Monthly Archives: October 2014

Tuesday Finds

Well it was back to the market today after my holiday and it was nice to get a good haul, at either end of my collecting time range with some nice WW1 items and some very good cold war stuff.

1919 Souvenir Peace Cup

This delightful little cup was produced in 1919 and commemorates the end of the first world war. It is about three inches high with transfer decoration:

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On the front is a laurel wreath for victory surrounding a dove of peace with the flags of the allies around:

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There are then two contrasting scenes for war:

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And peace:

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This is a higher quality souvenir piece than most as it is made by the Aynsley factory:

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First World War Postcard

This postcard has a cartoon on the front of soldiers travelling in a French box car with some caricatured French children:

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On the rear is an intriguing message and stamps for the British Army Field Post office and ‘Passed by the Censor’:

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The message reads ’22.10.18. I have had some. am quite well. Love Bel’ This message implies the sender might have been wounded and is sending a message to a loved one reassuring her he is okay.

Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment Cap Badge

Most Cap Badge collectors like pristine clean badges, however this well polished cap badge is rather appealing to me. It has clearly been well used, indeed it is almost polished smooth in many areas. To me as a collector of general militaria rather than a pure cap badge collector this badge is far more interesting for having been used by a soldier, clearly over many years. Soldiers often polished their badges this smooth deliberately as it was far easier to get a shine from smooth metal than the detail of a new badge:

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Meet the Royal Navy Programme

This programme is for the visit of a squadron of the Home Fleet to Liverpool in 1965:

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Inside the ships of the squadron are listed and a small biography of each is given:

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The ships visiting are HMS Tiger (cruiser), HMS Centaur (Aircraft Carrier), HMS Kent (Guided Missile Destroyer), HMS Dido (Frigate), HMS Berwick (Frigate), HMS Oracle (Submarine), Brave Borderer and Brave Swordsman (Fast Patrol Boats), HMS Iveston and Wolverton (Minesweepers) and RFA Olynthus (Fleet Replenishment Tanker). It is depressing to think today that at the time this was merely a squadron from one of the fleets in the RN…

Royal Navy Publicity Material

This pack of publicity material dates from just before the Falklands war in 1981. It is housed in an RN folder:

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Inside is a message from the Admiral of the Fleet:

70C19A9F-5163-4ECC-8949-99C7EA80B655 A booklet giving details of the fleet at the time:

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And a fold out leaflet highlighting facts about the RN since the end of WW2:

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1960 Pattern British Army Parka

The Korean War led to a major review of the clothing issued to the British Army, serge battledress and greatcoats were found to be woefully inadequate in the frozen winters of the Korean Peninsula. The system that replaced it included a lined parka in olive drab. This design was to be manufactured into the 1970s, despite being given an erroneous pattern number implying it was part of the 1960 pattern combat clothing.

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This example probably dates from the early to mid 1960s, the label changing from white in early examples to black lettering on green in later examples. It is named to a ‘Wroe’ presumably the same chap as the nuclear calculator bought a few weeks back from the same seller:

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The parka is made of an olive drab cotton with large plastic buttons and a zip up the front, inside is an artificial fleece liner:

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Instructions inside give details of care for the parka:

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NBC Casualty Bag

One of the problems facing soldiers fighting in an NBC environment is evacuation if they become injured. Most NBC suits are heavy, hot and difficult to work in at the best of times, once someone is seriously injured they are at much greater risk of contamination. To get around this casualty bags were issued that allowed an injured man to be put inside them and then evacuated to somewhere he could be treated.

Like most other items of NBC gear this bag is vacuum sealed to prevent damage and to take up the minimum space possible:

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The label inside identifies it as ‘Bag, Casualty, Chemical Protective Mk1’ and dates it to April 1978:

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Indian made Overalls

These overalls were another welcome addition to my collection from a friend who was downsizing his collection. These overalls are Indian made for MT (motor transport) use. They are often erroneously referred to as tankers overalls, but no specialist AFV clothing was produced in KD for tropical and desert areas:

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The overalls are made of a fairly rough KD cotton, with a pocket on the breast and thigh. They have been tailored by having the sleeves shortened and elastic fitted to the trouser hem. The suit is fastened up the front with simple metal buttons:

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For ventilation the underarms are open:

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There are lots of markings inside the suit, the main ones relating to the suit are in the collar and unusually for an Indian made item there is a manufacturers mark alongside the circular date mark. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to recognise who the manufacturer is, so if anyone can identify them then please let me know:

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In addition to these marks are a series of separate letters and numbers. As some of these are cut and sewn at the seams I am guessing they are acceptance marks for the cloth the suit is made from rather than the suit itself:

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Happily this set of MT overalls is in great condition and fits me, so all being well I will have a fine day next year to wear them to a WW2 event…

 

 

Machetes

After an enjoyable week away, I am back and posts will resume now! Tonight we are looking at a pair of machetes. Machetes were carried by corporals in a section as part of their standard kit, however in the dense jungles of the Far East it was common for every soldier to carry a blade to help hack through the vegetation.

I have two machetes in my collection of different patterns, one british and  one australian:

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The upper straight machete is australian, stamped on the blade ‘Whittingslowe, Adelaide’ with a D/|\D acceptance mark:

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This machete seems to have been an exclusively australian design, with a 19 inch blade. The sheath does not seem to have been designed for this blade as it protrudes slightly from beneath when inserted. The sheath is dated 1944:

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The lower of the two blades is an English blade of the ‘bolo’ type.  This example is a post war dated example made by Martindale:

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This example is dated 1956:

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This particular design of blade stayed in use with the British army into the sixties and still sees service in the Kenyan army.

Both these blades ares still perfectly serviceable and have been used in the garden to good effect!

 

Everything Bar the Kitchen Sink (part 3)

After a long break, we are back with part three of ‘Everything Bar the Kitchen Sink’. Today we are looking at the small pack and its contents. The set up below is what I carry in my small pack for re-enacting and is by no means definitive, but it is broadly representative of the small kit carried by troops in the Normandy campaign.
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1. Jumper (Replica)- Soldiers were issued with a tan woollen jumper to wear under their BD blouse in cold weather. It was not uncommon to see troops out of the line just wearing the jumper and leaving the BD blouse off as the jumper was far more comfortable.

2. Playing Cards- For centuries soldiers have kept packs of cards with them to play in the long boring lulls between action or tasks. Even today playing cards are a common item in troop’s pockets. Officially gambling was forbidden, but this rule was frequently ignored and card games in which money changed hands were common.

3. 37 Pattern Small Pack- The small pack was made of webbing and introduced with the 37 pattern webbing equipment. It was secured to the rest of the webbing by L-Straps and was divided internally by cotton drill panels.

4. Underpants- These 1943 dated underpants were made in Australia and are made of heavy wool. They come almost down to the knee and were a useful item to keep warm in winter- even if not in the least bit flattering to the wearer.

5. Lilliput Magazine- small A5 magazines were commonly carried in packs- Men Only and Lilliput being the favourites. Lilliput was slightly more high brow with only tasteful ‘artistic’ nudes in it!

6. Washroll- See ‘Everything Bar the Kitchen Sink’ Part One for more details

7. Sterilizing Kit- This tin contains two jars of sterilising tablets- one sterilises the water in the soldier’s bottle, the other takes the foul taste of the sterilizing tablet away.

8. Mess Tins and Covers- the pair of rectangular mess tins fitting inside one another have been standard issue to troops for over 70 years now, replacing the D- shaped tins of the previous 150 years. It seems that if a design works, don’t mess with it!

9. Mirror (replica)- This small metal mirror in a cloth case would have been used for both shaving and as a signalling device. Metal is far more useful for combat equipment as it doesn’t shatter like a traditional mirror.

10. Towel- British army towels were rough thin cotton towels rather like a tea towel. This example is dated 1942 and has the /|\ in the corner.

11. Emergency Ration Tin- This metal tin contained a vitamin enhanced chocolate used as an emergency ration to be used by the soldier if all other supplies were cut off. It was only to be opened on the orders of an officer.

12. Housewife or ‘Hussif’- The housewife is a small sewing kit containing replacement buttons, needles thread and wool for darning socks.

13. Clothes Brush- with the original owner’s number clearly displayed, brushes were commonly carried to allow a quick brush up to clear dried mud off of uniforms when soldiers came off the front line