The army has always deployed to hot areas, in the past the risk of sun burn was just accepted as one of those things and men had to get on with it. Today however there is more emphasis on prevention and the army issues its own sun cream to troops deploying to hot areas to protect them from sun burn and any related problems that arise from this such as skin cancer. Military issue sun cream is chemically the same as civilian sun cream, however it is deliberately non-perfumed. On operations surprise might be lost by an enemy smelling a different odour, such as a soldier’s sun cream, so it is sensible to avoid that risk by issuing unscented versions. The sun cream used by the army is called ‘Delph’ and comes in a green squeezy tube with black wording on it:The front of the tube indicates that this has an SPF rating of 30, is water resistant and acts a moisturiser:Standard manufacturer’s details and instructions are printed on the rear, along with an NSN number indicating it is British Army issue:The colour of the sun cream tubes must have changed at some point as one former soldier remembers:
Left the Army in 2009 – sun block was issued by the QMs before deployment. It is in nice civvie looking tube and no longer army dark green with merely an NSN on it. Same with mossie repellent – the dark green tubes with NSNs on seemed to put soldiers off using the sun block and mossie repellent! On my last overseas trip to a rather hot place I applied factor 50 all day every day and returned home looking even whiter and paler than I usually do whilst everyone else was well tanned.
The issue sun cream seems to have worked very well, one Army reservist Private Connor Nicholls explains how he got his nickname ‘Casper’:
It was Herrick 10 in 2009. The old issue sun cream from the army turns you really white. It’s so thick, and because I’m ginger I had to lather it on. The sun doesn’t agree with me! One guy said ‘you’re so white you look like Casper’ and that was it! It just stuck!