One item of personal kit I have been meaning to add to my collection for a while is a British Army hair brush. I was therefore very pleased to buy this example last week for the princely sum of £2.50:The brush consists of a wooden handle to which the bristles are attached, the handle is marked CWS, dated 1940 and has the /|\ mark:CWS stands for the Co-Operative Wholesale Society who provided good quality cheap household goods to the masses in the early part of the twentieth century. As with so many companies, the War Office placed large orders for equipment with them at the start of the war.
Turning the brush over reveals the bristles:I have seen reports that the bristles in hair brushes at this period were often made of whalebone bristles from the mouth of the whale, but I am unsure if this is the case with this brush. The bristles are distinctly softer than that used on WW2 army boot brushes and the shape of the brush makes it easy to distinguish between them. It must be remembered that the buzz cut so often associated with the military today was not fashionable at the time, rather a side parting with hair brylcreamed was commonplace and a hairbrush an essential element of male grooming during the war.