Although the Disruptive Pattern Camouflage Uniform was introduced into general service in Australia in the mid to late 1980s, it had been trialed for a number of years beforehand and at least two different versions of the uniform had been considered. Today we are looking at an example at the second of these two trials patterns of shirt, dating from 1982. The camouflage pattern had already been agreed upon by this date, but the details of the cut, pocket layout and details were still being experimented with:
One obvious feature of these trials garments is the voluminous nature of the pockets. They are all bellows type pockets and have an expansion pleat across the front:
The top flap is secured by a pair of plastic buttons under a fly to prevent them from snagging. The breast pockets have a distinctive angle to them and their flaps to allow them to be more easily accessed when the soldier is wearing the uniform with webbing:
A small pocket is sewn to the sleeve and again, even this small pocket is of a bellows design:
These voluminous pockets were very popular and these trials shirts were sought after once the regular uniform was introduced because of them.
The shirt has a pair of epaulettes secured with a standard green plastic button to allow rank slides to be worn:
The bottom of the shirt has a draw string running around it allowing it to be drawn in:
Finally, for ventilation a set of three embroidered holes are provided under each arm pit:
The label is sewn into the back of the neck and dates the shirt to 1982. It has clearly seen service as a man’s name and number are written in permanent marker next to the label:
The trials uniform was worn with the later patterns of Australian produced M56 webbing as the 1988 Pattern Auscam webbing had not yet entered service and this makes for a very interesting transitional look with the camouflage uniform, but the older style of webbing and the SLR rifle- something we will return to in future months.