Royal Navy Class II White Drill Trousers

The Royal Navy has always needed tropical uniforms as well as those worn in the UK. Today we are looking at a pair of trousers that were issued in the 70s or 80s for wear by ratings in warm climates. These are a simple pair of white trousers, made of cotton drill:

By this period, zip flies were common and the trousers fasten in an entirely conventional method, compared to the bib front trousers that had been in use a few decades before:

The trousers have a pair of slash pockets at the hips, and a further, buttoned pocket on the seat. Loops are provided for a belt to be passed through:

The label inside is typical of this period, with both the NSN number, and the naval vocab number printed on it:

Bernard Uniforms was based in Harwich and the local paper reported the history of the factory:

The factory was launched in 1897 by Charles “Harry” Bernard. Workers tailored clothes for the Royal Family, Ministry of Defence, emergency services, Essex County Cricket Club and others.

The business also made its money by making garments for top designers like Paul Smith and Katharine Hamnett.null

In 1993, the Hobson Group acquired the business.

By 1997, the business was celebrating winning a £1.3million contract from the Ministry of Defence.

The three-year contract saw the factory produce 27,000 Royal Navy uniforms and marked a turnaround in fortunes for the company, which had the previous year made 20 of its employees redundant and put its remaining staff on three-day weeks.

But just a decade later, in July 2007, staff were left devastated when it was announced the company had gone into liquidation.

In total, 46 staff, mainly women, were left without jobs.

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