Uniforms with a Kiwi twist

Have a few uniforms in my collection that although they are not NZ military they do have a kiwi connection. Some were either worn by New Zealander’s in service of another country or were NZ manufactured uniforms that were converted for service in another country.

The first item is a converted 1940 pattern Battle Dress Blouse. The collar has been converted to an open front and all the buttons changed for leather.somerset-bd-collar-conversionThe collar conversion has been done rather professionally by adding extra material to the collar so the once high collar now lays nice and flat. The top two button holes have also been sewn up the extra material also nicely covers the evidence of these up too.

Here is an example, picked off the web, of an unconverted 1940 pattern blouse.britbdfront

Below is my example. This particular uniform is badged up to a Captain in the 43rd Infantry Division, 130th Infantry brigade, 7th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry.Somerset BD full.JPGSomerset BD badges.JPG    The rank pips of the captain have the usual infantry red branch colour (see the Engineer blue backing in my thread Battle Dress Tunic & trousers to a lieutenant in the NZ Engineers.) as a backing to the pip and under that is the green & yellow (there was a red and white version as well) shoulder title. Under this is the unusual red nationality shoulder title that indicates that the original owner was a kiwi serving with the British Army.

This particular uniform was originally owned by Winston Malbourne CRAIG . Winston was born in Australia in 1913 and at some point moved to NZ. In June 1940 he enlisted in the NZ Army. His occupation on enlistment was carpenter and this might be why he was transferred in July 1940 to the 15th Forestry Company, NZ Engineers. On 27 August 1940 he embarked for overseas service, with the rest of the Forestry Company, on board the ship Empress of Japan. They trans-shipped at Bombay, India onto SS Ocades an set sail for the United Kingdom arriving there in November 1940. In May 1943 he was selected to attend a Officer Cadet Training Unit. In September 1943 he was married to Irene BONNER at the parish church Woking, Surrey and on the 15 September 1943 was transferred to the British Army (Pioneer Corps). This transfer was confirmed 7 January 1944. His service with the British Army was from January 1944 till July 1946, he then seems to have returned to NZ and lived here for the rest of his life, he died in 1989.

As well as the Battle Dress Blouse I have also been lucky enough to pick up his Service Dress tunic and trousers. queens-royal-rgt-fullThe style of Service dress is a little different as it is an example of the Austerity Pattern introduced in 1942 in an effort to conserve materials and production time. The new Austerity pattern tunics no longer had box pleated breast pockets, though it still has the scalloped pocket flaps, and the lower pockets were now of the internal type just with a flap instead of the previous patch pocket style. The sleeves were plain. This new pattern tunic was introduced under “Army Council Instruction (ACI) 501, dated March 7th 1942”. By early 1945, the situation had improved and under “ACI 340” military tailors were once again allowed to supply tunics of the pre 1942 pattern, but only to newly commisioned Officers or to those who truly needed a new replacement tunic due to their old one being worn out.

The ribbons are for the 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star and Defence Medal. The collar badges are for the Queen’s Royal Regiment. The collar badges are the standard bronze for officers and appear to be stamped rather than cast.queens-royal-rgt-clse

The Queen’s Royal Regiment can trace its beginnings back to 1661 when it was raised specifically to garrison the recent acquisition of Tangier. After a number of amalgamations, the last being in 1992, the lineage of the Queen’s Royal Regiment is continued by the Princess of Wale’s Royal Regiment (Queen’s & Royal Hampshire’s).

The brass buttons have the date the regiment was raised, 1661 queens-royal-rgt-button

As on the Battle Dress blouse this Service Dress has the red New Zealand shoulder title.queens-royal-rgt-nz-titleMy second uniform item with a kiwi link is another battle dress blouse worn by a kiwi in the British Army. This one is a Canadian made 1949 pattern Battle Dress blouse worn by a Major in the 54th (East Anglian) Infantry.royal-artil-1948-pat-ft

royal-artil-1948-pat-badgeThe ribbon bar for this unknown Major includes the ribbons for the Military Cross, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star with 8th Army clasp, Italy Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45, NZ War Service Medal, Korea Medal & UN Korea Medal.royal-artil-1948-pat-ribbon-bar

i9

The Military Cross (MC) was instituted on 31 December 1914. It is awarded to junior officers and senior non commissioned officers of the Army for courage and devotion to duty on active service. Over 500 MCs were awarded to New Zealanders during the First World War and over 250 in the Second World War.

Unfortunately I have tried unsuccessfully to identify the original owner, apart from his ribbon bar the only other clue to the mystery is the letters AT510 on the inside pocket. This could be initials and a partial service number, a laundry code or it might mean nothing at all. If anyone has any idea who this MC winner was please feel free to leave a comment.royal-artil-1948-pat-nameMy last kiwi twist uniform is the one I have owned the longest and is full of mysteries. I do not know who the original owner was and I can not find all that much about the regiment.

The badge on the SD cap was the original thing that caught my eyedelhi-rgt-sd-cap-badgeThe original building is the Qutub Minar which at 73 metres, is the tallest brick minaret in the world and second highest minar in India . Qutub Minar, along with the ancient and medieval monuments surrounding it, form the Qutab complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower is located in the Mehrauli area of Delhi, India

 

qutb_minar01

Collar badge of the Service dress delhi-rgt-collar1delhi-rgt-fulldelhi-rgt-ribbonsThe Captains Service Dress Jacket show he was probably a career officer serving in both World Wars. The ribbons from  left to right are; 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, War Medal 1939-45 and NZ War Service Medal. The trio of WW1 medals indicate that this was probably someone who was part of the “Main body” of the 1st NZ Expeditionary Force and might have served in Gallipoli (could also have served in Samoa or Egypt/Palestine). The second World War Medals show he was still a full time member of the NZ Military Force who did not go overseas.

The service dress was tailored by George Harrison Co, Wellington, NZ.delhi-rgt-jaket-makerThe SD Cap that came with the group. The two small buttons on with side of the cap and leather chin strap are missing from this example.delhi-rgt-hat-ft-1On the inside you can see the green leather lining to the peak and leather sweat band liner.

delhi-rgt-hat-insideThe hat was retailed by Chas Hill & Sons, Wellington. The company is now called Hills Hats but it is still in existence and still making hats for the NZ Defence Force.delhi-rgt-hat-maker-name-1

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