museum

Royal Canadian Corps of Signals

Identical in all respects to the British Royal Signal Corps helmet. Although the flash was approved for the RCS in 1934 no official blessing for this unique flash in Canadian use has been located. 

Royal Westminster Regiment

Believed to be the flash as worn by the Royal Westminster Regiment although no document has yet been uncovered to confirm this. Courtesy Museum of the Regiments, Calgary

This helmet  is attributed to Major-General Kitching. Kitching saw his early service with The Gloucester Regiment. Courtesy Museum of the Regiments, Calgary

Senior Officer

A very nice example badged to a Substantive Colonel or Brigadier.

Royal Canadian Artillery

RCA White Wosleley, ca. 1910

RCA khaki Wosleley, ca. 1910

RCA khaki Wosleley, ca. 1930

Unapproved RCA khaki Cawnpore helmet, ca. 1940


An unattributed helmet. Courtesy Canadian War Museum

Regiment de Hull

Regiment de Hull, ca. 1938

Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps

Royal Hamilton Light Infantry

The RHLI obtained permission to wear a red pugaree with the Universal pattern helmet and carried over the tradition with the introduction of the Wolseley. Courtesy RHLI Museum

Victoria Rifles of Canada

Scully-made helmet to the VRC. Unusual in the use of both a flash and a badge, ca. 1914. Courtesy Thierry Peano

University of  Western Ontario COTC

Unit flash applied to the khaki cover. The cover was optional and was worn over the white helmet for field wear. Courtesy Fort York. Courtesy Old Fort York

38th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force

The 38th Bn, CEF later became the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa and this helmet is marked to Major Olver, who later commanded the CHofO. Ca. 1918. Courtesy CHofO museum.

XII Manitoba Dragoons

Princess Louise Fusiliers

Queen's York Rangers (1st Americans)

Mississauga Horse

Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment

Royal Canadian Engineers

Royal Canadian Hussars

Dufferin and Haldimand Rifles of Canada

An early Wolseley with unique pugaree and badged to the 38th Dufferin and Haldimand Rifles, ca. 1939. The pugaree was approved in September 1937. Although Allied with the King's Royal Rifle Corps, who wore a white pugaree, the regiment successfully argued with HQ that they wanted to use the Regimental colours and then admitted to having 500 pugarees on hand. The addition of the badge was approved in 1939.

 Courtesy emedals.com


Corps of Guides

Corps of Guides helmet with a pugaree of Muslin, consisting of 4 folds of khaki and two folds of scarlet in the centre. Courtesy R.V. Taboika.

Lorne Scots

Courtesy Richard E. Ruggle, Lorne Scots Museum

Royal Canadian Navy




An proposed pattern pugaree for CF Musicians, ca. 1970