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Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

Article about: All very interesting to me as the top item on my to buy list is a wartime BD, preferably a 43 or earlier dated example with an Africa -& if possible Italy- history. Sadly prices on these

  1. #1

    Default Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    I have had a huge discussion with my friend about the types of British let´s say basic uniform types. He argued that Brits used battledress pattern 37, pattern 40 and pattern 40 Austerity. from my point of view the pattern 37 and pattern 40 was same because pattern 37 uniforms were introduced into the service in 1940. So it means that from my point of view just 2 basic models were used pattern 1937-official name of uniform (introduced in 1940) and battle dress pattern 1940 austerity.

    Can anybody explain to me in detail which battledress patterns were used by Brits in WWII in Europe?

    I do need information about Denim uniforms just basic battle-dresses.
    Last edited by Ltmoravcuk; 02-05-2012 at 10:46 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    I have seen 39 dated 37 pattern BD's so they were around before 1940, probably mostly only seen in France early in the war. Is it a typo or are you asking about WWI uniforms? Most BD's used in Europe in WWII would be 40 pattern or 40 austerity pattern as you stated above. In WWI they wore SD uniforms.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    I have meant WWII battledresses. Sorry for mistake. It has been corrected. So it means that BD pattern 37 existed and also BD pattern 40 existed? And can anybody describe me, in detail what is the difference between the BD pattern 37 and BD pattern 40 / I do not mean BD pattern 40 - Austerity). Differences between BD pattern 40- Austerity and the other BD patterns are familiar to me. If you have any pictures in color I will appreciate them. I saw a few colored pictures where the BD pattern 37 and BD pattern 40 have been but I could see the differences in color, only. The BD pattern 37 was more brown as pattern 40.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    Hello,

    Your friend is correct. The original BD was "Battledress Serge" often called '37 pattern'.
    The 1940 pattern came with a few alterations. Such as pocket height & lined collar. Later '40 pat. have plastic buttons, no tabs to ankles etc.
    Then what are often called "1940 pattern" BD's came in. These were usually still labelled as "1940 Pattern" but not always. As you probably know they differ widely in ways to reduce fabric use, assembly time etc.

    That's the 3 main ones. Of course, the 1st two look the same to the casual observer, making 2 'main' patterns as you said. So, You're both right!

    Then there is the 1946, 1947, and 1949 patterns...
    And the Canadian, US War Aid, New Zealand, Australian, South African, And Indian patterns...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    Quote by Ltmoravcuk View Post
    I have had a huge discussion with my friend about the types of British let´s say basic uniform types. He argued that Brits used battledress pattern 37, pattern 40 and pattern 40 Austerity. from my point of view the pattern 37 and pattern 40 was same because pattern 37 uniforms were introduced into the service in 1940. So it means that from my point of view just 2 basic models were used pattern 1937-official name of uniform (introduced in 1940) and battle dress pattern 1940 austerity.

    Can anybody explain to me in detail which battledress patterns were used by Brits in WWI in Europe?

    I do need information about Denim uniforms just basic battle-dresses.
    Well I wasted half of my youth investigating this stuff, so I'll answer. Basically, yes, as far as I'm concerned, there are two types of wartime British Battledress, 1937 Pattern and 1940 Pattern. This thing about 'real 1940 Patt' and all this nonsense is just made-up collector terminology from the 1990s. 37 Patt is the type where you can't see the buttons, and 1940 Patt is the 'austerity' one where you can. Within these two patterns there are variations due to the continual modification of the specifications by which they were made. Due to these mods being introduced at specific times, it is possible to identify certain patterns, but they never really existed officially. Basic rundown for the BD Blouse (the jacket) is like this:

    1937 Pattern (introduced 1938)
    (Specification E/1037 of 28th October 1938, Pattern No. 11012). The first pattern Battledress Blouse was of generous cut and had a large unlined collar fixed with two hooks and eyes. The top of the breast pockets were in line with the second button from the neck. These pockets had a box pleat and their brass dish buttons were in fly. The brass dish buttons down the front of the blouse were also concealed by a fly as were those in the cuff. The buckle to secure the waistband was of a simple prongless wire type. The waistband had three buttonholes in a fly for attachment to the trousers. There were two inside pockets.

    1939 Changes (Specification E/1037A of May 1939). As previously except that the breast pockets were 1” higher than before and the collar was lined.

    1940 Changes (Specification U/617 of 6th June 1940, Pattern No. 11456). The blouse was of a slightly less full cut than before and a new toothed buckle was introduced for the waistband.

    1940 'Austerity' Pattern (introduced 1942)
    (Specification U/617G of 5th June 1942, Pattern No. 12083). This was the first of the 1940 “Utility” Pattern battledress blouses. It was generally of a much tighter cut than before and was made of a slightly lighter serge material. The lined collar was fixed with two hooks and eyes. All buttons were now exposed and were of a 4-hole composition type officially termed Buttons, CA5377. The buttons on the shoulder straps, however, were of the shanked type. The breast pockets were larger than before and had no box pleats. The waistband now had only two buttonholes for attachment to the trousers and these were no longer in a fly. There were two inside pockets.

    July 1942 Changes (Specification U/1076 of 15th July 1942). All buttons, including the shoulder strap buttons, were now of the CA5377 type.

    1943 Changes (Specification U/1076B of 2nd January 1943). The number of inside pockets was reduced to one.

    If you want to, you could call these changes 'patterns' or 'types', although it is likely that manufacturers were not always immediate in their changes. Anyway, thats the best information about basic battledresses I have.

    Rob

  6. #6

    Default Re: Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    Heres a couple of pictures battle dress serge and pattern 40. Canadian and American made battle dress were also used .
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	302322   Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	302321  


  7. #7

    Default Re: Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    Thank you Rob,

    it seems to be that you have a long and deep study behind you. I appreciate your help. So if I can see your response just two patterns were in the force (I do not mean modifications) the pattern 1937 and pattern 1940 - Austerity. This my observation, too. From my point of view it is not right when we are using the term - BD pattern 1940 without the sub term "Austerity" because all BD pattern 1940 were Austerity. Once again thanks a lot for everybody´s reply.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    It really isn't that simple. I've never seen anything officially named "1937 pattern". The official name for the original issue always seems to be "Battledress Serge". However, the modified pattern of 1940 is always called "1940 pattern" as is the austerity pattern.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    Quote by Battery Command Post View Post
    Well I wasted half of my youth investigating this stuff, so I'll answer. Basically, yes, as far as I'm concerned, there are two types of wartime British Battledress, 1937 Pattern and 1940 Pattern. This thing about 'real 1940 Patt' and all this nonsense is just made-up collector terminology from the 1990s. 37 Patt is the type where you can't see the buttons, and 1940 Patt is the 'austerity' one where you can. Within these two patterns there are variations due to the continual modification of the specifications by which they were made. Due to these mods being introduced at specific times, it is possible to identify certain patterns, but they never really existed officially. Basic rundown for the BD Blouse (the jacket) is like this:

    1937 Pattern (introduced 1938)
    (Specification E/1037 of 28th October 1938, Pattern No. 11012). The first pattern Battledress Blouse was of generous cut and had a large unlined collar fixed with two hooks and eyes. The top of the breast pockets were in line with the second button from the neck. These pockets had a box pleat and their brass dish buttons were in fly. The brass dish buttons down the front of the blouse were also concealed by a fly as were those in the cuff. The buckle to secure the waistband was of a simple prongless wire type. The waistband had three buttonholes in a fly for attachment to the trousers. There were two inside pockets.

    1939 Changes (Specification E/1037A of May 1939). As previously except that the breast pockets were 1” higher than before and the collar was lined.

    1940 Changes (Specification U/617 of 6th June 1940, Pattern No. 11456). The blouse was of a slightly less full cut than before and a new toothed buckle was introduced for the waistband.

    1940 'Austerity' Pattern (introduced 1942)
    (Specification U/617G of 5th June 1942, Pattern No. 12083). This was the first of the 1940 “Utility” Pattern battledress blouses. It was generally of a much tighter cut than before and was made of a slightly lighter serge material. The lined collar was fixed with two hooks and eyes. All buttons were now exposed and were of a 4-hole composition type officially termed Buttons, CA5377. The buttons on the shoulder straps, however, were of the shanked type. The breast pockets were larger than before and had no box pleats. The waistband now had only two buttonholes for attachment to the trousers and these were no longer in a fly. There were two inside pockets.

    July 1942 Changes (Specification U/1076 of 15th July 1942). All buttons, including the shoulder strap buttons, were now of the CA5377 type.

    1943 Changes (Specification U/1076B of 2nd January 1943). The number of inside pockets was reduced to one.

    If you want to, you could call these changes 'patterns' or 'types', although it is likely that manufacturers were not always immediate in their changes. Anyway, thats the best information about basic battledresses I have.

    Rob
    Very clearly stated and well explained outline of the changes in WWII period BD's, excellent as always Rob.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Clarification of British uniforms (UK, no Canada, Australia, India, etc., just UK)

    Quote by Ltmoravcuk View Post
    Thank you Rob,

    it seems to be that you have a long and deep study behind you. I appreciate your help. So if I can see your response just two patterns were in the force (I do not mean modifications) the pattern 1937 and pattern 1940 - Austerity. This my observation, too. From my point of view it is not right when we are using the term - BD pattern 1940 without the sub term "Austerity" because all BD pattern 1940 were Austerity. Once again thanks a lot for everybody´s reply.
    No problem. You can call the types of British BD whatever you want. The army called them all "Blouses, Battledress", anyway.

    The one they all call the non-austerity '1940 Pattern' is the U/617 Spec, of course. I suppose really we should call it 11456 Pattern, but the reality is it looks no different from the previous types at all. I think the two 1940 Patterns thing is just a confusing, pointless convention, that in reality, very few collectors even understand. Joseph's two pictures sum it up nicely, they either look like the one on the left or the one on the right, 37 type or 40 type.

    The labels are really not a good basis for a naming system, firstly because manufacturers used up old labels on new garments, and secondly because manufacturers often made designations up anyway. For example, I have an 'austerity' blouse clearly labelled "Blouse, Battledress, 1942 Pattern"! That makes sense, as the austerity type was specified in 1942 but it just goes to show how fluid the naming was, even in the 1940s.

    Rob

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