Short Puttees

The DMS boots worn with short puttees were the ubiquitous choice of footwear throughout the 1960s and 1970s and it was only when the shortcomings of this system were highlighted in the Falklands War that it was finally superseded by one piece high leg type boots. The short puttees were less than half the length of their World War One counterparts but were made in the same style of khaki brown wool, with woven cotton tapes:imageThe material of the puttee was folded to a point and the woven tape sewn on:imageThe opposite end was merely doubled back on itself and sewn together to prevent the fabric from fraying and coming undone:imageWhen not being worn, it was typical for the puttees to be rolled up, with the tape wrapped around:imageShort puttees had been reintroduced in 1950 and the official list of changes recorded:

Clothing and Necessaries.- Puttees, short, re-introduction

  1. Approval has been given for the issue of one pair of puttees, short, to each British other rank serving in overseas commands and garrisons where tropical clothing is worn. Puttees, short, jungle will be issued in areas where green tropical clothing is worn and puttees, short in other areas. The scale of anklets web to be reduced from 2 pairs to 1 pair. On issue of puttees, short, one pair of anklets, web will be withdrawn and placed in normal maintenance stocks under local arrangements.
  2. Where no stocks of puttees, short, exist, demands for initial issue, plus normal maintenance stocks, will be submitted through normal channels. Issue will be made when supplies become available.
  3. When stocks of puttees, short, jungle become exhausted puttees, short will become the standard pattern for wear in all areas.

One old soldier recalls:

I wore “short puttees” in the TA in the late 70’s/early 80’s, and quite liked them, though I did hear stories of broken ankles being caused by them. imagePuttees seem to have been phased out in the mid-1980s, not always to the pleasure of troops some of whom were very fond of the short puttee:

In about 1985 I was still wearing DMS & Puttees, because of an earlier injury the medics had supplied them with extra padding and support. When on what the Royal Signals called their annual sqn. battle camp I was ordered, despite my protest and med chit to wear my brand new unbroken Combat High Boots for a CFT.

Result, I just managed to complete the CFT ,reported to medics to treat blisters, when I took my boots off so much blood ran out that I was immediately put on a saline drip.

I did not complain but medics where appalled and reported the matter to their boss the Senior MO of the Garrison.

I don’t know if it was related but within 3 months both the OC and me were posted and, ironically, both promoted.

I must say that once broken in and laced correctly I found the high boot gave good support and was especially waterproof compared to old DMS boot. I still have my last issue of boot which 20 odd years after discharge I still use in the worst winter weather.image

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