Help on Far East British Uniform

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Luca Anges, Jun 12, 2024.

  1. Luca Anges

    Luca Anges Member

    Hello all,
    I have been trying to put together ,for a while now, a far East British uniform. Infact, just like my great grandads. Could anyone help me with the webbing. I wasn’t too sure if it would be 1908 webbing or 1937 pattern. I know infact he would have used an SMLE. But the shirt, in this picture, I believe to be Aertex but it may be similar to the hairy mairy 50s NS shirt. The trousers would be the KD trousers. Boots, I’d imagine either DMS or the suede tan ones. Headgear, most likely a GS cap or Brodie helmet, maybe a pith. If any of this information is wrong please tell me. Thanks,
    Luca Agnes.

    P.S This picture, and what I’m referencing with Far East, is India. Kancharapara to be specific.

    Attached Files:

  2. REME245

    REME245 Active Member

    You can't tell much from that picture and a date would be useful as well. The use of Shirts KF seems unlikely in a tropical climate. It could be a late war green dyed shirt and earlier trousers.
  3. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Do you know which unit he served in?
  4. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    This was a 9th Royal Sussex uniform, obviously not battledress since Sgt C.Selby was having his photo taken. The 9th were infantry at that point, in India, anticipating action in Burma
  5. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    Not a sharp photo, so it is difficult to be sure. I would suggest a green cellular BD blouse and a pair of KD trousers (not BD). It is possible that it could be a green cellular bush shirt, but tucked into his trousers. Hat, boots, webbing, weapons - he doesn't seem to have any, so impossible to say.
    You really need to provide us with a date and a unit - or at least a regiment. Remember that soldiers would have had more than one set of clothing, so what he is wearing reflects only what he was doing at the time the photo was taken.
    I would advise against dressing-up; difficult to get it right and very easy to get wrong.
  6. Luca Anges

    Luca Anges Member

    Royal Artillery, photo taken 1944/45
  7. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Flannel shirts during the war were 'grandad pattern' (no collar), so it looks like a cellular shirt. Boots would probably be normal black leather boots (DMS were not issued till 1960s) with studded soles. So much of your questioning is date dependent (like Lee Enfield No 1 or No 4) that you need to give us a date.
  8. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    No, they weren't. Indian flannel shirts came in three types; vest neck, collarless and with collar. British collarless flannel shirts were not widely worn in the Far East. Either way that isn't a flannel shirt of any type - look at the pockets. Cellular 'shirts' did not exist as such - it is either a BD blouse or a Bush Shirt, as stated above.
  9. EKB

    EKB Well-Known Member

    A might be helpful video on the evolution of British equipment and uniforms in the Far East ...

  10. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    Nice try, but quite a few errors of fact there.
    Thankfully he is using modern 'repro' uniform items. Even though he describes his trousers as 'lightweight' the original green drill trousers were fairly sturdy and looked it - one of the many reasons that Burma war reenactors never look correct. He also seems to have gone with a green 'aertex' shirt - this is another common reenactorism, a fantasy item that never really existed. He also implies that the No. 5 Rifle was widely used in the Burma campaign - it wasn't. You might also infer that the 44 pattern webbing was issued in Burma, but that isn't true either.
    As I said; difficult to get right but easy to get wrong.
  11. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I don't know what date your own uniform is supposed to be, but some changes were made during the course of the war. According to the Osprey volume by Alan Jeffreys, British Infantryman in the Far East 1941-1945, the webbing would have been 1937 pattern. KD shorts were worn in the early campaigns, and so occasionally were pith helmets though I imagine that tin hats were substituted for piths ASAP when the shooting started. The pith helmet might be either the Wolseley Pattern or the thicker-brimmed India Pattern ("Bombay Bowler"). Jeffreys says the shirts were Aertex. The boots were the standard army pattern, which did not stand up to jungle conditions very well. Some rubber and canvas patterns were later used for patrolling but they weren't great either and everything was eventually replaced (or supposed to be replaced) by US Army jungle boots. The Lethbridge Mission made a bunch of recommendations RE clothing and equipment but these weren't put into effect until after the war ended. All this from Jeffreys.
  12. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Remember as well that the sun, battle conditions and also enthusiastic dhobi wallahs caused original colours to fade. Many group photos have men in different tones and shades of khaki.
  13. EKB

    EKB Well-Known Member

    Gurkha from the 23rd Indian Division. Somewhere in India, February 1945.
    Gurkha of 23rd Division India February 1945.jpeg

    British soldier on the left, Royal Marine to the right. Training base on Ceylon, January 1945.
    Training base on Ceylon January 1945.jpeg
  14. EKB

    EKB Well-Known Member

  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    This is post-war, but it supplies a good list of weights as a guide for packing.

    01.jpg SmartSelect_20240710_221632_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20240710_221648_Gallery.jpg
  16. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    Uniforms varied with place and time.

    "Somewhere in Burma in WW2". (Written on the back)
    My uncle on the left of the photo.
    Signaller with various infantry units.
    South Lancs, 1st Wilts. 14th Army Sigs.

    Somewhere in Burma in WW2.jpg

    Bill Sevice record Form B103.jpg

    His younger cousin Billy (Infantry)
    1st Northants in Burma
    Wearing Slouch hat and Jungle Greens
    Billy 1946.jpg

    Billy H.jpg
    On arrival for Jungle Training in Ceylon.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2024
  17. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    I don't think he is wearing 'Jungle Greens'; it appears to be a serge BD with a shirt underneath and therefore unlikely to be in Burma.

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