Private Salvation Army Museum Basle, Switzerland

»Early Uniform (Major)
»Pins and brooches
»Movies, Theater, Musicals
»Site Map

  Deutsch   German version Salvation Army Museum Basel  
  English   English Version  
The development of the Salvation Army uniform
"The Christian Mission" changed its name to "The Salvation Army" in 1878 and along with this change of name came a change to a more military structure with ranks and as well, military style uniforms were adopted two years later.
Already before this change of name some members of the Christian Mission did use expressions like "warrior" or "soldier of Christ" which was not uncommon for this time. The song "Onward Christian Soldier" is not a Salvation Army song but a hymn which was composed these years and was utilized as church music.
Two salvationists in early uniform It was George Scott Railton who used the title General for William Booth already before the military structure was officially adopted. George Scott Railton was surely one of the persons who did influence by his behaviour and writing the development of the Christian Mission into the military direction.

In the year 1880 salvationists started to wear military style clothes. In the beginning, the wearing of either a brooche, a "S" or a pin was an important distinctive mark. On old photos it is visible, that many of the mostly not wealthy salvationists did wear sweaters or jerseys. On the sweaters was mostly either the crest or the name of the Salvation Army embroidered.
From 1883 onwards, soldiers were actively encouraged by the General, to be outfitted in specially prepared uniforms with insignias displaying rank.
A uniform had a high standing collar and below were worn Jerseys. Often there was either the crest or the name "Salvation Army" on these.
  George S. Railton with his wife on a CDV in the Salvation Army Museum at Basel
Commissioner Railton with his wife on a CDV in the Salvation Army Museum Basel
            » top