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Black Kestrel Patrol Boots

The Kestrel patrol boot was a medium weight set of boots issued to soldiers as a general purpose boot for short to medium patrols and exercises. It was not as good in cold weather as arctic boots, nor designed for use in extremely hot temperatures, but fitted into the mid-range where most exercises and indeed combat was expected to occur. These boots were designed to be lighter weight and more comfortable than earlier designs and incorporated fabric panels for breathability and robust soles for marching in. The boots were also produced in both brown and black, and it is the black pair we are looking at tonight:The boots were issued in a standard cardboard shoe box:On the outside a stores label has been attached with NSN number and sizing:Opening the box it can be seen that packaged in with the boots are a number of accessories:These include insoles and spare laces:A tube of boot polish:And an instruction leaflet:The boots themselves feature a deeply cleated rubber sole:And fabric panels let into the uppers to make the boots both softer and more comfortable and to aid the movement of air so the wearer’s feet don’t overheat:The boots fasten up the front with laces in a mixture of standard lace holes and quick lace hooks:A stores label is sewn into the tongue of each boot:One cadet user has given a detailed assessment of this pattern of boot that makes interesting reading, covering its use by cadets in detail:

Looking at them they looked a good pair of boots and felt very light when compared to the good old assault boots that were issued in the past – not a bad thing at all! 

Looking at MOD literature, the YDS Kestrel boots are a patrol boot which means they are suited to situations where the threat of combat is medium to low with a temperature range of -10º to +35º. Which makes them ideal for cadet use!  

It is also recommended that they are used with gaiters in wet weather which is something to keep in mind, although you don’t need to rush out a buy a pair.

First test was how they fit. After adjusting the laces, an easy job with the lacing loops on the upper part of the boot and the lace locks as well, I put them on had a quick walk around the house. No problems at all and no squeaking or creaking either!  

I decided to put them through a series of different environments to simulate the sort of things you’d come across in cadets: a two mile road walk, a two mile walk through muddy fields and woodland close to where I live, a two mile walk with a 10kg pack on and lastly a quick go on the outdoor ‘gym’ trail in the local park. 

On the first two mile walk I found the boots to be comfortable and I didn’t feel that my feet got ‘hot’ while walking. I stopped after about half a mile to adjust the laces – something I do with every pair of boots when heading out to ensure they fit snugly without rubbing.

At the end I had no rubbing or pinching on my feet and they still fitted nicely.  

Next up was a trek through a muddy field and through a local woodland. Now looking at the MOD advice I did this with gaiters on and again I found the boots comfortable to walk in. 

One thing I did note was that the soles held a lot of mud, but I purposely went through all the muddy patches to see how they did at the extreme end of muddy so it’s not a surprise they clogged up.

Now I didn’t go through any puddles deeper than about 50mm and in all honesty I avoided trying to wade through a stream as I know the fabric upper would get my feet wet and to be frank I don’t think doing that would be a true reflection of how they perform on cadet type activities.

After bit of a clean I headed out for a walk with a 10kg pack on to see how much support the boots offered and how comfortable they were walking in with a little weight on. 

Again I thought they were very comfortable and the high leg provided a good level of support for my ankle with no rubbing etc. and the boot flexed enough to allow my feet to spread slightly with weight as well.  

Lastly I headed out to the outdoor gym trail in the local park and went over the various obstacles to stretch and twist my feet to see how supportive these boots are over obstacles and the like.

As I expected having gone over the last few tests with them they were fine, comfortable and supportive with the fabric upper coming into its own moving and flexing with ease.  

So after putting the boots through a few tests and wearing them generally for a while I’d have to sum up by saying that I think these are a good cadet boot.

Yes they have a fabric upper which means wading through water may be an issue but in all honesty that’s not something that will happen a lot, if at all while on cadet activities. But that fabric upper also makes them comfy and easy to ‘break in’ as well – good news for cadet feet!

They are comfortable to walk and march in and clean up easily which is a big plus.

Server Upgrade

Many thanks to everyone who has donated to the server upgrade for the blog. We have now raised enough money and you might have noticed that the url for the site has been changed to ‘talesfromthesupplydepot.blog’- if you have bookmarked the old address it will automatically redirect to the new address. You will also notice that advertising has gone from the blog so this is another nice little feature of the upgrade.

All those who have contributed will be entered into a prize draw for a copy of my new book when its released in July and I will send out a copy to the lucky winner.

Here’s to another year of posts and obscure pieces of British, Empire and Commonwealth militaria!

 

Special Announcement

We are pleased to announce that our new book “British Empire Uniforms 1919-1939” will be released on July 15th 2019.

This book provides a unique insight into the uniforms and equipment used by British Empire forces between the two world wars. Including descriptions of deployments and incidents during the period, the book features detailed photographs of individual artefacts as well as accurate uniform reconstructions in full colour. The text and annotations give detailed descriptions and background on subjects such as khaki uniforms, webbing, water bottles, communications equipment and so on.

The artefacts and uniforms portrayed in the book are derived from the authors’ own collections, as well as those of fellow collectors, in order to provide comprehensive coverage of the uniforms, artefacts and equipment used by British Empire forces of the period.

Covering British deployments in China, India, the North West Frontier and Palestine, this book is an indispensable guide to the British Empire forces from the end of the First World War to the eve of the Second World War.

978-1-4456-8894-7 £14.99 Paperback

Available from all good bookshops and direct from: Amberley Publishing

http://www.amberley-books.com tel: +44 (0)1453 847800

flier

Royal Engineers H2O Troop Herrick IV T-Shirt

Regular readers will know that I love embroidered unit and operation specific t-shirts. These are usually produced in tiny numbers, privately purchased and only issued to those actually involved with a tour or particular role. They are greatly underappreciated and due to the nature of their acquisition there is virtually no published material on them. Tonight we have a lovely example from Operation Telic IV in 2004:imageThe badge on this t-shirt is for ‘3 H2O Troop’:imageThis design features as anthropomorphised water droplet, holding a Zulu shield with the roman numeral ‘V’ and a Union flag with the letter ‘RE’ for Royal Engineers.

My thanks go to the knowledgeable folks of the Facebook site ‘British Military Uniform & Camouflage Collectors Page’ who helped identify this unit as 3 Troop, 5 Field Squadron, 22 Engineer Regiment which was part of the 1st Mechanised Brigade based in Basra. The design of the badge and the reference to ‘H20’ suggests that 3 Troop were responsible for maintaining a clean water supply and a British government website form 2010 highlighted that amongst the many different aid schemes introduced for the people of Iraq one was:

Access to safe drinking water dropped by one third under the previous regime. Twenty potable water treatment facilities have been built or rehabilitated, and nine centralized sewage treatment facilities have been rehabilitated. More than one million people in southern Iraq have improved access to water.

Whilst in Basra itself:

  • In 2003, only 23% of Basrawis had access to piped water, by far the worst figures for any of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Only 9% of Basrawis were connected to a reliable sewage system.
  • Since then, improvements to water supplies, including pumps for isolated villages, have benefited over 1.25 million people (70% of Basrawis).
  • 200km of modern piping have been laid and over 5,000 leaks repaired.
  • $160 million invested in modernising and extending sewage system.
  • 40km of sewers and 7,000 septic tanks have been cleaned.
  • A water training centre in Basra has been constructed to train and increase the skills of Iraqi engineers in water treatment and leakage repair.
  • A reverse osmosis unit has been refurbished to supply potable water to about 500,000 people.
  • Improved water supply to 60,000 people in Al Amtahiyah (Basra Province).

 

  • DfID power and water projects will employ around 450 people, generate almost 100,000 workdays and secure around 17,000 workdays per year for operation and maintenance.

Canvas Bucket Mk. 5

Over the years a number of canvas buckets, of various periods, have come up on the blog. One thing they have all had in common however is that they have been from World War Two or earlier. Up until recently I had always assumed that the design was dropped immediately after the Second World War and replaced with plastic or something similar. However tonight’s object shows that I was wrong, and the canvas bucket was still going strong into the 1970s. This bucket looks very similar to examples we have already seen, being made of a heavy duty jute type hessian cloth:imageThe top handle is made of a piece of rope:imageWhat is interesting, however, is that it has an NSN number and a date of 1976 marked on the base in black ink:imageThese markings are very clear and well stencilled, in contrast to the inspector’s ownership stamp of ‘/|\013’ that is far fainter:imageThe canvas bucket remained a useful bit of kit:

On both the ARRV & WR Repair it was used as a washing bowl. Folded up to nought, didn’t split like a plastic washbowl so was a useful bit of kit. Had to be a relatively new one though, couldn’t use the one from the ARRV/ARV davit as that held the winch & chains & was full of oil & grease.

Looking up the NSN number I find that the official designation for this is ‘buckets, water, canvas, Mk.5’ and that it is still listed in stores catalogues so there must still be a need for the venerable old canvas bucket in today’s army!

88 Pattern Webbing Overview

I am very pleased to say that tonight marks the start of a new mini-series of posts covering the last variation of the Australian 1988 Pattern webbing set. I have covered two pieces on the blog before, the early pattern of water bottle carrier and the later version of the Minimi ammunition pouch, but I have recently managed to add a homogenous 2010 dated set of webbing to my collection and we are going to look in detail at the various components on a Wednesday for the next couple of months.

The 1988 Pattern set was the first complete indigenously designed and produced webbing set used by Australia, previously the sets of accoutrements had been based off of foreign designs, the British 37 Pattern and the later US M56 sets being copied and modified to suit Australian needs, but neither design originating in the country.

The end of the Vietnam War saw major changes to the military uniforms and equipment in Australian service. Auscam was introduced as the first Australian camouflage pattern and a new webbing set was produced to match this, entering service at the very end of the 1980s:imageThe design was based around a belt and H-Yoke, with a large padded section to protect the wearer’s hips. Originally a haversack was worn centrally on the back of the belt, but this was quickly dropped in favour of an extra Minimi pouch and an extra water bottle. The original designs used metal clips and had press button buckles, by 2010 all the fittings were in plastic and fixed Fastex buckles were used. There are numerous set ups of the webbing to be seen in photographs, mine is a typical example and has the following components:88 Pattern WebbingHere we see a bunch of Australian Cadets practicing with the F88 Austeyr battle rifle, all wearing various configurations of the 88 pattern webbing set:37dbb28f494bb63a7ed70f13c6e93919On operations the choice of pouches would depend on the load and weapons a man was carrying, one soldier explains:

I simply wore standard Australian army issue. I wore the normal webbing belt, a “double” belt comforter and 5x Minimi pouches, 2x water bottles and a bayonet. This was all held together with “fastex” plastic clips and DPCU tape

An Australian Cadet handbook explains about the system:

Webbing is designed to be versatile and interchangeable. Individuals will set up webbing to personal preference. Typical webbing will consist of the following pieces of equipment:

  1. Harness, There are many designs with different tether points. The harness should be comfortable to wear as it will help carry the load.
  2. Belt; Most of the pouches will connect to the belt. The belt should sit on the hips to help spread the weight of the load.
  3. Water Bottle & Pouches; Pouches designed specifically to carry water bottles. Common designs have an external pouch for carrying addition items.
  4. Pouches, Steyr or Minimi; Modern DPCU webbing pouches come in two sizes, Steyr or Minimi. As the name suggests, the pouches are designed for either the F-88 Austeyr or the F-89 Minimi. The Steyr pouch is designed to carry 3 Steyr Magazines whereas the Minimi pouch is designed to carry 200 rounds of linked ammunition. In the AAFC, both pouches are used to carry equipment with the Minimi pouch being favored due to its larger size.
  5. Bum Bag. Not as prevalent as they once were, the bum bag is a larger pouch that can expand to carry a significant amount of equipment. These days however, many people use Minimi Pouches instead.
  6. Comforter: Foam mat used to cushion the belt and help prevent chaffing.

We will continue with further in depth posts about the components in the coming weeks.

Military Uniforms of the British Empire Overseas Cigarette Cards (Part1)

Tonight the blog starts the first of a five part series covering the Player’s Cigarette Card set ‘Military Uniforms of the British Empire Overseas’:SKM_C284e18091908162This set was issued in the late 1930s and covers a wide range of the different combat and ceremonial uniforms of the militaries of the Empire. Each week we are going to look at ten of the cards, with the captions drawn from the back of the cards themselves:

Cape Town Highlanders

 137. Cape Town HighlandersUnder the Defence Acts of the Union of South Africa, every citizen between seventeen and sixty years of age is liable for military service in any part of South Africa, whether within or outside the boundaries of the Union. There is also a liability to compulsory service for all citizens between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-five. The Permanent Force is recruited on a voluntary basis, service being for a period of three years; re-engagement for periods of two years is permitted up to the age of forty-five for privates and fifty for non-commissioned officers. We show a Regimental Sergeant Major of the Cape Town Highlanders; the Town Hall, Cape town, appears in the background.

Kimberley Regiment

 138. Kimberley RegimentPrior to the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, the four self-governing Colonies of Cape Colony, Natal, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State each maintained volunteers and militia. Under the present Defence Acts of the Union, every citizen between the ages of seventeen and sixty is liable for military service in any part of South Africa. During the Great War, the union nobly played its part in defence of the Empire, and over 221,000 men served in the various theatres of war. Our illustration shows a sergeant of the Kimberley Regiment, with Kimberley Town Hall in the background.

Witwatersrand Rifles

 139. Witwatersrand RiflesThe Union of South Africa Defence Force is divided into (a) the Permanent Force, which is recruited on a voluntary basis; (b) the Coast Garrison Force, supplementing those portions of the Permanent Force detailed for this purpose; (c) the Active Citizen Force, which corresponds to the Territorial Army in Great Britain; (d) the Commandos, formed form members of the Defence Rifle Associations; and (e) the Reserves. Enrolment into the Active Citizen Force is for a period of four years and re-engagement for periods of one year is permitted. Our picture shows a Regimental Sergeant-Major of the Witwatersrand Rifles: a view of Johannesburg appears in the background. The Witwatersrand, of which Johannesburg is the centre, is a region rich in gold-fields.

Regiment Louw Wepener

 140. Regiment Louw WepnerThe Orange Free State, to which this regiment belongs, was one of the four self-governing Colonies which maintained Volunteers and Militia before the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910. Military re-organization was then carried out by the Government in which General Louis Botha was Prime Minister and General Smuts the Minister of Defence. At the present time, the Defence Force of the Union is divided into five categories…We show a Sergeant of the Regiment Louw Wepener; in the background may be seen the Provincial Legislative Chamber (formerly the Raadzaal), Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State.

The Rhodesia Regiment

 145. Rhodesia RegimentThe Southern Rhodesia Defence Force originated with the early Pioneers and 1892 developed into a Volunteer force which served in the Matabele War and Rhodesia Rebellion. In 1899 it became the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers, with units in the principal centres and Rifle Companies in outlying districts. Volunteers therefrom served in the Boer War and the Great War. In 1926 the Defence Act was promulgated, instituting compulsory peace training, and the Rhodesia Regiment- of two Battalions- was formed from members of the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers and other citizens in the larger towns. We show a Sergeant of the Rhodesia Regiment in Drill Order, standing in front of the Drill Hall at Salisbury, S. Rhodesia.

The British South African Police

 146. British South African PoliceThe police force of the Colony of Southern Rhodesia was originally recruited to accompany the Pioneers in the Occupation of Mashonaland in 1890, and later saw service in the Matabele War of 1893, the Matabele and Mashona Rebellions of 1896 and the Boer War. The Force was then known as the B.S.A. Company’s Police, after the Charter Company which was responsible for the government of the territory. The B.S.A. Police saw service in German East Africa (1915-18), and was also responsible for the capture of Schuckmansberg in German South-West Africa in 1914. We show a trooper (full-dress) in front of the Regimental Institute, B.S.A.P. Depot, Salisbury, S Rhodesia.

The British South Africa Police: Native Askari

 147. British South African Police Native AskariThe Native Police of Southern Rhodesia are recruited from the Matabele and Mashona tribes of the Colony, and from the adjoining territories of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. Although forty years ago their ancestors were uncivilised, the present day recruits reach a high standard of discipline and efficiency. They work in co-operation with European members in all branches of the Force, while a special platoon of Askari performs guard duties at Government House. The H.Q. and Training School are at Salisbury. During the Great War numbers of them saw service in German East Africa. The background shows the Municipal Offices, Salisbury, S. Rhodesia.

Australian Light Horse

 148. Australian Light Horse

Members of all the Australian Light Horse Regiments served in the South African War and sixteen Regiments carry battle honours for the Great War. The members of the Light Horse Regiments, which are mostly drawn from the country areas, are volunteers who provide their own mounts. The regiments are numbered a far as possible with those of the Australian Imperial Force, but they also retain their old titles, “Royal New South Wales Lancers,” “Victorian Mounted Rifles,” etc., by which they were known before the Commonwealth took over control of defence matters in 1901. We show a trooper of the Australian Light horse; the City Hall, Brisbane, appears in the background.

Royal Australian Artillery

 149. Royal Australian ArtilleryIt is interesting to recall that “two pieces of ordnance” were erected in Sydney in 1789 at the time when the garrison in New South Wales was composed of British troops. From this small beginning has grown the Royal Australian Artillery, which includes Field, medium, Heavy, Anti-Aircraft and Survey Units. Like the other arms of the Commonwealth Military Forces, the Artillery is mainly composed of Militia enlisted on a voluntary basis. The uniform shown is worn by the Militia Field and Medium Batteries. Prior to the Great War, Australian Batteries saw service in Suakin, 1885, and in South Africa. The background shows the Residence of the State Governor, Sydney, N.S.W.

Australian Infantry

 150 Australian InfantryThe Battalions of Australian Infantry, which are composed of voluntarily enlisted Citizen Forces, are numbered to correspond with those of the Australian Imperial Force, and every effort is made to maintain the traditions established in the Great War. Battalion areas are allotted on a territorial basis throughout Australia. In addition to their numbers, the Regiments have territorial titles e.g. the 1st Battalion is The East Sydney regiment and the 6th is The Royal Melbourne Regiment. The uniform depicted us typical, but some battalions wear uniforms similar to those of British Regiments. All battalions carry battle honours for the Great War. The Town Hall, Melbourne, appears in the background.