First World War Puttees

Availability: In stock


Worn by soldiers from many countries during the First World War, puttees were wrapped around the leg from the ankle to just below the knee. These reproductions are made from a khaki wool and like the originals are nine feet long.

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Perhaps the most loathed of all items of uniform, puttees required both patience and skill to achieve the fit and finish required by Regimental Sergeant Majors. A letter to the the 'Western Mail' on 24 September 1936, by an unnamed returned serviceman, describes the problems encountered with puttees by soldiers:

When the puttee was about half-way up the leg it would slip out of the hand and unroll in both directions. Recovered again and proceeding carefully and this time reaching the top, the tape end would show untidily in front. Unrolled again - forgetting in the process to also roll up the loose puttee - and commencing point moved an inch or so, the tape would eventually finish behind the leg where required, but the rolls would be standing out here and there about half an inch clear of the leg. With much patience one leg would at last be in order, but time would be sliiping on and when about half-way up the other leg the 'fall in' bugle would sound and that puttee necessarily wrapped around in a hurry. Like all things half done it would soon become undone, usually in a line of march, and strange to relate the No.10 boot of the chap behind would fall with unerring precision on that unrolling dragging puttee.

An article in 'The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts' on 14th August 1915, describes a means of winding puttees using twists in the puttee after a prescribed number of turns. This method seems to have been popular and is also remarked upon in the above letter to the 'Western Mail'.

In commencing to roll the cloth round the leg the end should be first placed against the ankle on the inside of the foot. When the puttee has been twice wound round the leg it should be turned completely over. That is to say, the back of the cloth should be twisted round to the front. The cloth should then be wound in the ordinary way until the fifth turn is reached, when the puttee should be twisted as before. The effect of reversing the cloth at the third and fifth turn is to neatly fold the straight puttee round the calf without fear of it slipping when the wearer is running or marching.

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