Britain dispatched troops to the verdant jungles of Malay to deal with communist terrorists from 1948 until 1960 and the British Army took advantage of the research and development of jungle clothing and equipment that the Lethbridge Commission had undertaken during the Second World War. The British infantryman of the early 1950s was dressed in some of the most advanced jungle equipment of the era and tonight we are looking at a recreation of such an infantryman from the early 1950s.
This soldier is about to go out on patrol in the jungle for a number of days and is fully equipped to survive for several days away from camp. He wears the 1950 pattern jungle green combat uniform, consisting of a loose field shirt and matching trousers. He wears the lightweight ‘bata’ jungle boots on his feet. These are effectively disposable and are unlikely to survive their trip into the jungle. By the time of his return they will be effectively destroyed and he will draw a new pair from stores. On his head he wears a late World War Two pattern jungle ‘boonie’ hat that offers protection from both the sun and rain. Around his neck is a pair of dogtags, now made form metal rather than fibre to better stand up to the humidity of the jungle. His webbing is the 1944 pattern set with two large ammunition pouches on his chest, one pouch holding spare Bren magazines for the section LMG, the other containing spare magazines for his Sten Mk V sub machine gun. His water bottle is made of aluminium and is carried in a water bottle carrier hung from the belt using M1910 style wire hanger hooks. On his back he wears the 1944 pattern haversack, with a folding saw attached to the top flap in its canvas carrier. Underneath the haversack he has a set of ground to air marker panels in their storage bag and a green rubberized poncho for protection from the rain. The haversack will contain spare clothing, mess tins, a cooker, rations and washing articles to help sustain him in the jungle. Although far larger than the earlier 37 pattern haversack, experience would prove that this haversack was still too small and a larger version would be developed and issued in the 1960s.
1. 1950 pattern jungle trousers 2. 1950 pattern jungle tunic 3. Identification discs 4. ‘boonie’ pattern jungle hat 5. Mk V Sten gun 6. Jungle ‘bata’ boots 7. 44 Pattern haversack with saw attached to top flap and air marker panels and poncho secured below 8. 44 pattern webbing set 9. No 9 socket bayonet