I am thirty five years old and have been collecting British Empire militaria seriously for the last ten years. I have also been involved in World War Two re-enactment and I was a reservist with the Royal Navy. I am married with a little boy and a little girl; I hope that as they gets older I can pass on my love of all things military to them as well (my wife might have other ideas though!).
I probably spend far more on militaria than I should, but as a tight Yorkshireman I am always on the lookout for a bargain and as my knowledge of my subject has increased so have my chances of finding that diamond in the rough. Just as I have learnt from other collectors through books and the web, I hope my blog will help highlight some interesting artifacts for reference by other collectors. I make no apologies for admitting that much of what I write is based on others’ original research, but hopefully the combination of this and the photos will be of value.
I started this blog because I realised I was collecting all these wonderful items and the vast majority went in a box and were never seen or enjoyed by anyone besides myself. I have found that writing these blog posts has encouraged me to research the items in my collection and increased my knowledge and understanding of them. Hopefully you will enjoy reading these posts as much as I have done writing them.
I am always happy to discuss commissions for writing articles and short pieces on British Military history for publication- just drop me an email at the address below. I have had the following pieces published:
Telephone Loudspeaker Control Unit, The Armourer, April 2017, pp94-95
Collecting on A Budget, The Armourer, May 2017, pp42-45
British WWII Webbing, The Armourer, June 2017, pp88-91
British Tank Crew in Normandy, The Armourer, July 2017, pp86-91
Small Arms of Dunkirk, The Armourer, September 2017, pp46-51
Stukas Over Dunkirk, The Armourer, September 2017, pp65-68
The Long Range Desert Group, The Armourer, October 2017, pp38-42
British 2in Mortar, The Armourer, October 2017, pp50-53
Heinkels over Britain, The Armourer, November 2017, pp62-65
The Panzer IV at Stalingrad, The Armourer, December 2017, pp80-83
Collecting the RAF, 100 Years of the RAF 1918-2018, 2017, pp124-128
Ragged Men of the Jungle, The Armourer, March 2018, pp78-81
Greek Army on Crete, The Armourer, April 2018, pp67-70
Death from Above, The Armourer, May 2018, pp92-95
Flying Kit of the Bomber Crews, The Armourer, June 2018, pp52-55
After the Dams Burst, The Armourer, June 2018, pp82-85
Uniforms and Equipment of US Cavalrymen, The Armourer, July 2018, pp40-43
The Tanks of Kursk, The Armourer, August 2018, pp78-81
British and Empire Uniforms in Italy, The Armourer, October 2018, pp55-58
The Uniform and Gear of the US Marine Corps, The Armourer, November 2018, pp64-67
Victory China, The Armourer, December 2018, pp60-63
Luftwaffe Flight Uniforms, A Guide to Collecting German Militaria, 2018, pp68-71
SOE Field Equipment, The Armourer, January 2019, pp44-47
Restoring Leather Militaria Items, The Armourer, February 2019, pp48-51
Cleaning Storage Grease, The Armourer, March 2019, pp54-55
Britain and the Russian Civil War, The Armourer, March 2019 pp66-6,9
Escape Gear, The Armourer, April 2019, pp47-50
Restoring Metal Objects, The Armourer, April 2019, pp82-85
Restoring Rusty and Tired Firearms, The Armourer, May 2019, pp73-76
Jungle Gear, The Armourer, June 2019, pp58-61
Restoring Uniforms and Clothing, The Armourer, June 2019, pp72-75
Restoring Ammunition Boxes, The Armourer, July 2019, pp87-90
The Personal Kit of a British Soldier at the start of the Asia Pacific War, History Hit, July 2019, here
British Airborne Gear, The Armourer, October 2019, pp54-57
The Uniforms of the Colonial Allies, The Armourer, November 2019, pp54-57
Getting Started in Living History Part 1, The Armourer, November 2019, pp73-76
Finnish Uniforms of the Winter War, The Armourer, December 2019, pp54-57
Beginner’s Guide to Living History Part 2, The Armourer, December 2019, pp78-81
Getting Started in Living History Part 3, The Armourer, January 2020, pp64-67
Getting Started in Living History Part 4, The Armourer, February 2020, pp58-61
Insuring your Collection, The Armourer, February 2020, pp54-56
Anzac Uniforms, The Armourer, March 2020, pp62-65
Japanese Imperial Army Uniforms, The Armourer, April 2020, pp54-57
Gebirgsjager Uniforms, The Armourer, May 2020, pp47-50
Canadian Uniform and Accoutrements, The Armourer, June 2020, pp36-39
Prussian Uniforms, The Armourer, July 2020, pp48-51
Luftwaffe Uniforms in the Battle of Britain, The Armourer, August 2020, pp40-43
USAAF Pacific Flight Gear, The Armourer, September 2020, pp40-43
Collecting the Channel Islands, The Armourer, October 2020, pp50-53
Collecting the Battle of El Alamein, The Armourer, November 2020, pp50-53
Collecting the Boer War, The Armourer, December 2020, pp56-58
Collecting the Gulf War, The Armourer, January 2021, pp43-46
Collecting Anzio, The Armourer, February 2021, pp44-47
1919 Pattern Naval Webbing, The Armourer, February 2021, pp49-52
1925 Pattern RAF Webbing, The Armourer, March 2021, pp34-37
Collecting the Somme, The Armourer, March 2021, pp47-49
1940 Pattern Cavalry Webbing, The Armourer, April 2021, pp34-37
Collecting the Invasion of Greece, The Armourer, May 2021, pp58-61
My first book, written in collaboration with Michael Skriletz, entitled ‘British Empire Uniforms 1919-1939’ is available on Amazon here.
If you have any questions about British and Empire Militaria, would like to discuss a display and/or lecture or have an interesting item of militaria you would be interested in parting with; please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi. I have just come across your blog. Brilliant! We all know different stuff, and I am learning stuff from yours. A friend has shown me a cross strap with a pouch 4.5in x 3.5 in x 1in deep sewn onto it (as part of the manufacture) marked MECo 1939. Any ideas what it is for? Best wishes, Owen.
Glad you like the blog. Do you have any pictures of the pouch? I am thinking it might be something to do with signalling equipment as there was a special brace produced for flare pistol holsters with a pouch sewn to it that held four 1 inch flare cartridges.
Wireless sets were provided with a pair of ‘Remote Control Units’, one to be attached to the set, and the other to be used at a distance via a telephone wire connecting the units. So for example an Artillery spotter could take up position on a hillside taking only the remote control unit and a reel of telephone wire with him. He could radio back information about the target even though he would be up to one mile away from the Wireless set. The strap belongs to an early Remote Control Unit and the integral pouch would contain connecting wires and plugs. A printed part number with a ZA prefix would be the cherry on the cake…..
Interesting blog. I have a question for you.
BTW… my book is “Military Sun Helmets of the World” not “hats.”
Whoops…will get it sorted. Teach me to proof read!
I see you need more of the stretcher bearers straps, I have a bundle of theme .
Thanks, I need another one so I have a pair (still missing the stretcher to go between though!). What date/condition are they?
Hello, came across your blog this evening after trying to find out some information about a wooden case that I got at a car boot at the weekend but I’m not having any luck. I was hoping you could shed a little bit of light on it. It’s a wooden case with a material handle and a broken latch. Inside the box are blue letters reading R.A.S.C SUPS. I have photos if needed. Inside were some old cartridge pen nibs (probably unrelated). I hope you can help. Thanks, Tiffany.
Definately sounds like some sort of supply box, the RASC was the Royal Army Service Corps, if you haven’t seen it already take a look at this post: https://hatchfive.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/rasc-condensed-milk-crate/ . Sadly the markings on these boxes are not always very sharp to start with and with seventy plus years of wear they can be very hard to make out. I would expect that at one point your crate would have had some writing on indicating its original contents (essential in a supply dump with tens of thousands of boxes). These boxes are not that common now as most were destroyed at the time, it would be interesting to see some pictures if you have time.
Yeah I can email you some pictures over? Where’s the best place to send them?
Sorry for the delay, please email me at email@example.com.
Hi there l to have just come across your site. I just found a 1912 naval magazine pouch in my grandfathers box in the attic…same as on your site. This has both magazine holders and in good condition. Makers mark to front J&A HILLMAN ltd 1915….broad arrow marked on inside with numbers 184. I believe he was issued this in the Police when he was a constable.
Hi Lawson, what a wonderful find. Its always special when you can find something with a family connection. Many of these pouches were sold off as surplus so they were repurposed for many things. Sounds like yours is nice and complete with all the internal clips- a rare survivor.
I’m researching military gear in my school museum in an attempt to catalogue what appears to be quite a collection. Most of it has no indication of previous ownership or origin, so I am doing this ‘cold’. Your blog has given me some really useful starting points and terminology to get going. I’m so glad I found you and will be dipping into your site as I work through the stock.
Thanks for sharing your collection.
Krugersdorp High School
I am glad its been useful. It sounds like you have a fascinating project there. Let me know if you need help with anything.
The photograph that you are using at the bottom of your 82 Pattern section is my work, if you wish to continue using it then please correctly credit the image to W.E. Storey Collection.
Not a problem, can you just let me know which post its on (there are quite a few on the 82 pattern set) and I will get it updated ASAP.
I see that you made the change, thank you,
Sent from Outlook
I have had an email to you rejected twice (firstname.lastname@example.org) you haven’t changed your address have you?
Yes the email has changed as I have a new job. My email is now email@example.com – no middle initial!
Hi , i was seaching for information on a RAF great coat and can upon your blog . I am in the process of selling what now seems to be , according to your description a 1951 onwards new pattern great coat. I am selling it on behalf of a woman friend whose husband has altheimers and is now in a home. I would be greatful if you could guide me on what it could be worth. It looks in very good condition but only has 9 of the 10 buttons attacted .Regards Philip Regler.
Hi Phillip, the post war coats are not as desirable as wartime issue examples so you could expect to get between £30 and £60 for one on a good day.
Hope this helps
any idea what this webbing might be
Very interesting selection. The pouches- Diaward is a British clothing company, but the pouches are not made for the British Army, my best guess is that they are a small piece made under contract for one of the international users of 37 pattern inspired webbing.
The jacket is clearly made in Hong Kong and again my best guess is that it was made as a private purchase item for a soldier in the 1960s, they bought it to replace or supplement the issue uniform from a small back alley tailor who made it up for them for a small fee.
Love this blog, keep up the good work. wish there was a similar one dealing with American equipment.
Thanks Tommy, Glad you are enjoying it!
Hello hatchfive, keep going with great job made here,
please advise the source of the photograph regarding South African equipment, as I want to gather more information regarding this topic.
Hi Wojciech, that photo is a reconstruction published in the French language magazine ‘Militaria’ published around twenty-five years ago. It remains one of the few articles on the kit of the SA Army of WW2 and I actually translated it into English as there was so little out there.
Hello hatchfive, what a detailed, informative and well kept site you have here. I’ve been using it a lot, to understand and collect my areas of interest. I love the detail you go into, with a very high standard of historical data and knowledge, the high quality photo’s you take. Please keep it up as you have become my encyclopedia when I need to check modern/current webbing, body armour, S10 respirators and field gear.A refreshing website that, I hope, will continue for many years! Kind regards
Thanks for the kind words Iain, don’t worry as long as I keep finding interesting items, I will carry on writing!
Hi I have some artillery shell casings of my grandads wondering if you could help me identify them please I can’t seem to attach a photo of the my grandad was a gunner with the royal artillery during WW2 can you let me know how to send you a picture
Random ask, been out since 2004 after MD @18 years.
Would you or your readers know who made the hot chocolate for the 1980s rat packs (used to hold biscuit brown, dead fly biscuits, cheese possessed (processed) etc
The hot choclate is my fav drink from those packs but I’ve run dry on every forum to date.
It was a large silver pack, one sachet per pint Crusader cup!
The earliest ration pack I have is dated 1991 and the hot chocolate was made by ‘TD’- but who they were I haven’t a clue I’m afraid.
HI, I CAME ACROSS YOUR BLOG AS I WAS SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION ABOUT HMS BARFLEUR. MY LATE UNCLE SERVED ON HER. I WAS SPECIFICALLY LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ABOUT A CUTE LITTLE DOG THAT I FOUND A PICTURE OF AMONGST MY UNCLES THINGS. I WAS DELIGHTED WHEN I FOUND YOUR ARTICLE THAT INCLUDED INFO ABOUT GOZO THE SHIPS MASCOT. IT MADE MY DAY. THE PHOTO I HAVE IS DIFFERENT TO THE ONE YOU USED. I WOULD GLADLY SEND YOU A COPY IF YOU WOULD BE INTERESTED.
I was wondering if you could shed some lighten a very interesting piece of kit I saw in the Blandford color series- Naval,Marine and Air Force Uniforms of ww2 by Andrew Mollo. plate 82 shows a member of the navy wearing what he describes as a waxed Egyptian cotton “Barber” suit. What exactly is this? Have not seen this jacket pictured or described in any other uniform book available here in the U.S. perhaps you can enlighten me.
Hi Ed, I have tried contacting you via your email above, but get a ‘no longer monitored’.
I have another essay you might be interested in on the ‘The First Purpose Designed Aviation Helmet’ (more interesting than my ‘snap fastener piece!).
How do I get it to you.
Hi Steve. Sorry I need to update that. If you send it to firstname.lastname@example.org I will be able to pick it up.
Dear Sir, I wish to use a picture from your blog. It is a picture of a British Army gas respirator from the 1990s (S-10 type). I am currently writing a book about Operation Granby. I therefore require your permission to use this picture with regard to copyright. If you could contact me by email we can discuss further. Thank you, yours sincerely, Garry Paton
Hi Garry, yes of course feel free. If you need to email me about it my email is email@example.com