Original Early WW2 British Army Battledress Serge Suit - Lt. Colonel
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About this item
An original and rare early war Battledress jacket and trousers which belonged to a Lieutenant Colonel.
This set came directly from the Gloucestershire regiment museum and I believe it belonged to an officer of that regiment who served in the early part of WW2. The Battledress itself is the first pattern of British Army Battledress. often referred to as the 1937 pattern, but correctly termed 'Battledress, Serge'. This pattern came into use in 1938 and was superseded by the second pattern shortly after the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940. Due to these only being made in very early part of WW2, these first pattern sets are now extremely rare.
The jacket is made from the standard khaki green coloured wool serge material and features an unlined collar which is specific to the early 'Battledress, Serge' as well as a wire waist buckle - another early feature. The original owner has replaced the standard brass buttons with butterscotch coloured horn examples which was a common modification for officers BD, save for those with retain the epaulettes which are butterscotch coloured revolving shank buttons. Medal ribbons are fitted above the left breast pocket and include the Order of The British Empire, The Military Cross, The 1914 Star with clasp and the British War Medal and Victory Medal which denotes that the original owner served at the beginning of the Great War and was awarded the MC at some stage - most likely during the conflict. The oakleaf on the Victory Medal also shows he was mentioned in dispatches during the war. Khaki rank 'pips' are fitted to the epaulettes and are backed with red which is typical of early war blouses worn when coloured ranks were first introduced. There is also a single arm of service stripe to each sleeve which is again typical of the early war period.
Inside the jacket the original label is still present and is bright and legible. It bears the title of 'Battledress. Blouses, Serge' below which is the size of 9. The maker's name of 'John Hammond & Co Ltd' is also present as is the date of March 1940. Adjacent to the label is a War Department acceptance stamp which is surmounted by the letter 'Q' which confirms 1940 as the year of issue.
The trousers are again the early 'Battledress, Serge' pattern and feature the single pleat First Field Dressing pocket found on all early manufactured trousers such as these. They feature a map pocket to the front left leg and slash pockets are located at each hip. All of the original brass buttons have been replaced with butterscotch coloured horn examples which is common to find with trousers owned by officers. Inside the trousers there is a War Department acceptance stamp and also a number written in ink which is quite likely the last 4 digits of the original owner's serial number.
This set is also a medium size which is designed to fit a 39" - 40" chest. When laid flat the suit measures -
Chest - 24"
Inside Arm - 17 3/4"
Outside Arm: 23 1/2"
Shoulders - 18"
Length at back - 21 1/2"
Waist: 17 1/2"
Inside Leg: 29 1/2
Overall, this Battledress set is in good condition and it displays well. There are no serious flaws or signs of damage to the jacket although the trousers do have some holes to the crotch and the legs as illustrated in the pictures. Please take time to study these before purchasing and bear in mind that it is a vintage, pre-owned uniform which has some small flaws commensurate with age.
A hard to find early 'Battledress, Serge' set which offers the scope of further research.