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The British Army soldier of WW2 possessed a vast array of kit, this of course included items of uniform as well as personal and fighting equipment.
The standard issue uniform issued to the British soldier in the UK was the Battle Dress (BD).
The BD was known in Malta as the winter uniform, this was to be worn from November till the end of May. Since temperatures on Malta change fast it was very common for servicemen to adapt their uniforms to the situation. The Khaki Drill (KD) or summer uniform was the most common type of clothing donned throughout the year in Malta.
The most common layout for webbing was the Battle Order; this was mainly used in combat and training.
Infantry used the multi purpose ammo pouches which were large enough to take Bren magazines, grenades, charger clips etc. When the soldier had to move a long distance or during route marches, he would have worn the Marching Order.
The headgear used on the Maltese Islands consisted mainly of the FS Cap and the Mk.II helmet. The Mk.II helmet used in Malta had a unique and distinguishable camouflage pattern applied to it. Here you can find what any soldier serving in Malta (not only the Maltese Regiments) would possess with some information and peculiarities about how this was used on our island.
Being made of serge this was appropriate for the cold temperatures of NW Europe, but was not the case for Southern Europe or North Africa. This consisted of a BD blouse with two chest pockets and epaulettes, BD trousers with a First Field Dressing pocket and a larger ‘map’ pocket on the left leg.


Due to the endless destruction of convoys bringing supplies to the island, the ‘40 “austerity” pattern never got to Malta in large amounts and was therefore never issued.
There were various messy ways of doing this but the most common system used was that of mixing some clay, blanco and sugar until a yellowish KD colour was obtained. It consisted of a pair of cross straps and a web belt to which the soldier would attach a pair of ammo pouches, water bottle and a bayonet. Standard battle order layout would be worn with the difference that the small pack would be slung on the soldier’s right hip instead of the water bottle and the large pack (haversack) was worn on the shoulders. Often referred to as the side cap (since it was worn tilted to the right side of the head), this was made of khaki barathea and had two fold down flaps to cover the ears and neck in case of cold weather, these were kept in place by means of 2 GS buttons.
Helmets came in their standard dark green colour from England, a colour which does not really exist on our dry and light Mediterranean terrain. Under the blouse one had to wear a woolen collarless shirt and keep the Blouse collar closed, Officers could open the collar and wear a shirt and tie.
Coincidently the best clay for this job could be found on a slope very close to Ghajn Tuffieha rest camp.
A small pack was carried on the back during patrols or long exercises, in it a soldier would keep some clothing, water and some supplies like food or extra ammo. Guards of honour, parades, inspections and other ceremonial duties were continued by the Maltese soldiers even during the worst periods of the war.
Infantrymen wanting to blend in with the scenery decided to paint their helmets in the Maltese Camouflage (stone wall) pattern.
Photographs show that the cap comforter was also used by Maltese and British troops in Malta for commando style training and missions such as small scale raids on Sicily. To protect their legs from the sun (especially the British), soldiers wore hose tops, a sort of woolen leg warmer which covered from the ankle to the knee.


The entrenching tool was not issued in Malta since digging foxholes is impossible on the rocky island.
Soon all helmets issued not only to army personnel but also Police and ARP were appearing in this pattern (fashion trend?). This was kept in place inside the ammo boot by means of puttees which were wrapped around the ankle. By August 43 the war had moved away from Maltese shores and therefore the changeover from FS to GS was quite fast, unlike with the Battledress. Army helmets were painted “en masse” whereas civilian or police were “do-it-yourself” jobs, this meant that no pattern was ever the same. Puttees reinforced the ankle (Maltese terrain is VERY rough) and also ensured waterproofing.
Officers were also issued with bush jackets which had four pockets and were worn over the shorts. A common remedy was to paint patches of whatever colour on the helmet and cover it up with sand. This pattern was also used during the invasion of Sicily by small numbers of troops, presumably those coming from Malta. After the war all army helmets were re-painted in green, thus originals are an extreme rarity.




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20.11.2014, author: admin


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