Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

My mixed bag collection (mostly British for a change)

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    And back with part two - our Seaforth Highlander is now heading back to the front, burdened down with full marching order. I've tried to imagine a professional, pre-war regular while creating this display. The uniform and equipment are all the earliest I have in my collection, with most dated between 1910 - 1914. As any British collectors out there will know, trying to find pre-WW1 items is extremely difficult. Britain had a comparatively small army compared to most European nations and much of it was destroyed in the first months of the war. Not many items survived this period or the years of war that followed.

    This old soldier still has a few surviving items he brought across the channel in August 1914 - the Glengarry cap, canvas gaiters - all soon to be replaced and updated. He also has the early 2nd Issue haversack with buckle and loop for attaching the water bottle.

    The last few images are of some early equipment items laid out together. One of the greatest challenges in creating a setup like this is not just acquiring early items, it's also trying to find them in their original configuration (before modifications over the following 25 years) and in matching colours - no easy feat when British units covered their webbing in multiple shades of blanco for several decades.

    But, as we all know, these are the challenges that make collecting and learning about military history so compelling.

    Matthew
    Attached Files

    Comment


      Here are a few more detailed shots of the Seaforth Highlanders kilt and cover from the post above. Even though both items are from the same regiment they are not a matching set. One strange coincidence is that the name of the cover's former owner written inside, T. MacKenzie, is the same as the regimental tartan!

      From its condition, I assume the kilt was never issued. It just has a couple of minor traces of moth and one hole right through to the paper label inside. All the printed details are still nice and clear. The leather straps and buckles are very strong, if stiff from a lack of use. There is a strip of old elastic sewn along the pleats at the back, as was traditional for this regiment.

      The kilt cover has seen some service use but remains in good condition and complete with its original ties and horn button on the front pocket. Inside, there is a red laundry code, the owner's name in pen and maybe a service number, washed out. I've tried to take as many detailed pictures as possible as these items aren't seen very often (for those who are interested).

      Matthew
      Attached Files

      Comment


        Having collected British WW1 kit for 40 years I know how rare these early pieces are. Prewar webbing was rare enough when I began, is virtually unobtainable now and when it does occasionally appear the prices are staggering. Thanks once again for showing us more quality kit! I'm going to reread this thread from the start - well, there's time....

        Comment


          Thanks, John. I know exactly what you mean about the scarcity of some of these items. Even in my 15 or so years of serious collecting, many items seem to have gone from being rare to now being non-existent. I've been lucky enough to pick up several things from unusual places for decent prices but others have costs a pretty penny. I'd much rather have one really good example, though, than several inferior ones.

          I'm going to jump forward now to the beginning of the next war, with a display based around a single object. A few years ago I purchased a 1907 Pattern bayonet from a family in Germany, complete with scabbard and frog. When I received it, I was amazed to see it fully marked to the 5/7 Battalion Gordon Highlanders. A service number is also written on the back of the webbing frog, which had shrunk down over the scabbard and is impossible to remove. I believe this set to be something brought back to Germany after the surrender of this battalion, along with several others from the 51st Highland Division, in June 1940. These were the Scots left in France after the evacuation of Dunkirk, who fought on until surrounded and cut off at Saint-Valery-en-Caux.

          Although almost no images survive of these actual events, there are several published in the aftermath of the surrender, clearly showing that some troops were still wearing kilts. This is a curious time when the older clothing and equipment of the Great War mixed with more modern items, often resulting in a strange, unconventional combination of styles (certainly never authorised in any manuals!). In this depiction, I'm imagining one of the last moments involving kilted Scottish troops in combat, in this case the No. 2 of a Bren gun team.

          Our highlander is wearing a pre-war kilt but with a serge battledress blouse (the earliest model with low front pockets, wire buckle and unlined collar). The helmet is WW1 vintage but with a 1938 liner. The webbing is all the new 1937 Pattern, with lower placed Mk I pouches and utility pouches slung across the shoulders for extra Bren cartridges, grenades or mortar rounds. As shown in the images, almost everything is dated 1939 or earlier, with a couple of 1940 pieces as needed.

          A lot of these early WW2 items are also very hard to come by, partly after so much was lost in France at the time and the rest was updated or worn out during the rest of the war. It has taken years of patient searching to find some of these - but it's very satisfying when it all comes together in a project like this, as we all know.

          Matthew
          Attached Files

          Comment


            Next up is something new for me. A display inspired by a picture in a reference book; in this case one of Mike Chappell's excellent illustrations. The book is Cassino, published by Crowood, and the front cover and page 70 feature a Bren gunner No. 1, 3rd Bn Coldstream Guards, at Monte Camino in late 1943.

            I have tried to copy the picture as closely as possible, showing the guardsman all rugged up against the winter weather, in greatcoat, leather jerkin and cap comforter under his Mk II helmet. All the 1937 Pattern webbing is either blancoed khaki or faded by the sun. Below is a small copy of the front cover from Amazon (I don't want to break copyright restrictions) but it still gives a good impression of the subject.

            As usual, I've tried to use all authentic uniform and equipment items, dated on or before the event in question. This always proves tricky, not just collecting the correct pieces but getting them to match in terms of colour (blanco), version and theatre of operations. This is much less the case with other nations who used black/brown leather or webbing items in their natural form.

            This was an interesting little project and very rewarding when comparing the original illustration and the end result. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

            Matthew
            Attached Files

            Comment

            Users Viewing this Thread

            Collapse

            There is currently 1 user online. 0 members and 1 guests.

            Most users ever online was 4,375 at 10:03 PM on 01-16-2020.

            Working...
            X