Anzac day 2016

Tomorrow (25 April) is a significant day for many Kiwis and Australians, it is a day we remember our war dead and honour those who have and those who are serving in the Defence Force.

The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles, the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea.

Thousands lost their lives in the Gallipoli Campaign: 87,000 Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, including 8500 Australians. Among the dead were 2779 New Zealanders, about a sixth of those who served on Gallipoli (there is ongoing debate about this casualty figure).

For more info about Anzac day and its significance have a look at this NZ Defence Force website:

As my own tribute to commemorate the day I thought I would show some of my examples of one of the most identifiable pieces of kiwi “kit”, that piece of headgear that is commonly called the Lemon Squeezer.

The first example is a WW1 lemon Squeezer that was worn by a member of the NZ Machine Gun Corps. It has had a bit of a hard life but it is a nice example of a English made felt hat with the cotton example has 4 vent holes and a fabric edge to the brim.  Many collectors refer to this type of hat as an “Officers” style as the materials used are a bit finer than those used on other examples but the original owner of this particular hat wasn’t an officer  and I believe they would have been available to all ranks of soldiers not just the only about half the liner has survived but in the photos below you can see the pins holding the Machine Gun Corps badge on and the hook under the liner for attaching the chin strap.

The example below is a World War two Lemmon Squeezer. The badge and puggaree identify this as a NZ Engineers hat.nze-1


Again this example is a British manufactured felt hat. It still has the four vent holes but is missing the fabric edge to the brim. This particular hat was manufactured in 1942 by Denham & Hargreaves Ltd, Atherstone. The puggaree on this example is wool on wool, unlike the WW1 example above.nze-5The lining in this one is much better and though it does show signs of wear is at least complete. These photos show both the manufactures details stamped into the liner and the details of the original owner written in ink.

NZ Scottish Regiment

Scot flag

Given that the NZ Scottish handed over its regimental flag to the Otago Settlers Museum in a “Laying up of Colours” ceremony  yesterday (16 April 2016) I thought it appropriate to mark the final end of this regiment by showing a few items of NZ Scottish I have in my collection.

First formed in 1939 as a Territorial unit it comprised of three companies and a band. During the Second World War the role of this unit was to supply reinforcements to the 2nd NZ Expeditionary Force in the Mediterranean and Pacific as well as maintaining troops for Home Defence. In 1948 The NZ Scottish Regiment was reformed as 1 Divisional Regiment Royal NZ Armoured Corps, NZ Scottish. The unit was affiliated to the Scots Greys. Colours were presented to the unit in 1963. This is unusual in that “colours” are not normally carried by armoured units (normally Guidons are carried). The colours carry the battle honours of the 2NZEF Divisional Cavalry Regiment. The Colours are unique because of its dark green background. This is because the Regiment was not a “Royal” Regiment and was not entitled to the blue background found on Infantry Regiments colours. In the 1960’s the regiment was reduced in size. In 1971 the Squadrons were renamed 1 and 2 NZ Scottish. Dis-establishment of 1NZ Scots took place in 1990. Consequently 2NZ Scotts were renamed NZ Scottish and its role changed to Rear Area Security. In 1993 the whole Royal NZ Armoured Corps was reorganized but the colours and history lived on in a Scottish Squadron formed as part of an Otago Southland regiment (2/4 Battalion).

Royal NZ Armoured Corps Beret with NZ Scottish Green Diamond Backing:

Post WW2 Royal NZ Armoured Corps, Majors Doublet:

Have not been able to identify the original owner yet but the ribbons are (from top to bottom, left to right) British Empire Medal, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star with “8th Army” clasp, Italy Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45 with Mention in Dispatches oak leaf , NZ War Service Medal and Efficiency Medal.Maj Doublet ribbonsEnlisted mans Battle Dress Blouse:

Source of information:- NZ Army Distinguishing Patches 1911-1991 – part two, M. THOMAS & C. LORD



British Soldier in the 1st Gulf War

Brit DDPM full ft

This figure is an approximation of what a typical infantryman would have been wearing during the 1st Gulf War. The figure is set around the time of “Operation Granby” – late September to late December 1990 and is a representation of a soldier in the 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment of the 7th Armoured Brigade Group.

As the British Army had not envisaged an operation in a desert environment on such a scale as Operation Granby no desert clothing was available from supply depots in September 1990. Typically when serving in areas such as Oman British troops had worn locally issued uniforms or British tropical combat clothing. Tropical clothing is designed for jungle operations but had served troops well in Cyprus, Gibraltar and other hot climates. It was this tropical combat clothing that the troops of the 7th Armoured Brigade Group moved to Saudi Arabia in October 1990. The mixture of tropical and desert clothing was common during operation Granby as was the wearing of privately purchased and U.S. issue items.  The first desert clothing began to be issued to the fighting troops in late October 1990. The first issues were not particularly well made or durable, became dirty quickly, shrunk and faded in the wash but were very comfortable. Later issues were made from better cloth to improve wear and reduce shrinkage.Brit DDPM full clse

This figure is wearing a complete set of Desert Disruptive Patten Material (DDPM’s)Combats over which he is wearing, in assault order, 90 Pattern, Personal Load carrying Equipment (PLCE) on top of his Combat Body Armour (CBA).

The shirt is a example of the 1st pattern issued to troops which has a slightly pinkish sand background colour with the more tightly packed light brown disruptive pattern. The shirt is of straight design and can be worn inside or outside trousers with sleeves rolled up or down. There is a bellows pocket with straight buttoned  flap on each breast, a five -slot pen pocket on the upper left arm, and a field dressing pocket secured by a single button on the upper right arm. There is no skirt pockets. The front of the shirt is fastened by a three quarter length zip and six buttons.

A view of the three quarter zip and under the shirt this figure is wearing a U.S. issue quarter sleeve brown “T” shirt. The back view of the shirt shows the placement of the field dressing pocket high up on the right sleeve.

These trousers are not first issue as the base colour is more yellowish than pink. It does however have some similarities with the 1st pattern as the light brown disruptive pattern is of the smaller tighter design found on 1st pattern items and the pocket flaps are straight not pointed like latter designs. Along with the base colour difference, it is also missing the buttons on the fly and seat pocket of the 1st design. These may be an example of a transition from the 1st to 2nd pattern of these trousers.

Brit DDPM camo diff

The front view shows the zipper fly and pyjama cord fastening.Brit DDPM flyIn the bellows pocket of this pair of trousers I found this Stella beer bottle label.

The British Combat Body Armour (CBA) was in the early stages of production when Operation Granby began; eventually enough sets were produced and rushed to the Gulf to equip all front line troops by the time the ground war started. The armour itself is of a flexible synthetic material. It comes in varying sizes and was issued complete with a Desert DPM cover. The cover allows for side adjustment by two wide Velcro straps, the adjustable length running on black plastic slides. The front is closed by a similar width of Velcro concealed by a fly, both running the full length of the front. A strap on the lower left of the front allows for rapid opening of the armour to allow for first aid. A strap at the rear contains a belt loop closed by a press stud to help support the waist belt.

The front shot shows strap allowing for quick access in an emergency and the rear shot shows the waist belt support strap (this one is missing the belt loop).

Brit DDPM CBA sideSide view of the adjusting Velcro straps and the black slides that help adjust the fit of the CBA.

With the front open you can see the almost full length strip of Velcro that runs down the front side and the two smaller squares that are attached behind it to hold the fly front shut.Brit DDPM CBA flyHere is the label found on the Desert DPM CBA cover

Brit DDPM CBA lableand the label found on the body armour itself.Brit DDPM CBA inner lableThe Mk 6 helmet was the standard combat helmet of the British Armed Forces. The MK 6, introduced into service from 1985 (does seem to be some debate about when the MK 6 was introduced, could be 1982 or even earlier), is designed to accept modern ear protection, personal radios, and respirators. The helmet is manufactured by NP Aerospace. The Mk 6 is often mistakenly thought to be made out of kevlar when in fact it is constructed of “Ballistic Nylon” – nylon fibre.Brit DDPM helmet Mk6

The combat helmet was initially worn with the temperate DPM cover and in some cases this was painted with sand coloured vehicle paint. The desert DPM cover was of identical design. The desert cover was often adorned with the wearers name, blood group, etc. in black felt pen.DDPM MK 6 cover insideIn General terms, 90 Pattern was only worn by the infantry in the Gulf, having started to be issued to regular battalions in 1989 ( the 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment were issued 100 proto-type sets for troop trials in 1988) to complete the issue of the SA-80.Brit DDPM 90 plce setThis assault order set up consists of the Main Yoke, Waist Belt and attached to the belt from left to right, left Ammunition Pouch, Utility Pouch, Water Bottle Pouch (open), Entrenching Tool Carrier, Bayonet Frog (missing the SA-80 bayonet) and Right Ammunition Pouch. Above the waist belt is the water bottle and Foldable entrenching tool.

DDPM Entrench tool

The utility pouch is dated 1988 so is one of the early trial items.Brit DDPM 90 plce 1988 dateBack of the webbing set showing how all the items are attached to the belt and how the yoke is attached to the ammunition pouches and belt.Brit DDPM 90 plce insideTo finish the figure off he is wearing a Cabot Watch Company (CWC) G10 (T).CWC watchSource of information: Military Illustrated Past & Present Vol 41 & 42.