State President’s Unit Parade Belt

In 1966 South Africa agreed to create a new unit to act as a ceremonial guard for the state president to act as a guard of honour at ceremonial events and to raise the prestige of the nation. A new ceremonial uniform was designed and used for several decades, but in 1985 it was decided to update the uniform to bring it more closely in line with that worn by the rest of the army. The new uniform had the same nutria brown and pale tan colours of the regular army’s uniform, but embellished with special insignia, a pith helmet with a spike and strategic piping in the national colours of orange, blue and white:

One element of this dress that was particularly distinctive was the belt which used these national colours and had a large and ornate buckle:

The buckle is circular in shape and gold in colour, with the badge of the President mounted on the front in silver:

The buckle has a hook and loop arrangement on the rear to fasten the two parts together:

A pair of metal c-hooks and white fabric loops are provided to allow the belt to be adjusted to size, the ends being folded back on themselves and secured with the c-hook and the loop pushed up next to the buckle halves to tidy the belt up:

The loops are secured on the rear with small white metal rivets and here the original owner has written his name on the rear in black ink to allow him to identify his belt easily:

The belts are seen here on parade in South Africa in the late 1980s, note the use of old Lee-Enfield rifles for drill work, far better suited to ceremonial drill than either the R1 or R4 rifles would have been:

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