Not every innovation and new piece of equipment introduced into the British Army is a success. Tonight we look at one of the less well thought out items of clothing introduced after the Second World War. During the war the British Army had moved away from its traditional Khaki Drab clothing to rely more heavily on Jungle Green as the war moved into the jungles of Burma. KD clothing was conspicuous in the dark dappled light of a jungle, green was far more effective! The earliest jungle green clothing was made simply by dying existing batched of KD uniform into a variety of green shades, but by 1943 uniforms began to be made from new in the green jungle shade.
After the war a review of tropical clothing was instigated, and alongside the adoption of the 44 pattern webbing was the introduction of the 1950 pattern tropical uniform. This was available in both KD and JG and tonight we are going to look at the trousers from this set:The most obvious introduction on this uniform was also its biggest weakness; the fastening at the waist by crossing straps and side buckles:The use of the crossing straps was to allow trousers to be more widely adjusted to allow them to be worn even if a soldier suffered major weight loss in the jungle. The cloth straps have reinforced eyelets and these are used with a pair of removable metal buckles. These buckles dug into the soldier’s waist after a while, especially if he was wearing heavy equipment over the top and it was this especially that caused troops to dislike the new design of uniform.
The fly is fastened by a series of plastic buttons:Whilst on the left leg is a large patch pocket:This mirrors the pocket fitted to battledress trousers of the period, officially it was for maps, but it seems likely that the pocket, being nice and large, would have been used for anything a soldier felt he could fit in it comfortably. On the seat of the trousers are two further buttoned pockets:Sadly the label on this pair of trousers is missing, just the outline of the stitching remains alongside an inked waist size of 34”:These trousers were issued extensively to troops serving in the later stages of the Malayan Emergency, Borneo and Indonesia, remaining in service until the introduction of light weight tropical DPM uniforms.