The Garrison has always prided itself on the authenticity of its dress no matter which gunner regiment we are portraying and as such, has standards that it sets and tries to help all members obtain. We as understand that the buying of uniform and equipment is expensive and is a commitment in itself to the hobby. However we would like to think that after a member's first full season they would have kitted themselves out with the basic uniform and equipment.
|Roll Call Order. Early pattern Battle Dress, commonly called the 37 pattern and the latter 1940 pattern BD||Parade Order. Is as for Roll Call order with the addition of a belt and bayonet|
The Basic Uniform for the Royal Artillery
Unlike the infantry an artillery solder can get way with a smaller amount of equipment to look authentic. The basic dress or "Roll Call Order" plus a few small items will do. Roll Call Order, consists of:
Boots, Ammunition; Anklets; Trousers, Battle Dress; Blouse, Battle Dress; Shirt, Collarless; Cap, General Service (with RA bomb cap badge on Red and Blue Diamond; Lanyard; and Braces.
The Battle Dress can be either the early pattern, commonly called the 37 pattern, 1940 pattern or austerity 1940 pattern. With the standard of reproduction uniforms getting better all the time we don’t have any problem with members buying them, in fact it can be better for doing events in a repro as you then don’t have the worry of damaging them. With the addition of, an enamel mug, web belt, respirator, A.G. (gas mask) and helmet this is makes up the basic uniform and equipment, and if you brought nothing else this kit would get you through most artillery re-enactment weekends. We as a group do occasionally do pre 1944 events and for this we just change the General Service Cap for the Field Service Cap.
|Short Sleeve Order. This can be worn when ordered with either Braces Up or Down but with Leather Belt.|
What next to enhance your re-enacting adventure
Although you can get away with the above, there are a number of extra things that will help you enjoy events more. There are items of clothing that will help you keep warm authentically and things to improve your impression of a war time solder, including:
Dog Tags, AB64 Solder's Pay Book, Greatcoat, Leather Jerkin, Service Khaki Pullover, Rain Cape, Set of webbing including Small Pack, Mess Tins, Knife, Fork and Spoon (KFS as the army called it), Army Clasp Knife.
As you spend more time in the hobby you will start to pick up the habit of collecting and there is still a lot of the 1157, this is the form that the solders uniform issues were detailed on, that can be used to better you impression:
Large Pack, Holdall with your war time washing kit, Gas Cape, A set of Two Piece Denim Overalls, .303 Lee Enfield Rifle (either SMLE or No 4), Sports Kit: plimsolls, shorts, airtex shirt and not forgetting the socks.
The list is endless and as you do more events you will soon pick up the next thing on your shopping list. For more information on the 1157 issued to solders please click here.
Probably the best introduction to British WWII uniforms is the book by Martin Brayley and Richard Ingram, 'The World War II Tommy: British Army Uniforms European Theatre 1939-45' (ISBN: 9781861269140). Available from all good booksellers, it is a very helpful reference for re-enactors.
The extra things to make for a more comfortable weekend:
There are a few extra things that are worth investing in to make for a more comfortable life when away. These are not necessarily military but are most useful:
A wooden folding camp bed (although any camp bed will do), a wooden folding chair, some army grey or green blankets (5 is a good number as they can be used on displays), a sleeping bag, a personal first aid kit with any of your own medication, plenty of spare socks and underwear, a modern electric battery razor.