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BLUE PUTTIES

THE BLUE PUTTIES

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A puttee, also spelled puttie, is the name, adapted from the Hindi patti, bandage (Skr. patta, strip of cloth), for a covering for the lower part of the leg from the ankle to the knee, consisting of a long narrow piece of cloth wound tightly and spirally round the leg, and serving both as a support and protection, worn especially by riders, and taking the place of the leather or cloth gaiter. It was once adopted as part of the uniform of foot and mounted soldiers in several armies, including the United States Army and the armies of the British Commonwealth.

At the outbreak of World War I the Dominion of Newfoundland raised a regiment to fight. Lacking a local militia or garrison of soldiers, there were no military stores; uniforms had to be fashioned from scratch. Lacking khaki broadcloth, puttees were fashioned from blue broadcloth. The Newfoundland Regiment was thus nicknamed "The Blue Puttees".

In recognition of the unit's valour during the later battles at Ypres and Cambrai of 1917, King George V bestowed the regiment with the prefix "Royal" on 28 September, 1917, renaming them as the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. This was the only time in during the First World War that this honour was given and only the third time in the history of the British Army that it has been given during a time of war, the last occasion having been 101 years earlier.


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