The history of British Army combat uniforms over the last thirty years is a complex one, that does not always leave the army procurement system glowing in praise. Following the first Gulf War a new combat uniform was trialled and developed and introduced as the ‘Combat Soldier 95’ or CS95 uniform. In some respects this was a logical development of earlier uniforms, but introduced a number of innovative features that have been carried forward to the current MTP uniform. Tonight we are looking at a shirt in Desert Disruptive Pattern material (DDPM):This pattern of camouflage had first appeared in the Gulf War when it was rushed to troops in the field, the British Army not having needed desert uniforms up until that point. This uniform has two large bellowed breast pockets with slots for pens:Each is secured with a button, held on with cotton tape:These buttons are the most distinctive feature of the uniform and are designed to prevent soldiers losing buttons when the thread holding them to the uniform breaks. The uniform also does away with shoulder mounted rank slides, and instead provides a place for them to be secured on the front of the chest:Buttons on the cuffs allow the shirt to be secured around the wrist:This example is particularly nice in having a pre-sewn tactical recognition flash for the 11th Light Brigade, which uses a bull as its symbol:This is position beneath a small Union Flag indicating the wearer is British. The inside of the shirt has a sewn in label giving sizing and contract details:As can be seen this shirt appears to be unissued. These uniforms were worn in both the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns and have now been superseded by Multi Terrain Pattern camouflage that works better in the contrasting terrains that can be found in both these theatres.
The CS95 uniform is based on the layering process, as illustrated by this Army poster from 1995 when the new uniform was introduced: This shirt was worn over a t-shirt and a jacket could be added over the top is required, although the quality of British Army uniforms has been on a downward spiral since the 1960s, the sophistication of their wear has been increasing and offering more flexibility to troops.