2nd NZEF in North Africa 1942-1943

It has been a little while since I did my few representations of what the New Zealand soldier & officer were wearing in Italy & the Pacific 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force Figures so thought I would do a couple from the NZ Divisions time in the North Africa campaign.

The first figure represents what a New Zealand soldier might have looked like at the time of the 2nd Battle of Alamein, 23 October – 11 November 1942.  As the shirt of this figure was originally owned by a member of the 26th Battalion, 6th Brigade that is who I had in mind while putting this display together.1942-fullThis 26th Battalion Private wears a cellular fabric “Aertex” shirt of Indian manufacture over which he wars a Australian manufactured “V” neck jersey. The webbing is a mixture of British and Indian Manufacture.  The trousers are khaki drill and like the shirt are of Indian manufacture.  There is a field dressing pocket at the top of the right thigh but unlike the woolen Battle Dress trousers, does not have the map pocket on the opposite leg.

In the front and rear view you can see the typical three button closing down the front and the long tail of the shirt that is usually tucked into the trousers. The weave is easy to see but the manufacture details aren’t.

Luckily the date 1941 is a little clearer.manufactureIn this view you can see the field dressing pocket and extra buttons that would be used to secure the blouse to the trousers as on the woolen battle dress.

Again the manufacture stamp on these trousers are hard to make out but it has the same date code letter N and is dated 1941 as the shirt.trousers-manufacture-date


In the back view you can see the 1937 pattern haversack, 1907 bayonet and type 2, 1937 pattern water bottle carrier with a NZ manufactured bottle with rubber bung.1942-clse-ftOne of the most noticeable items of gear worn in the early period of the North Africa campaign was the Mark VI Anti Gas Haversack, in this figure worn on the alert position on the chest. Inside the haversack is the Mark IV respirator with the rubber face piece and hose covered with khaki fabric.1942-gas-maskAlong with the eye shields, inside of the cardboard sleeve is also the anti-dimming outfit, a Canadian Pattern Mark I, dated 1941.1942-gas-mask-dateThe 4A red brick canister was filled with E/VI gas scrubbing contents on 20 August 1941.1942-gas-mask-canister-date

The second figure represents a New Zealand officer at the time of the 5th brigades assault on the rocky outcrop of Takrouna in April 1943.1943-officer-fullPhotos taken at the time show that there was often a mix of khaki drill and woolen Battle dress items worn by both enlisted and officers of the 2nd NZEF, and so this Captain is wearing a NZ manufactured woolen Battle Dress blouse and privately purchased Khaki Drill trousers.1943-officer-clseThe manufacture date on the inside of the BD blouse is hard to make out but the use of hooks and eyes to close the collar makes this an early example as they only used this until November 1942 after that the collars were closed with a tab and button.1943-officer-neckThis particular BD does not have a red brigade patch on the upper sleeve but is not unusual to find un-badged uniforms and sometimes the only identifying item worn on the uniform would be the black and white slip-on national title.1943-officer-bd-rankThe weather in Tunisia in April is a little bit cooler than in Libya or Egypt so the Captain has donned his NZ manufactured Warm Coat. 1943-officer-coat-clsedThis coat was manufactured by A.Levy Ltd, Wellington. The six leather buttons on the front are the standard “New Zealand Forces” pattern.

A view of the back shows the Officers Haversack over the right shoulder and secured under the epaulette which have the slip- on rank with brass examples of the pips .

With the coat open you can see an interesting feature of the warm coat, the sword slit, which allows officers to access their sword with the coat still closed. When not in use it is closed with one button.1943-officer-coat-insideThe inside view also shows the partial lining in brown wool (the sleeves are lined in cotton) the inside pocket and the jigger button which secures the inner flap when closed.

With the coat and Battle Dress blouse off you can see the privately tailored 3 button pull over shirt and get a better look at the trousers.1943-officer-shirt-trouser-full

The trousers are secured with three buttons and in this close up you can see the button arrangement the small coin pocket (there are slit pockets on each hip), and the hand stitched button holes.



Home Servicemen’s Association Pin

home-service-asociationThe New Zealand Home Servicemen’s Association, was formed in Wellington in 1943 (the first national conference was held in Wellington on 27 November 1943) to represent the interest of the tens of thousands of men who took up arms for the defence of New Zealand but did not serve overseas. Six months attested service in Home Defence in the NZ military Forces was required for membership in the association. Its membership in 1946 reached a peak of 13,788.

As a number of Home Servicemen’s Association members were also members of the Returned Soldiers Association (R.S.A.) there was a close relationship with the R.S.A. In the above badge you can see that this pin has a coloured 1970 date attachment. The idea of the attachment was borrowed directly from the RSA who had been using coloured date attachments from 1940 fitted over the crown. These were changed annually to indicate that the wearer was up-to-date with his or her subscription (an innovation the RSA’s themselves borrowed from the Returned Sailors & Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia where it has been noticed during the visit to Sydney by the 1300-strong RSA Contingent for Anzac Day 1938).home-service-asociation-bckThe number on the back of this badge is a individual service number which does mean that the original owner of these badges can be traced, unlike some R.S.A. badges where the number on the badge is not always a service number (the early large R.S.A. badges used the serviceman’s number).

441730 belonged to Lance Corporal Milton Hamilton PARK. Milton served in both the 1st Southland Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade  and 3rd Battalion Otago Regiment as well as serving for a short time in the 3rd Field Ambulance. He served from 1941 until 1944 when he was placed on indefinite leave without pay. For his service he was awarded the War Medal 1939-45 and NZ War Service Medal.

You will also find the earlier Territorial Force bar number on these badges. home-service-asociation-tf-numberThese bar numbers give you a bit more information than just the individuals number. They also tell you what military region and regiment of the former service man was in/from. The 3 indicates the Military District, in this case Southern. The 14 is the regiment in this case Nelson, Marlborough Mounted Rifles and 53 is the serviceman’s individual number.