Cadet Blouse

A universal Cadet blouse was introduced in 1912 at the same time as the new territorial uniforms. The O’Sullivan’s in their book “NZ Army Uniforms and clothing 1910-1945” call this a type 2 blouse.

Cadet Blouse Ft Cadet Blouse sideThe collar has three points, one at the back, and each is secured with a button.

Close up of the pocket and 1911 pattern NZ Forces button.

Cadet Blouse pocket

The blouse is mostly unlined, there is a cotton lining to the collar.

On the inside of the lower right panel there is a manufactures tag for R. & W. MEEK, Auckland. The size 8 can be seen but unfortunately there is no readable date.

Cadet Blouse tag 2

“F” Company Wellington Rifle Volunteers

This tunic is for a member of the 1st Battalion Wellington Rifle Volunteers and dates from the early 1900’s but predates the changes to the Volunteer system in 1911.

Unfortunately this tunic has been striped of the rank insignia and all that is left is the shadow of a Sergeant rank on the right arm.

Wellington 1st batt ft

Wellington 1st batt back

On the left sleeve you can see the skill at arms badge, Austrian Knot and black facing colour to the cuffs. On the right side you can see the opening to the small “coin” pocket.

Wellington 1st batt autrain knot

A close up of the 1895 pattern volunteers button.

Wellington 1st batt button

The collar badge is the Duke of Wellington’s Crest.

Wellington 1st batt collar

Unlike the 2nd battalion uniform shown in my previous blog below, this one does not continue the facing colour onto the epaulettes but does indicate what company this was of the 1st Battalion. “F” Company were the “College Rifles”. You may also note that this uniform has white piping to the bottom of the facing colour on the collar where the 2nd battalion uniform does not.

Wellington 1st batt F1

The lining is much the same as in my previous blog, white blanket almost three quarters of the length. Wellington 1st batt insideThe collar has the manufacture/retail tag of Hallenstein Brothers, New Zealand Clothing Factory (excuse my fingers).Wellington 1st batt tag

The New Zealand Clothing Factory was set up in Dunedin in 1873 by Bendix Hallenstein. The New Zealand Clothing Factory made basic, hard-wearing clothing for men and boys – initially in Dunedin, and then in many towns and cities throughout NZ. In 1876 Bendix Hallenstein opened shops as a sales outlet for the factories; by 1900 there were 34 Hallenstein Bros (HB) shops around the country.

Wellington Rifle Volunteer

This uniform dates from around 1900-1910, just before the creation of the modern NZ army.

This particular uniform is that of a private in the 2nd Battalion Wellington (West Coast) Rifle Volunteers.

Wellington West Coast frtWellington West Coast bckIn the side view you can see the musicians trade badge, there is one on each arm. As this trade badge has the kings crown this would confirm that this tunic fits in the post 1901 period.

Wellington West Coast side

A close up of the 1895 pattern NZ Volunteers button.

Wellington West Coast button

The badge is a coronet surmounted by a lion rampant. In the base scroll is the motto: Acer in armis (Strong in arms).

Wellington West Coast badge

The shoulder title on the epaulettes show the 2 Wellington shoulder title and the yellow facing colour of the cuffs and collar.

Wellington West Coast shoulderThe lining is a white blanket material and covers almost three quarters of the tunic, the sleeves are fully lined in a different lighter material.

Wellington West Coast inside

On the right hand side of the lining is present a paper label which unfortunately is missing the date information but does confirm it was manufactured/retailed by James Smith & Co. James Smith’s was a Wellington department store, some would say institution, that existed on the corner of Manners and Cuba Street from 1866 until 1993.

Wellington West Coast tag

On the lining of the left hand shoulder is the W^D mark surmounted by a U and under that a size mark of 11.

Wellington West Coast sleeve



Volunteer Rifles

This is the oldest uniform in my collection. It dates from before the creation of the NZ Army. It is a Volunteer Rifles shell jacket. It is not in “excellent condition”, specially the left arm which has been savaged by insects, but I love it.

Imperial Ft  Imperial bck

The facing colour on the collar and cuffs is Black and the twist epaulette is black as well, though this has faded a little with time.

Imperial twist Close up of the Queen Victoria Crown Volunteer Rifles Button and hand stitched button hole.

The inside of the jacket is fully lined and this has been partially padded on each side. Both sleeves are also fully lined in a different softer material.

On the inside left hand panel there is also a internal pocket.

Imperial pocketOn the jacket lining is the manufacturer/retailer tag for J Ballantynes and Co. Christchurch, Timaru. Ballantynes is a New Zealand department store that has been operating in Christchurch since 1872 and is New Zealand’s first department store. They opened a store in Timaru in 1883 so that helps date this jacket from somewhere between 1883 and 1901.

Imperial tag

2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force Figures

This first figure is a representation of a 19th Armoured Regiment, Captain in Italy during 1944. As he is wearing his Service Dress (SD) he is out of the front line and must either be on official business or on leave. This particular SD was manufactured by John Jones Ltd, Cairo, Egypt. The SD cap does not have any manufacturing information.


The one wound stripe and four service chevrons single this man out as a veteran of the 4th Brigade. This captain was probably promoted from the ranks and would possibly have been a infantry NCO in the 19th Battalion before it was converted into a armoured regiment in 1942.

On both the sleeves is the red square patch of the 4th Brigade and on the epaulettes along with the rank pips are the brass NZ Rifles (NZR) shoulder titles which are interestingly backed in black material.

2nd NZEF SD jacket & trousers 4th bde badge

With the Sam Browne and SD jacket off you can see the shirt, tie and braces worn underneath. The collar is removable and is held onto the shirt with collar studs.

A closer look at the shirt, detachable collar and tie. Both the collar and shirt are marked President, Size 4.

This second figure represents a private of the 25th Battalion, 6th Brigade as he may have appeared in November 1943 on the advance of the NZ Division across the Sangro river towards Orsogna in Italy.

2nd NZEF BD sdeThe markings on these size 6 trousers show they were manufactured in 1941 by the Barry Manufacturing Company Ltd.

The BD blouse is dated May 1943. 2nd NZEF BD dateThe back view shows the mattock tucked down the back of the 37 pattern haversack and the pannikin attached to the haversack flap.

2nd NZEF BD bckClose up of the mattock manufacturer information and date. It is dated 1916 and marked Brades Co. which is a trade mark of the Birmingham William Hunt and Sons.

2nd NZEF BD mattock

Inside his pockets you may find…

2nd NZEF BD inside pock


ONE – Wallet with both Italian and military issued currency (1,5 and two 10 lire notes)

TWO – two types of field dressings.

THREE – Soldiers service and pay book.

FOUR – Military hankie.

FIVE – civilian matches (made in Australia)

Inside the haversack you may find…


2nd NZEF BD inside haversack ONE – US manufactured jersey

TWO – one of the many different types of scarfs that were made on the home front for family or friends serving overseas.

THREE – Housewife with a selection of buttons, buckles, wools and thread to keep the uniform going in the hostile environment of overseas service.

FOUR – a spare set of underwear manufactured in Victoria, Australia.

FIVE – to keep the spirit going a catholic prayer book. This one was published by Catholic United Services Auxiliary , Queensland, Australia.

SIX – a US Italian phrase book dated January 1943.

SEVEN- Indian made Iron ration bag.

EIGHT – British ration tin of boiled sweets salt and matches, dated October 1943.

NINE – Indian manufactured hold all. From left to right the contents are; Soldiers Mirror ( this one is a private purchase and was one of the items sold commemorating NZ’s 100 years in 1940), Razor (private purchase self sharpening Rolls Razor), Bakelite shaving soap case (private purchase Clubman), Brass button stick and Knife Fork and spoon set.

This third figure represents a member of the 35th Battalion from around August 1943 while it was based in Noumea, New Caledonia. The 35th Battalion was part of the 14 Brigade, 3rd NZ Division and took part of the 3rd Divisions actions in the Pacific at  Vella Lavella (September 1943 to February 1944) and Nissan Island (February 1944 to May 1944). In early 1944 the NZ government decided to recall the 3rd Division back to NZ due to industrial manpower problems. The 35 Battalion started to reduce its numbers from April 1944 and by the end of the year had been completely disbanded. Many of the members of the battalion who were not returned to essential industries ended up as reinforcements for the 2nd NZEF in Italy.

The back showing the 37 pattern haversack. All the components of the 37 pattern webbing are manufactured by the Canadian Zephyr Looms and Textiles company.

3rd Division uni bckThe above pacific uniform was designed at the Jungle and Mountain Warfare school at Trentham Camp, Wellington specifically to suit the needs of NZ service men while in service in the Pacific. It was issued to each man of the 3rd Division in two sets there was the Summer Dress, like the example above, which was plain khaki drill material and another which had been sprayed with lacquer (dark green, chocolate brown, black and lime green) for combat use.

Along with the bush jacket and battledress trousers, there was also a shirt and hat manufactured.

Below is an example of the issue shirt, this one with removable epaulettes, and the bush jacket that has had the camo lacquer  spray. As you can see from this example, once worn and washed a few times the lacquers faded into a muted tone with no clear definition to the camouflage pattern.

Camo 3rd div ft

On the inside of the jacket on the lower right hand side there is a size marking along with date (very faint and date is unreadable) and manufacture stamps.

Camo 3rd div 1

“K” Force Figures

The first figure represents an NCO the 10th Transport Company, Royal NZ Army Service Corps. The 10th Transport Company arrived in Korea in 1951 and that is where I have placed this Sergeant in the Korean conflict timeline. The 10th served in Korea from October 1951 till May 1956. I am unable to make out a date on the battle dress jacket but the trousers are dated 1951. On the jacket are the ribbons for Korea and World War Two (left to right; War Medal 1939-45, NZ War Service, Korea and UN Korea ).

K Force Uniform ribbons

The 1947 Dress Regulations required a 2 inch patch to be worn behind the badge on the GS cap and beret by all below the rank of Colonel. Each corps had their own colour, for the RNZASC this was white, blue and gold. This particular backing patch has taken a bit of a beating but I was lucky to find this beret with the patch still on it.

K Force Uniform Beret badgeAs an early  K force arrival this sergeant wears the kings crown Commonwealth badge of the 1st Commonwealth Division.

K Force Uniform rank

Below are some photos of the 10 Transport company that I found online.

This second figure represents a Gunner (equivalent to a private in the infantry) in 161 Battery, 16th Field Regiment, Royal NZ Artillery during his deployment to Korea in 1953. The 16th Field Regiment was formed in 1950 for service in Korea and consisted of three batteries, each of eight 25-pounder guns formed as two four-gun troops. The 16th Field Regiment provided close support to the British Commonwealth infantry and was later awarded the South Korean Presidential Unit Citation for its actions during the Battle of Kapyong in April 1951. Between 1951 and 1953 the regiment fire more than 750,000 shells. The Regiment was disbanded at the end of the war in 1954.

When the New Zealander’s first arrived in Korea they were not well kitted out for the Korean winter. This figure is lucky in that by winter 1953 he has either been issued with or “borrowed” a well insulated Canadian made 1952 pattern parka and US made trigger finger mittens. The winter protection is topped off with a US manufactured 1951 model pile cap with ear flaps.

The brassard with the Commonwealth badge of the 1st Commonwealth Division now has the Queens crown badge as the new monarch was crowned in June 1953. Inside the parka is the manufacture tag showing this was made in 1952.

With the parka off you can see the battle dress (BD). This is a different style of BD than that pictured in the first figure. The most noticeable difference is the open collar of the BD tunic. The BD trousers are dated 1953 but cant make out the complete date on the tunic.

K Force 16th Fld BD Clse

With the tunic off you can see the long sleeved 1951 dated shirt. The design of this shirt is interesting in that it looks like a WW2 4 button pullover but under the false frontage is another button that allows the shirt to be fully opening.

With the BD tunic Off you can also see the difference in these BD trousers from those of the first figure. These style of BD Trousers no longer have the field dressing pocket on the right leg and they have two adjusting tabs at the top of each hip for waist adjustment.

Closer look at the US pile cap and Mittens with trigger finger. The cap is dated March 1953 and the mittens 1951, the inner wool blend mittens are undated.

Below are a couple of nice winter shots of the 16th field regiment in Korea.


Vietnam Figure

This figure represents a 1971 deployment of a kiwi soldier to the conflict in Vietnam (either Victor 5 or 6 rifle company of the 1 RNZIR). The mixture of gear is of mainly US, Australian and NZ manufacture and is representative of what was worn in the late period of NZ service there. The slant pocket jungle green shirt is of NZ manufacture and the “twiggy greens” trousers are of Australian manufacture. The JG “Giggle” hat is also of Australian manufacture. The webbing is a mixture of US M1956 and Australian. The belt and “H” harness and “bum” pack are of US manufacture and the SLR pouches, pack and two water bottle pouches on the belt are Australian. There is an extra British manufactured 1944 pattern pouch on the left hip.

Vietnam uniform bck

On the right side of the figure you can see both a golok and Australian manufactured 2 quart collapsible bladder.

Vietnam uniform side.JPG

Carrying lots of drinking water while on operations in the humid conditions of the Vietnamese jungle was important and along with the two bottle on his belt order the figure also has a US 5 quart collapsible canteen attached to the pack along with two more US water bottles.

Printed on the front and back are instructions on how to safely fill with water or inflate and use the canteen as a flotation device.

Here are the US and Australian canteens side by side and a shot of the bottom of each showing the date and manufacture information. The Australian canteen is the darker green one.

With the bottles and 5 quart bladder removed you can now see the US entrenching tool. It is easier to also see the early model Australian large pack (a later version of the pack had external webbing strips for additional storage).

Vietnam uniform pack

Inside the pockets, pack and “Bum Bag” you might find these items:Items in packlaid out on a Australian camouflage, 1967 dated, rain coat, which can be folded up into its own pocket for storage are (from left to right), soldiers paybook, NZ Army identity card (carried in pocket), service identity discs (X2) with neck cord, Australian defence marked tooth brush, NZ manufactured 1967 dated spare underwear, waterproof bag that can be secured at the top used for carrying clothing in pack, three black inflatable bladders used to make an air mattress, next to the bladders are two pieces that also make up the bedding – on top of the mattress is a lightweight blanket, finally there are some more items of underclothing – aertex “T” shirt and 2 pairs of sox.

Close up of the items:Items in pack clseThe mattress is secured at the bottom with press studs and is divided into three sections with each of the bladders going into their own section. At the top of the mattress is an internal pillow, items like extra clothing can be placed inside to form a soft pillow. On top of the mattress is one of the inflatable bladders unrolled.beddingThe underclothing laid out on the mattress.Under clothesBelow are some excellent colour period photos of different companies from both Victor 5 and Victor 6 on operation in Vietnam in 1971.

Victor 5 was in Vietnam from May 1970 to May 1971. Victor 6 was “in country” from May 1971 until December 1971. These colour photos are from the excellent Vietnam War website.