HQ Trp. 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Sqn
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Uniform & Personal

Basic Uniform Requirements, Optional Extra's and Personal Effects

                                                        Full Dress Blues of 12th Battalion Parachute Regiment                       

Uniform & Equipment Kit List

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Just Ordinary Men Portray's three different units and a requirement will be to have two battle dress blouses.  But this is not necessary immediately as the primary unit we depict is Airborne Reconnaissance.  Subsequently the following basic uniform and insignia is needed and is made up of :

  • Battle Dress (1937 or 1940 Pattern)
  • 1939 or 1940 Pattern Dismounted Great Coat
  • Braces
  • Shirt
  • Gaiters
  • Ammunition Boots
  • Belt
  • Beret
  • Reconnaissance Corps Cap Badge
  • Identity Tags
  • Pay Book (AB64)

1937 Pattern Battle Dress

(Otherwise known as 37 Patt)

This 1937 pattern serge material uniform, with it's characteristic hidden buttons and pleats, was general issue to the British Army until 1940 when the new '40 pattern economy (also known as utility wear) uniform was issued.  The main difference being exposed buttons and the removal of pleating.  Although the' 37 pattern stocks were still being issued post 1940.

It should be noted that medal ribbon's are not permitted to be worn unless they have been awarded in modern day service and only with the correct WW2 alternative or variant.  Modern ribbon's may not be worn on WW2 battle dress.

Blouse :

Brass buttons and pleated breast pockets and pleated rear.  Buttoned to the collar with two hook and eye fittings.  The 40 patt had no pleating to the pockets or rear and had utility instead of brass buttons.

Breast Pocket of the 37 Pattern BD

There are two acceptable types of insignia.  First being embroidered as shown on this battle dress.  A common mistake made when sewing the Pegasus patch on is that they are often sewn on back to front.  Pegasus should be facing forwards and not the rear.


                                         Left Sleeve                                                                                   Right Sleeve

We also portray the 2nd and 12th Battalions, The Parachute Regiment and although the insignia is the same, there are two variations.  Firstly; when portraying 12th Battalion, the Yorkshire titles should be worn along with the blue roped landyard.  Secondly; when portraying 2nd Battalion.  The Yorks titles are removed and the blue landyard replaced by a yellow.  The insignia shown here is of the printed variety.



                                            Left Sleeve                                                                                   Right Sleeve

Trousers :

The standard issue trousers had a pleated shell dressing pocket with smooth front map case pocket and rear pockets with brass buttons and an ankle flap used to gather up the material around the base of the leg.  White issue braces with leather button loops were also the standard issue of the time and are the only braces permitted to be worn.

Shirt :

The standard issue shirt of the time was a full sleeve three button front collarless shirt.


Ammo Boots :

We recommend having two pairs of boots.  One pair for field work and battles and the other for parade and walking out dress.  They should be kept well maintained with regular checking for re-soleing or hobbing.  It is also recommended that you should buy a pair that is one size up from your usual shoe size.  Laces should be leather.

Gaiters :

These should be of the 1937 webbing type with brass fittings and should be blancoed using KG3 (light).  The unit holds some quantity of KG3 and will be able to assist.  The most common size is 3 but if you can get a size 4 then they will have a looser fit around the ankle.

Belt :

Again; 1937 pattern webbing belt with brass buckle fittings to rear and brass clasps and bar. This should also be blancoed using KG3 with the brass furniture being kept polished as this will be your 'walking out' belt.

Beret :

The Beret should have a leather band and have sufficient 'flap' available so as to shape to the rear of the head.  It should be noted that WW2 berets were worn in a completely different style than today.  The Reconnaissance Corps and Parachute Regiment cap badges will be required.

Identity Discs :

Black and red tags with your service number, surname, initial and religion stamped on them.  The stamping can be undertaken by the unit.

AB64 :

The Pay Book and Service Record of British Soldiers.  Kept in the left breast pocket; it contains your qualifications, rates of pay and service details.  It should be presented upon request and will also be required at pay parades.

Additional Required Items

The following additional items will also be required to make up your basic uniform however; we do understand that these items may take a short while to obtain.

Denison Smock :

First Pattern Denison Smock with knitted cuffs.  The cuffs can be obtained separately and are easily sewn on.  It should be noted that when trying on a Denison for the first time it may feel like you are wearing a tent.  This is correct to the period as the smock was always on the large side.


                                            Front of Smock                                                             Rear of Smock

Parachute Qualification

Face Veil :

The face veil was again a trade mark of the Airborne troops however; it should be noted that the disrupted pattern is the only accepted style.  The plain green style is not permitted.

Optional Items

The following items are not required but may be obtained as optional extra's should you wish to complete your personal issue items. 

Under Garments :

Wool manufacture and were the standard issue to British Soldiers and yes they are surprisingly comfortable and warm.


                           Issue Shorts                                  Airborne String Vest                               Issue Vest



                                          Grey Woollen Socks                    The two types of issue gloves

Jumper :

General issue long sleeve 'V' neck jumper

Jerkin :

General Issue leather jerkin with serge internal backing and plastic buttons.  There are 'leatherette' type jerkins available but these are not acceptable.

Airborne Trousers :

The Airborne Trousers have a large, chamois lined, expandable map pocket with a single button and two press studs .  Pleated shell dressing pocket to front and two pleated rear pockets and a fighting knife pocket in the leg.  There is no fastening strip to the base of the legs.

Cost is an important consideration when buying uniform and equipment therefor we strongly suggest obtaining advice from the unit prior to making any expensive purchases to ensure you are getting the right item for the impression and period portrayed by our unit

Personal Effects

We do encourage members to build themselves a 'character'.  This can be done by such methods as a wartime wallet containing personal effects that form a story behind 'you',  They always say you can tell a lot about a  chap just by the contents of his wallet.  In addition to this you also have 'pocket fillers'.

The above wallet, belonging to Cpl Howard,  contains the following item's and gives a good idea as to the types of things carried at the time.  Obviously; once going into action, all personal effects would have been handed in leaving just service documents.

  • National Westminster Bank Cheques
  • Electric and Gas Contractors Bill
  • Department Store Clothing Receipt
  • Permit to Drive Military Vehicles
  • Military Stores Clothing Account Receipt
  • Military Authority Occupation Money
  • Active Service Envelope for those letters home
  • Berthing and Messing Card for A Troop Transport
  • War Economy Bingo Cards to while away the journey

In addition to the above you may wish pocket fillers :

  • Packet of 10 Players Navy Cut Cigarettes or a pipe and tobacco
  • Sun Glasses
  • Loose Change such as farthings, thrupenny bits, Ha'pennies and pennies
  • Service issue handkerchief

House Wife (Sewing Kit) :

General Issue to British Troops it contained :

  • Darning Wool
  • Sewing Thread
  • Spare Buttons and Buckles
  • Needles
  • Thimble
  • Occasionally came issued with a Ministry Broad Arrow stamped Brass Tape Measure

These are fairly easy to come by and can assure you that it will be used on more than one occasion whilst you are 'in the field'.

Time Pieces and Lighters :

The use of modern time pieces and lighters is not permitted.  Subsequently; we would recommend obtaining either a 1930's or 1940's civilian wrist or pocket watch.  Military issue watches will have a GSTP (General Service Time Piece) mark stamped on the rear with a Ministry Broad Arrow (also known as a crow's foot).  Both styles of watches are readily available and vary in cost.

Again; for authenticity, modern lighters and match boxes are not permitted.  Period lighters of varying makes, match boxes or match box covers are all readily available at minimal cost. 

Photos kindly provided by Chris Howard

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