After the Boer War of 1899-1902, many revisions were incorporated into British military dress. The British soldiers were wearing the new 1902 pattern service dress, combined with the 1908 pattern equipment, when they went to the trenches in 1914. This included a wool serge khaki tunic with pleated breast pockets (the pleats were discontinued after a time as an economy measure), and matching khaki trousers. Cut wool puttees were wrapped around the lower legs, and a gray wool collarless "grayback" shirt completed the basic dress.

In 1902 khaki, single-breasted greatcoat was issued to replace the black ones that had been formerly issued.

The 1908 webbing replaced the older leather belting, and the new design allowed the entire kit to be put on and taken off as a single unit. The P1908 webbing was built around a three-inch wide waist belt with a pair of two-inch wide braces attached to the front and running over the shoulders and crossing over in back. It was to this basic system the pack and ammunition pouches were affixed. Three, 15-round ammunition pouches were attached to each side of the waist belt, and two more were attached to each of the braces, so that a total of 10 pouches or 150 rounds could be carried. Shortages early in the war caused the British government to have some P08 belting made of brown leather instead.

The first change to this new uniform was that the soldiers almost immediately removed the stiffening wire from the brim of their caps. Caps without this wire were issued later in the war. On service in the field, heavy sacking material was sometimes stretched over the metal helmet, and a long, brown leather vest of jerkin was common as well. The mess tin, entrenching tool, bayonet, gas mask bag, absolutely everything a soldier might need in the field was affixed to the P-08 webbing, prompting this cartoon by Private Horace Bruckshaw of the Royal Marines ca.1916.