Providing uniforms was also a challenge. The NPA’s Equipment Committee advised on and selected the Newfoundland Regiment’s uniform. Two of the Committee members were local businessmen and veterans of the Boer War (1899-1902), thus were familiar with what was needed. They wanted the Regiment’s uniform to be distinctive and suggested Australian-style slouch hats, khaki jackets and trousers, and blue puttees. They had seen several units with blue puttees in Africa.
As each attested volunteer reported to the Orderly Room and Quartermaster’s marquis tent at Pleasantville, he was issued a khaki drill uniform, a pair of boots, a pair of puttees, two pairs of socks, underwear and a singlet (undershirt), two khaki shirts, a cardigan (referred to as a ‘guernsey’), two blankets, an enamelware plate and mug, and a knife, fork, and spoon.
The government decided that, wherever possible, clothing and equipment for the Regiment should be produced locally, in order to create employment for the people of the country. The regimental ‘greatcoats’ ordered from Montreal had not arrived at the beginning of September when the volunteers began training at Pleasantville. They did arrive before the Regiment was deployed, but not in time to be hemmed to a consistent length. They also had to order kit bags from away – the white kit bags had to be hastily coloured on board the Florizel using burnt sugar to lessen their whiteness.
The Regiment’s slouch hats had arrived from Montreal aboard SS Mongolian earlier on the same day as the Florizel departed with the Regiment, but could not be located among the ship’s cargo in time to be distributed to the men on the Florizel. Those men of the First Five Hundred (actually 537) that had them, wore their own caps on the crossing. Later, each man was issued a woollen hat. It would not be until 1916 that the steel trench helmet (‘shrapnel helmet’ or ‘Tin Hat,’) was issued to the soldiers for head protection.
A privilege that a returning solider of the Regiment was given was the entitlement to retain his uniform, including the greatcoat.