DPM Jungle Shirt

Although the British Army adopted Disruptive Pattern Camouflage (DPM) for its standard combat uniforms from the late sixties, it was nearly ten years later before DPM was used on uniforms for jungle and tropical wear. The introduction of DPM No 9 jungle uniform began in about 1977, with three lightweight uniforms issued to each man in the tropics. Tonight we are looking at an example of the shirt:imageThis shirt is made of a very lightweight cotton, with a simple patch pocket over each breast, secured by a green plastic button:imageThis example came with a pair of lieutenant colonel’s slip on rank slides; one on each shoulder strap:imageThis senior rank might explain why the shirt has sewn Union Flags on each shoulder:imageThese were not introduced until later- most other ranks using a removable brassard. These might be a later addition, or a personal affectation of the officer. The collar of the shirt has a loop for hanging and a button hole to allow the neck to be closed:imageThe label inside the shirt is pre metric, a size 7 and the contract number dates the shirt to 1977:imageThis puts the shirt in one of the first batches of shirts produced and it was manufactured by James Smith & Co Ltd of Staveley. These shirts were in use throughout the next two decades until the CS95 shirt became more common. In this view from 1985, the jungle uniform is shown to good effect by troops practicing a beach landing in Cyprus:SKMBT_C36416010511410_0001These shirts were incredibly popular and were worn by troops long after they had been replaced by what many soldiers felt was a poorer quality substitute. The shades of DPM vary, but most of these early examples are fairly ‘luminous’- this example appearing much brighter in the flesh than these photographs suggest.

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