Date Codes on WW2 British Uniforms

British Army uniforms of the First and Second World war were normally manufactured with a label inside giving details of size, manufacturer and date. These labels are invaluable to collectors in confirming when a particular item of clothing dates from and are always the first thing I look at when buying a new uniform for my collection. Unfortunately these labels are often missing or washed out and then at first glance it becomes impossible to date an item of clothing. This is an example of a faded label from a service dress jacket:

2C04FD37-0B3E-46B6-9357-1292DCA74B6CLuckily for us though, the British Army also stamped clothing with letter codes that represent specific years, again this is from the service dress jacket:

57C49459-224E-4150-B6C8-1E4DD8496547 For many years these codes were something of a mystery to many of us, but thanks to the sterling work of a few members of the Warrelics Forum we now have access to a list of what the codes mean allowing collectors to date items in their collections. I hope the original poster ‘Anon’ wont mind me republishing the codes from the thirties to the fifties here for other collectors to take advantage of, hopefully they will be as useful to you as they have been to me!

t=1937 & 1956 *
s=1938 & 1957
r= 1939 & 1948
q=1940
p=1941
o=1942
n=1943
m=1944 & 1953
z=1945
l=1945, 1946 & 1953
e,p=1947 *
r=1948
a=1949
b,a=1950 *
b=1951
c=1952
l=1953
m=1954
d,o,t=1955 *
t=1956 & 1937
s=1957
f=1958
x=1959 *

As can be seen some of the letters were repeated and the pattern jumps around a bit, but a combination of the letter codes and a basic knowledge of the rough periods of manufacture for certain items lets us date things pretty easily. From this set of codes we can tell that the service dress jacket shown above with a code of N dates from 1943.

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