An early picture which may be dated 1800 shows an officer of the "Leicestershire Light Horse" wearing a hat instead of a helmet.


Sketch, by Harry Payne, of the LYC adorned top hat. Modern replica of the adorned top hat.


This practice was common among volunteer infantry and to a certain degree among cavalrymen. The civilian type round hat with a wide brim was ornamented in a military fashion. This particular hat has a large fur crest over the to a bushy feather plume - white over red - a large black rosette on the left side on which is placed a metal badge. This was a crowned garter with what may be the "GR" cypher in the centre.

The raised Yeomanry wore the fur-crested Light Dragoon helmet (the Tarleton Helmet) as may been seen from a print of 1813 and an actual helmet. The Helmet has silver white metal fixings with the regimental title on the label above the peak. No badge was worn on the side. The presence of chin-scales indicates a later version of the helmet. The turban was of red silk.


The officers helmet would have had a high crown with a bearskin fur crest, large white over red hackle and the O/R would have had a low crown with a "Goat skin" crest. It is not confirmed if the O/R had a white over red plume, if they did then it would certainly be a smaller version to that of the Officers.


An LYC Officers early Tarleton Helmet c1800 seen and sketched by Harry Payne (the artist) at a Military Exhibition in Chelsea, London in 1890. The Turban is not pink but scarlet.... when Harry Payne sketched the Helmet it was already 90 years old and the silk would have faded considerably.


Manufacturer's mark.


LYC Officers Light Dragoon (Tarleton) helmet circa 1820. The rose ear boss and chin scales are dated circa 1812-17.


Taken from a painting (c1841) of J Kirk, QM of the LYC, here you can see the colour of the turban and the silver fittings of the helmet. 


In September 1844 the new Bell Top Shako was worn in the new uniform (Leicester Chronicle 1844 : The Leicestershire Yeomanry Cavalry).


 In  a portrait of Lt. Col G A Legh-Keck, an engraving of 1851, shows a broad topped Shako. It is possible that the original may have been painted many years before . This shako had a large drooping plume of white feathers, Silver lace around the top and a front plate of gilt and silver. An existing shako has large rings on the chin chain and lion head ear bosses. The front plate had "LYC" on a plate with sharply cut ends and a triple scroll with "Prince Albert's Own".

The picture (above) is taken from a portrait of Lt. Col G A Legh-Keck from 1856.


An example of the Shako worn circa 1850; note the black horse hair stand plume. The Shako plate has a separate crown above, and the scroll work "Prince Albert's Own".

Bell top Shako interior with the makers label.


LYC Officers forage cap c1861


A black leather helmet introduced about the time of the Crimean war had the same plate in front as well as the same ear bosses. The leather helmet had been tried experimentally by two regular regiments c1853 but was not taken into general use. One existing example has a black hair plume issuing from a top ball and holder similar to that on an Albert helmet all fittings in white metal.


P.A.O Leicestershire Yeomanry Cavalry Helmet circa1860's.

The Black plume was in use from 1859 to 1868 and the White from 1868 to 1870.

This pattern helmet was worn by a number of Yeomanry regiments, all of which seemed to have adopted it about 1859-60. It was copied from that experimentally issued to two of the regular Light Dragoon regiments in 1853-54, but which was not finally approved for the regular cavalry.  


HAWKES No. 78 Book, 1859 : Leicester Yeomanry : Leather helmet. Like M.A., skull and peaks in one place; all plated mounts, back bar like M.A.; chain and heads; f front ornt. in G.s.p. star with crown and scroll. Plume: Black 6 1/2; Mount Inf G.s.p. Rose, no bottom. 


 By 1873 the Busby was introduced, with a red bag, somewhat in RHA style, but with a white over red plume.

LY Busby introduced c. 1873 O/R example  (left) and Officers (Right)



Trumpet Major William Rouse c1897.

The PAOLYC Mounted band wore a Busby with a plain "white" busby bag and a full white plume.



LY Busby cords, Other Ranks (White Cord) and Officers (Silver Cord).


The busby was worn at certain times, but generally the Hussar forage cap was worn. The forage cap was worn with a tilt to the right side and was decorated with varying amounts of silver lace according to rank. A trooper would have a plain blue cap with a scarlet band, a corporal two thin bands of lace slightly separated, a sergeant one thick band with a sliver top knot and an Officer with a thick band and decorated lace top .... the level of detail in the lace would determine the seniority. Generally the ranks had buttons at the top of the cap silver net covered or blue according to rank, the officers tended not to have one but there are examples where they do.


LYC Officers Pillbox Forage Cap, the lace detail is the same as the 11th Hussars.


Colour Top Figure Lace Seam Button
Army Blue 11th Hussar Silver Oak leaf Army Blue None

Lily & Pomergranate

The Leicestershire Yeomanry Officers Pillbox forage cap was blue in the style of the 11th Hussars, with Silver Oak leaf lace, with no edged seam and no top button.


HAWKES No. 78 Book, 1859 : Leicester Yeomanry : Forage Cap : Blue top, one-piece; tulip pattern braid top and purl button; no braid on edge, no peak; 1 3/4" silver oak band.


LYC in 1899 with Hussar forage caps.

The "Pill Box" hat according to NCO Rank. Rank insignia is taken from a photo of C Squadron 1899.


The PAOLYC Mounted band are recorded as wearing a full scarlet pill box hat with a silver lace band and top button in an oil painting of a band member.


PAOLYC "Bonnet de Police"

(the example above is a representation)


For fatigue and stables men were issued with woollen cloth red hats with a tassel, these were in the style of the French soft woollen cap called the "Bonnet de Police"; popular with cavalry regiments, French and British, in the early 1800's. There appears to have been two versions, one for smart occasions (as seen below) and a later knitted wool version for general stable and fatigue work. The "Bonnet de Police" has been worn, only, by the "other ranks" of the Yeomanry since the 1880s (possibly since 1873) and peculiar to the Prince Albert's Own Yeomanry it seems. The adoption of this hat by the PAOLYC is possibly due to the "vogue" for all things French during this period and also its use is in keeping with Hussar and Light Dragoon Regiments. It could possibly have been in use by the Yeomanry during the early 1800s, but there is no recorded evidence for this.


You can clearly see the "Prince Albert's Own" in their smarter version "Bonnet de Police" worn as an "alternative" to the pillbox (the Derbyshire Yeomanry can also be seen), this photo is taken at a boxing match at Croxton Park Camp on the 13th May 1899. The officers organised a boxing tournament on the evening, with professional pugilists from London fighting for gold purses.


The pictures below show how the original woollen hat has evolved to the present day.


Traditionally the turn up would be the colour of the regiments facing edged in the braid colour and the main body the uniform colour. The colour & braid of the busby bag would also be the same. The plain Scarlet Bonnet de Police, of the PAOLYC, makes sense as the Busby bag for the regiment is simple and uncomplicated. Officers of the Queens Royal Hussars still wear an evolution of the "Bonnet de Police" to this day. In the picture below (right) the QRH Brigadier wears the Green and Gold colours of the 8th (Kings Royal Irish) Hussars.

Pictured above is a mid 1900s Cheshire Yeomanry Tent cap. 


The "Torin" cap is an evolution of the "Bonnet de Police" and is worn by British officers from c1885 onwards until the further evolution, the "Field service Cap" c1900.


LYC "Torin" (c1890's) or Field Service Cap of the Yeomanry.


A modern copy of the LYC Torin cap.


By the 1890's the "Torin" field cap and the Folding side cap had been introduced, these were worn with the serge patrol jackets and were also used with Mess kit. This replaced the Pillbox for the Officers around this period.


Folding Service dress Side hat with the LIY, still in use today with the L&D (PAOY). Introduced in 1898.

Extract: Messrs Hawkes : No. 1 or "D" Book of 1869-73

With later annotations dated 4th April 1899 :-

"Service Cap (F.S), new regulation scarlet, per the Adjutant {Cpt. C T McM Kavanagh, XRH}, silver LYC & crown badge (bullion), 2 G.S.P. vest 1/2 ball buttons."

1900 : Noted :- "Made for (Captains) Robinson & Willoughby, May 1900, Caps.

1900-01: Noted, Messrs Hamburger "All scarlet, blocked, silver welts throughout. With LIY and crown (bullion) badge"


South Africa 1900-02

The slouch hat was worn in the 2nd Boer War by the Imperial Yeomanry and also the Cavalry Pith Helmet, the elongated blunt back shape proved efficient in protecting against being struck on the back of the head. Made from  "Cork Pith", covered in cotton twill and a cotton turban, this hat was often "dunked" in water, before wearing, to create an evaporation effect for cooling the wearer.


Imperial Yeomanry
Lt. The Hon. P C Evans-Freke pictured here in the uniform of the Imperial Yeomanry, his folding Forage cap is the "Imperial Yeomanry" with a small white metal badge of the Imperial Yeomanry (Prince of Wales Feathers) with gilt coronet. It had a purple body and peak with a red crown and gold piping and the buttons were gilt with white metal POW feathers and gilt coronet. According to W Y Carman's book on Yeomanry Headdress, the purple seems to have indicated the "Imperial purple" of Rome and was kept by the new Yeomanry Regiments such as the "The City" of London Westminster Dragoons and the Rough Rider's (or the "Devil's Own").



The Slouch hat and Pith helmet worn in the Boer War by the PAOLYC.

A genuine PAOLYC 7thCoy/4thBtn IY pith helmet from the 2nd Boer War, also showing the interior and makers label (With thanks to B (LDYPAO) Squadron RY Officers Mess).



Lt F W Martins IY Slouch hat, 7th Sqn/4th Btn IY

(With thanks to B (LDYPAO) Squadron RY Officers Mess).


Staff Pattern Peaked Forage Cap, Officers LIY (Field Officer, Left). Introduced in 1902.


Leicestershire Yeomanry Captain's uniform and cap. A scarce scarlet dress cap tailored by E. Taut & Sons 485 Oxford Street W. Scarlet body and crown, with black patent leather peak and chinstrap. Complete with silvered regimental device and plain ball pattern buttons. The interior with tailor's details and stitched silk sweatband.


Leicestershire Yeomanry Officer's scarlet dress cap. A scarce example tailored by Herbert Johnson London. Scarlet body and crown, with black patent leather peak and chinstrap. Complete with silvered Regimental device and plain ball pattern buttons. The interior with tailor's details, leather sweatband with pierced initials P.W.P. Complete with a japanned storage tin bearing a brass name plate Edmund Paget Leicestershire I.Y.


The scarlet "Bonnet de Police" can clearly be seen here in the A Squadron lines in 1905.


Other Ranks LIY plain blue peaked forage cap and the welt of the crown was scarlet piping, pre 1908. The cap shown is a more modern example from the Royal Engineers.


This O/R cap turned up for sale on eBay in December 2009, unfortunately the date of the cap itself cant be confirmed. The cap is in very good condition and could be a more modern cap that has had the LIY badge attached to it (the cap badge was in-fact an "original" collar badge). However, the centre band is unusual  and the cap buttons are also covered in a black material therefore could have been used for a funeral. Until another example appears then it can only be speculated that the cap is an original.


In 1911 the other ranks peaked forage cap changes by the addition of the red central band and the badge becomes LY.


The knitted wool version of the PAO "Bonnet de Police" hat is seen here at Diss in October 1914.



(the example above is a modern replica of the early 1900s kitted wool version)


World War 1


A modern reproduction of the Trench cap.


A modern reproduction of the Trench Cap waterproof.



Brodie helmet complete with it’s original 2-piece khaki cover. High quality interior with felt lined crown, thick leather liner with draw string and 2 outer bands of black felt and khaki cotton. Tailors label to crown, indistinct (see photo). Thick leather chin strap with brass buckle.


Post War


Other Ranks Service Dress Cap 1908-47 (with the 1928-39 white metal cap badge).


Other Ranks Service Dress Cap.


LY Other Ranks Dress Side hat 1940 on becoming Field Artillery, RA.


World War 2

World War II "Tommy" Helmet



desert camo helmet with tan over paint for North Africa desert camo.


ORs Field service side cap


Officers Field Service Cap cWW2

(KC  "LIY" bullion cap badge is worn from post 1920-56)


154th LYPAO FR RA GS Beret, with the Royal Artillery Red/Blue TRF.


Post War


LY Other Ranks No1 Dress Cap as Field Artillery, an all scarlet cap was introduced for the other ranks on rejoining the Royal Armoured Corps in 1947.


LY Beret (Royal Blue)


L&D (PAOY) Officers Dress Cap c1960's.

L&D (PAOY) Officers Service Dress cap with "Gilt & White Metal" cap badge (with 15mm rings) and plain white metal strap buttons, c1960's.


L&D (PAOY) Beret (Royal Blue) with red cloth backed "brass" badge c1960's.


"Turtle" Battle Helmet.


L&D (PAOY) O/R Folding Field Service Cap.

This cap was the same pattern as the Officers and was purchased from Regiment and Squadron stores. The Cap was worn from 1958 until 1975, this cap had been worn on occasion post 1993.


L&D, PAOY Other Ranks


L&D, PAOY Officer


L&D (PAOY) O/R Dress Cap


 L&D (PAOY) O/R No2 Mounted Service cap

Last used in 1994 for the "Year of the Yeomanry" mounted section on a short course at the Household Cavalry, Windsor. Also used in 1991 for a selection course for the SAUMUR Cup held at the RAVC, Melton Mowbray, Leics.


Mk6 Kevlar Helmet.

Used in Iraq and Afghanistan by members of the L&D (PAOY) PAO Squadron.