THE SUFFOLK REGIMENT LIVING HISTORY SOCIETY
World War Two Living History & Re-enactment Society
Photos: Alex Andrews
Here we have a Private looking slightly more dishevelled. In the left hand photo he is wearing 'Light Order' and carries the following: 37 Pattern webbing with Mk2 pouches, scrim scarf, bandolier.
In the right photo, you can see his entrenching tool, re-introduced after the Fall of France. This variant lacks the, later, bayonet attachment and is probably an example left over from the Great War or inter-war years. He also carries an early gas cape and waterbottle. Gas capes changed slightly towards the end of the war, most notably in colour, so this has presumably been kept over. Their primary use in North West Europe was to keep rain off, gas not being used in that Theatre.
You can also see his rifle, which will be covered in more detail in the 'Infantry Weapons' section.
Of note are the Mk2 helmet he is wearing. Prior to the Normandy Landings, 3 Division were issued with Mk3 helmets as they were to form the assault troops. The Mk2 would place this individual prior to this time or as a replacement following the invasion.
On his lower left sleeve he wears a chevron. This is not a badge of rank but a 'Good Conduct Stripe' indicating that he has 2 years 'Good Conduct'.
He wears the 40 Austerity tunic mentioned on the previous page. Note the exposed buttons and lack of pleats on the pockets.
The NCO shown here demonstrates the difference between the early war Mk II helmet and the later Mk III or 'Turtle' helmet, so called because of its resemblance to a turtle shell.
He is shown carrying 'Battle Order' with the pack and shovel being the notable additions to the webbing above. In his pack, he carries the necessary equipment to survive on his own in the field for a couple of days, including his 24 hour ration pack, emergency rations, change of socks, mess tins, washroll, boot polish/dubbin, water purifiers, etc.
He carries a shovel as a compliment to the entrenching tool he also carries on his webbing.. The e-tool was far from the most pracitcal of items when it came to 'digging in' and it is common to see photos of men carrying pickaxes or shovels. In some cases, the issued e-tools were dispensed with, the men carrying just the conventional shovels or picks.
As an NCO, he is equipped with the Sten Machine Carbine, a weapon usually issued to Corporals and above due to the ease with which soldiers could rapidly expend their ammunition.
Click 'Next Page' to look at our 'Weapons of the British Infantry' Pages.