A couple of years ago we looked at an example of a 1980s SADF nutria brown shirt here. That shirt was the second pattern of SADF shirt and today we are looking at the first pattern adopted:
This uniform was adopted to replace the inadequate battledress style uniform that had been in service in the 1960s. The new uniform was developed and manufactured from about 1970 onwards, but first saw widespread issue to the new intake of soldiers entering the SADF in 1971. The shirt is easily distinguished from its later counterpart by the shape of the pockets which have a scalloped cut, coming to a point in the centre of each flap:
This contrasts with the straight cut of the flaps on the later pattern. The pockets are easily distinguished on period photographs such as this one:
The shirts have printed labels in the back of the neck, in tis case despite being rather worn it is possible to make out the maker’s name, designation ‘shirt men’s’, an NSN number and the date of 1970 indicating that this shirt was one of the initial batch produced at the very introduction of this uniform into South African service.
The nutria brown uniform would serve South Africa well for the next 30 years, and some items of nutria brown equipment are still in service now. Having both the first and second pattern of shirt has allowed me to really improve the authenticity of my own impressions and we will return to the matching early pattern trousers in the new year.