The Perth Regiment Of Canada (Reenacted)
THE HANDBOOK OF A RECREATED PERTH
Every Perth reenactor must be aware that permission to wear the original regiment’s insignia and to represent Perth soldiers of the Second War was conditionally awarded by the Perth Regiment Veterans’ Association and the Directorate of History, National Defence Headquarters.
Starting Out In The Perth Regiment (Recreated)
Welcome to the Perth Regiment of Canada (Reenacted). This handbook is intended to be a guide to your uniform and to the personal turn out and deportment expected of a Perth. Among the members of the Perths are some very experienced reenactors and collectors, who are more than willing to answer your questions or help you find your kit. It is a good idea to Ask Before You Buy, to ensure you are getting the correct kit at a reasonable price.
As a minimum for the new member, the following items of kit and equipment are required:
Mark II Helmet
A set of Pattern 1937 Web Equipment consisting of:
Pair of Braces
Pair of Basic Pouches
Bayonet, Scabbard,and Frog
Waterbottle and Carrier
Small Pack with L Straps
You will also need to acquire a Lee Enfield No.4 Rifle. If you do not yet have a firearms Possession And Acquisition Licence (PAL), you will need to take a Firearms Safety Course, and thus obtain one before you can purchase a firearm.
Your cap badge and shoulder insignia can be purchased from the unit either before or at an event.
Personal Turnout and Deportment
A: YOUR DEMEANOUR/ATTITUDE
Every re-enactor is a missionary for, not only the original Perth Regiment and the recreated unit, but for all of the Canadian Forces of the Second World War. In front of the public, he must be friendly, forthright, polite and well-spoken. Every action he takes and word he speaks will be quietly judged by the audience. Looking or acting sloppily, chomping on gum, flicking cigarette ashes carelessly about, sucking back a beer – all will be measured.
Every member has to be particularly respectful when talking to veterans. It is not our position to ‘teach’ veterans about the war, or to argue or correct his/her memories. We are to learn from them and commemorate their experiences and achievements. If a veterans’ memory seems incorrect, be respectful, not argumentative.
Second War soldiers wore their hair short, tapered at the sideburns, sides of the head and particularly at the back of the neck. One of the most disrespectful features of a poor turnout is an incorrect haircut. Even the most cursory examination of photographs of the Second War will prove to the reenactor that the soldier of that era wore his hair short. (see image) No matter how carefully the reenactor wears his uniform, stands erect and soldierly, has his insignia polished, his boots blackened, an incorrect haircut will spoil all his effort and will signal to the audience that he is nothing but an amateur. Other than a well-trimmed moustache, facial hair is unacceptable. Exceptions may be made for Snipers.
Although not common amongst infantrymen, there is much photographic evidence showing combat soldiers with eyeglasses. There are several correct patterns of eyeglasses as shown in the images. Every member who requires eyeglasses will make serious efforts to find a proper pattern of frames.
The Wonderful Challenge of Portraying a Soldier of the Perth Regiment
As the original regiment served both in Italy and Northwest Europe, a truly exciting aspect of recreating the Perths is that two primary orders of dress were worn in several versions, i.e. Battledress (BD) and Khaki Drill (KD).
PATTERN 37 BATTLEDRESS
This woollen, serge uniform was adopted by Britain in 1937 and soon after in Canada (Ptn39) and became the standard for temperate climate wear during the Second World War. Although some Commissioned Officers wore a more formal uniform known as Service Dress on ceremonial occasions, BD became common for all ranks to wear on all occasions from medal awards at Buckingham Palace to the front lines in Italy and northern Europe. Canadian-made BD was a darker, greener shade of khaki compared to British and, because of its higher quality wool and tailoring, was preferred in both armies. Due to financial strain, the British introduced a second pattern in 1940, which eliminated several of the classier features of the early pattern and cut the garments far closer to the body. This was known as the Economy, or Ptn40 version. At times, when supplies of Canadian BD ran short, British BD was issued in its stead. In consequence, both Canadian and British BD are acceptable for Perth reenactors.
(i) Blouse: The BD uniform consisted of two items. First, a short jacket with an integral, cloth, buckled belt. This was officially known as a Blouse. When properly worn, the garment was fashionably bloused over its own belt, or over a web Waistbelt if worn. The Blouse had two exterior, pleated patch pockets at breast height with flaps and hidden buttons and two, very deep, inside breast-level slash pockets. Three hidden buttonholes are at the back of the blouse and these are to be fastened to matching buttons on the Trousers, which prevents the two garments from gapping. The Blouse had two cloth epaulettes which were buttoned in place. Commissioned Officers wore their rank insignia on the epaulettes. In the early war, Canadian BD Blouses had hooks and eyes on the collars; later in the war, a button and tab was substituted.
Later tab fastener.
Early hook fastener.
On all formal, or ceremonial occasions, the BD Blouse is worn buttoned to the top with the collar either hooked or buttoned over. Re-enactors should remember to button the Blouse to the top and ‘hook or button over’ the collar before falling in. Blouses are to be kept buttoned up and ‘hooked over’ until the top ranking officer or NCO permits them to be opened. Therefore, it is the duty of the top ranking man on the ground, to see that all Blouses are buttoned correctly when the men have fallen in on the first parade and it is his duty to remember to order ‘unhooking’ at the first appropriate moment.
All buttons, on the Blouse and the Trousers, were secured when the soldier fell in on parade.
For very best, or No.1 use, Ptn 37 Canadian-made BD Blouses are preferred. British Ptn37 or 40 Blouses are perfectly acceptable. However, due to a decreasing supply and rising cost of original Ptn37 Blouses, the recreated Perths have accepted as direct substitutes for No.1 use, Greek and Dutch BD Blouses and Trousers, which are very similar in pattern and shade of khaki. Also, correctly-modified postwar (Ptn47 or 49) BD Blouses are acceptable. In addition, reproduction suits of BD are available in Canada and the United States. These generally follow British tailoring and appointments and shade of cloth, but are perfectly acceptable.
British Ptn 1940 Battledress Blouse.
All No.1 Blouses are to be worn with Perth Regiment Shoulder Titles and plain Divisional Patches. The Perth Regiment title is worn centered on the sleeve 1/4 inch below the shoulder seam. The plain 5th Canadian Armoured Division distinguishing patch is worn centered on the sleeve 3 inches below the shoulder seam. Where applicable, members authorised to wear service chevrons will wear them on the right cuff as shown in the photo. No other insignia is permitted to be worn on a Perth blouse by a Private soldier.
Chevrons are sewn centrally onto the lower right sleeve of the Blouse. When mounting the White Chevron, the bottom of the apex is to be 4 3/4" from the cuff’s bottom edge. To add Red Chevrons above the White, mount the Red so that its backing is touching the backing of the White. To mount a Red Chevron without a White, mount it 5 1/4" from the cuff’s bottom edge.
Near the close of the war in Europe, fashion-conscious Canadian soldiers had their Blouse collars tailored to lay permanently open and flat. This new style meant that the men’s Shirts were constantly seen and, for that reason, ties were worn, black for the Other Ranks and tan for Commissioned Officers. Judging from photographic evidence, such modified collars were not worn in combat. Men who were off duty and walking-out in public were allowed to wear their Blouse collars open whether modified or not, and ties were worn as a strict rule.
When on duty in front of the public, Blouses must always be buttoned and hooked, unless specifically ordered otherwise by the ranking officer or NCO.
(ii) Trousers: Unlike modern trousers, BD Trousers rose well above the soldier’s hips to his waist. The trouser legs were loose, not form-fitting. On the upper right leg, there was a small patch pocket to carry a small bandage called the First Field Dressing when on active service. On the left leg above the knee, was a large patch pocket to carry maps or the like. At the front were two, deep ‘slash’ pockets and on each buttock, internal pockets with buttoned down flaps and hidden buttons.
As original Ptn37 Trousers are extremely scarce and expensive, the unit has long accepted the substitution of Ptn49 Trousers. The latter Trousers do not have the First Field Dressing pocket on the right thigh, although keen members often find a small piece of serge of matching colour, tailor one and mount it.
The field dressing pocket was 4 inches wide by 6 inches high, had a flat pleat in the center and was secured at the top by a button. The precise location of the pocket depended on the size of the trousers, but was usually about 1 1/2 inches forward of the edge of the thigh pocket and 6 to 7 inches down from the waist. Minor variations in size and pattern may be found between manufacturers.
Location of the field dressing pocket.
Field dressing pocket showing the field dressing.
Making A First Field Dressing Pocket
1. Obtaining the materials. You will need a piece of battledress material measuring 6 inches wide by 7 inches high. Matching material is preferable, keeners can remove a piece from the area of the trousers covered by the map pocket, and replace it with another piece of cloth. You will also need a steel battledress button and khaki thread.
2. Cut the wool to size and dampen. Make a 3/4 inch fold along the top edge, iron flat and stitch the fold in place using 2 rows of stitching. At the center of the top edge, measure down 1/4 inch and cut a vertical slit 1 inch long. This can be hemmed with stitching and is the button hole. Turn over and fold the wool in half lengthwise, then fold it 1/4 inch back on itself to make a center pleat, and iron flat. Stitch the pleat only at the top and bottom.
3. Turn the wool over so that the crease is on the underside. Now fold over the bottom edge so that the pocket measures 6 inches from top to bottom. Iron the fold.
4. Now fold and stitch the sides so that the pocket measures 5 inches across. In the example shown, fabric glue was used to hold the folds in place, this can help in construction but takes some practice. All edges were hemmed to minimise fraying.
Inside of the field dressing pocket showing the folds.
5. Position the pocket in the desired location on the trousers and sew the sides and bottom, leaving the top edge open. Sew the button in place. Press the new pocket flat using a damp cloth to prevent shiny areas on the wool.
On Ptn37 Trousers, a buttoned-over tab tightly closed the leg bottoms, so that Web Anklets or cloth Puttees could be worn over top. With Ptn49 Trousers, there were often two tabs, which produced a more evenly folded-over appearance. On many Trousers of either pattern, the tabs and buttons have been removed, to make the bottom of the Trousers look neater when worn off-duty without Anklets or Puttees. Another variation is the bottom of the Trousers’ legs are turned up slightly and hemmed with a bootlace run through, so that the bottom could be neatly tied tight before putting on the Anklets or Puttees. For Trousers without tabs or bootlaces, the bottom of the leg can be box folded, or ‘boxed’ (see photos) and laces tied around the outside before putting on the Anklets. When walking out in public without Anklets or Puttees, all cuff tabs must be buttoned. Between events, Trousers should be hung from the leg bottoms by pant hangers, not folded over a hanger, as the latter leaves an obvious, amateurish crease across the middle of the leg. Although BD Trousers have large belt loops, it appears that they were rarely worn with a Waistbelt if the Blouse was also being worn. Virtually all soldiers held their Trousers up with Suspenders. All belt loops are to be buttoned on formal occasions.
Common type of military Suspenders. The "POLICE" or "FIRE" stamped on the adjustments are brand names. These may be of postwar manufacture but are perfectly acceptable.
iii) PATTERN 49 BATTLEDRESS BLOUSES
In order to get new recruits into the field as soon as possible, the reenactment unit has long accepted the substitution of postwar, Ptn49 Blouses which continue to be relatively inexpensive and much easier to find. This pattern features the late-war, permanently folded back collar. Ideally, the Ptn49 Blouse will not be worn at formal, ceremonial events. Many members use this pattern exclusively for field exercises to protect their No.1 Ptn37 Blouses from damage and wear.
How to convert a pattern '49 Battle Dress blouse to pattern '37.
Note the open collar and stepped lapels on the Pattern 49 Blouse. Even with the collar buttoned closed the difference between Ptn 37 and Ptn 49 is very evident.
Because the Ptn49 Blouse is considered a No.2 item to be used exclusively for field work, or as a stop-gap, the regimental insignia to be put up are the 5th Armoured Division’s Patches Distinguishing and CANADA Flashes. The CANADA flashes are worn centered on the sleeve 1 1/2 inches below the shoulder seam. The 5th Armoured Division Patches Distinguishing are worn centered on the sleeve 3 inches below the shoulder seam.
E: KHAKI DRILL
A type of uniform collectively known as Khaki Drill (KD) was worn by Canadians in the Italian Campaign during hot weather. KD was generally of British or Indian manufacture, some KD made in the USA was also worn. Original KD in wearable condition is usually expensive and hard to find, however very good reproductions are availible. Original KD was made of cotton drill material or a loose weave cloth known as Aertex. Both types have been reproduced. Canada also made a uniform known as Khaki Drill, it was heavier and a greener shade than the British or Indian KD. It was worn only in Canada and Bermuda and was not worn overseas.
The Aertex jacket is long sleeved and has 4 pockets, a similar shirt with only two breast pockets was also produced. The jacket was normally worn outside the trousers. Regimental insignia is worn on brassards on both sleeves.
Closeup of the shirt showing the loose weave typical of the Aertex pattern.
A reproduction brassard in wear showing placement of the Canada title and Regimental insignia.
Four pocket reproduction KD Jacket. Buttons may be plastic or pressed metal. Several patterns of this type of jacket have been reproduced, any are acceptable for wear.
KD Trousers. Note the single waist buckle and the First Field Dressing pocket.
These reproduction KD Shorts are shortened trousers and have loops at the waist for the web belt. KD Shorts are normally worn with knee length socks or hosetops and puttees.
Side view showing placement of the Canada title and Regimental insignia. Alternatively, the insignia may be worn on the brassard.
F: Leather Jerkin
In cold or wet weather a leather jerkin was very popular. The jerkin was sleeveless and lined with either a worsted wool fabric or heavy battledress material. British made Jerkins usually were a medium brown in colour, Canadian Jerkins were a much darker brown. Both British and Canadian patterns were worn. Postwar British Jerkins are made of a vinyl material but closely resemble wartime patterns. Postwar Jerkins are quite acceptable.
Canadian wartime Jerkin.
British Jerkin of wartime manufacture.
Postwar British Jerkin
G: WEB ANKLETS
Web Anklets or Gaiters covered the area where the trousers tucked in to the boots. They were made in 4 sizes, size 1 being the smallest. Made of khaki coloured web material, they usually have leather or canvas reenforcements on the inside. Canadian made anklets have web straps, British made anklets had either web or leather straps. Both Canadian and British anklets were worn by Canadians.
Front and back views of typical Canadian made size 2 Web Anklets. The top anklet is worn on the left ankle, the bottom one on the right.
Front and back views of typical British made size 3 Web Anklets. Note the leather straps.
Canadian Anklets worn with Battledress trousers.
British Anklets worn with Khaki Drill trousers.
Note the tabs are worn on the outside of the ankles and the straps face the rear.
Puttees are made of greenish khaki or brown wool and are wrapped around the calf over the top of the boots and bottom of the trousers. Puttees worn during the Second World War are known as "short puttees" and were normally about 42 inches long with 54 inch long tapes. They were superior to Web Anklets in keeping sand and pebbles out of the boots and provided better ankle support than Web Anklets. Light fawn coloured puttees are the perogative of Officers and Warrant Officers and are not to be worn by Other Ranks.
Typical wool puttees. A useful method of storing them in order to wrap them quickly is to roll them with the tapes on the inside.(bottom pair)
In order to put puttees on, the bottom of the trousers are first folded inwards and tucked inside the top of the boots. Ensure that the trousers are loose enough to blouse down over the puttees. The laces are wrapped around the top of the boots and tied.
Starting on the center outside of the calf, about 2 inches below the top of the boot, the puttee is wrapped around clockwise on the right ankle and counter clockwise on the left ankle.
The puttee may either be wrapped in one layer or with a 1/2 inch showing between each turn. The end of the puttee should be centered on the outside of the ankle
The tape is wrapped around centered on the "V" in one layer and folded under and tied on the inside of the calf.
It takes a bit of practise to get the position of the end of the puttee and the tape in the correct location, but the final result is worth the effort.
Both Canadian and British pattern boots were worn by the Perths during the Second World War. British made boots have toecaps, Canadian boots do not. The black Boot, Ankle, Militia, G.S. or "ammunition boot" and it's British equivalent were the standard footwear worn by Other Ranks. These boots were made with leather uppers and leather soles. Canadian Army Ankle boots made from the 1950s through the 1970s are similar in appearance to wartime boots but have rubber soles. Boots were worn with heel and toe irons or cleats to reduce wear on the soles. Boots will be straight (ladder) laced. It is recommended that you have two pairs of boots, one for the field and a pair for parade wear.
Canadian wartime boots. Note the pebble surface on the leather. This must not be smoothed down.
British made boots with the toecap.
ORDERS OF DRESS, ACCOUTREMENTS AND ARMS
A: BATTLE ORDER - RIFLEMAN
Battle order consists of the Waistbelt, Braces, 2 Basic Pouches, Bayonet, Scabbard and Frog, and Waterbottle and Waterbottle Carrier. This is the minimum equipment required by a rifleman. Depending on the event Warning Order other equipment may be worn such as entrenching tool and carrier, small pack, rain cape/gas cape, ammunition bandolier or shovel. Generally on field tacticals any or all of the above MAY be carried. Bear in mind however, that your equipment load will get heavier before it gets lighter. The helmet is the preferred headwear, period photos show that in combat, helmets were almost universally worn. On events or demonstrations where the type of headwear is optional, Officers and NCOs should set an example by wearing the helmet rather than the beret.
(i) Web Equipment
What To Acquire:
Pattern 1937 Web equipment may be of either war dated or postwar manufacture, and so long as it is of wartime pattern, it is acceptable. Pattern 37 Web was made by almost every major Commonwealth country, and it is all interchangeable. When it was manufactured, web equipment ranged in shade from a sandy yellow (Canadian manufacture) to a greyish khaki (British), some web made in other Commonwealth countries had a distinct greenish cast. It was also made in blue/grey or white for the Air Force or Military Police respectively. After issue, web equipment was often "blancoed" or touched up with web dressing or cleaner and may have a shiny green or almost painted look to it. Web with this type of finish should generally be avoided.
The metal tabs, buckles and fittings were generally made of brass, but some web had grey steel fittings or brass with a brown phosphated finish known as "battle brass". Note: Web equipment with black steel fittings was made postwar and should be only worn by the Perths if the black steel has been overpainted with brown or khaki flat matte enamel, or the fittings are not visible. Unpainted black steel fittings are acceptable for tacticals, however web equipment with brass fittings is preferred.
It is not necessary that the colour of your web set matches exactly, soldiers wore what they were issued and quartermasters were not concerned that the equipment matched in colour, manufacturer or date. It is advisable however that the webbing be in good condition, and the colour match be at least reasonably similar between items. A keen reenactor may want a set of webbing of all Canadian or all British wartime manufacture.
There are dozens of variations in manufacturing details of the Pattern 1937 Web Equipment, these are beyond the scope of this document. Collectors may wish to check out the Perth website links for more information and reference material.
The Pattern 1937 Waistbelt comes in 3 lengths, Short, Normal and Long. It has brass buckles and brass or cloth sliding "keepers". There are two brass buckles on tabs at the rear. There are flat cloth loops sewn into the back of the belt, these are intended for wire tabs to hold individual pieces of equipment in place. It is advisable to have two waistbelts, one for field wear and a "best belt" for Walking Out or parades. This also avoids having to constantly assemble and dissassemble your webbing.
The Waistbelt in wear. Note that the Battledress Jacket is pulled down and "bloused over the belt.
Cloth "keepers" on a British made waistbelt.
The brown finish known as "battle brass" on the metal parts of a Canadian made waistbelt.
Bayonet, Scabbard and Frog
The Bayonet is a No4 Mk II and is it carried in a Scabbard No4 Mk I. The Scabbard fits into the Bayonet Frog as shown in the images above. The lower Frog was introduced in 1942 and was worn well into the 1950s. Whichever pattern is worn, the Bayonet and Scabbard must be clean and free of rust.
Bayonets are fixed ONLY on parades or by escorts to Colours on the order of the Officer commanding the colour party. They are not to be worn in Messes or in places of worship.
Braces were issued in left and right pairs. The left brace has a loop on the inside though which the right brace is passed.
Note that the loop is worn on the inside.
There were 4 patterns of Basic Pouches made by Canada and several similar British patterns, one of the most common types of Canadian Pouches is illustrated. No matter which pattern, they all have 3 identifying features: a snap fastener, ladder type buckle, and a pair of hooks on the back. You will need 2 basic pouches, they should match in appearance.
Front and rear views of the Basic Pouches.
Waterbottle and Carrier
There were two patterns of Waterbottle Carrier, the "skeleton" and the "sleeve". The skeleton pattern is the most common, but either pattern is acceptable. The Waterbottle is made of blue or khaki coloured enameled steel, covered with wool felt. A cork is secured by a short length of string. The Waterbottle is worn on the right side, suspended from the ends of the Braces.
Adjust the Waistbelt over your Battledress to fit your waist.
Slide the Bayonet Frog onto the Waistbelt.
Attach the Braces to the Waistbelt buckles at the back. Adjust the length so that you have long enough loose ends at the back for attaching the Waterbottle Carrier.
Attach the basic pouches as shown, and run the brace ends through the bottom 2 slots on the Basic Pouch tabs, leaving the top slot empty.
Attach the Water Bottle.
When fitted properly the Web Equipment should fit snugly and around the waist, and not constrict your chest.
Method of attaching the Basic Pouch to the Waistbelt.
Front view of Battle Order. The braces are passed though the second loop of the buckles on the Basic Pouches, leaving the top loop free.
Basic Battle Order with the Small Pack worn. Note that the Small Pack is worn high on the back. The Entrenching Tool and Carrier is a nice item to have, but is not required.
The Small Pack worn high on the back. The shoulder straps are always worn over the epaulettes. Note the open ends of the buckles are worn facing the Small Pack.
The round hooks on the Small Pack braces hook into the top of the buckles on the Basic Pouches.
Wartime images of Canadian soldiers in combat invariably show the helmet being worn by all ranks. The helmet worn is usually the Canadian or British made Mark II. It will be worn with or without netting, depending on the Dress Instructions for the event, however on tacticals and battle demonstrations the helmet is normally worn with netting and scrim. It is very rare to see hessian or burlap worn under the helmet net, this was specifically prohibited in Army regulations.
Alternatively, the Mark III helmet may be worn. Sometimes known as the "Invasion Helmet" it was first issued in large quantity to Canadian soldiers for the Normandy Landings. Small numbers of the Mk III helmet appear to have been worn by Perths in NW Europe in early 1945. This helmet will not be worn by Perths doing an Italian Campaign impression. The similar Mark IV helmet if modified to resemble a Mark III and worn with netting and a khaki chinstrap is also acceptable. The Mark II helmet is the preferred pattern however.
Two patterns of helmet netting in wear. The small mesh net worn by the soldier on the left is the Canadian two colour brown/green, the larger mesh net is the British manufactured brown net. Either pattern is correct for wear by Perths.
Another view of the two major patterns of helmet netting in wear. Note the shell dressings under the netting and the leather jerkins.
Note the shell dressings attached to the netting. The sergeant at the top is wearing a motorcyclist helmet.
A clear view of Field Dressings worn under the helmet netting.
The Second World War Canadian two colour netting is very evident in this photo, this pattern was worn in the Canadian Army well into the 1970s.
Mark III Helmet.
Field Service Cap:
The Field Service Cap or F.S. Cap in modern parlance is known as a wedge cap. In the Italian Campaign it was worn well into 1944, when it was eventually replaced by the beret. The F.S. cap is worn square on the head, tilted to the right. The F.S. cap is the preferred soft cap worn with K.D. when parading or off duty. Although it is called a Field Service Cap.
General Service Cap:
The British General Service or G.S. Cap was widely issued to Perths in Italy. In general appearance it is similar to a beret, but has a noticable seam around the top of the body and a wide headband.
Field Service Cap.
General Service Cap.
The Canadian beret was made of khaki coloured wool with a brown leather band. Unlike modern berets the body was much larger and fuller and it did not have a badge stiffener. The beret is worn centered on the head with the band about two fingers width above the eyebrow. The beret was pulled to the right and the cap badge is centered over the left eye. Some soldiers put a celluloid or cardboard stiffener inside the beret to raise and center the cap badge. Note that during the Second World War, berets were NOT intentionally shrunk as is modern practice. A large floppy beret was the style for the period. The Perth badge will always be highly polished. Canadian WWII pattern berets are harder to find in good head sizes, however these are being reproduced.
Cap Comforter or Balaclava:
The brown or khaki British Cap Comforter or Balaclava was worn in cold or wet weather and was often worn under the helmet. They may be pulled down to protect the ears and face in extreme weather. Balaclavas will only be worn on field schemes and are particularly useful in winter or on night patrols when helmets are not worn. Note that a cap badge is not worn on this headwear.
Post war khaki coloured Canadian Army khaki balaclavas are permitted.
Balaclava as worn.
Wartime pattern Balaclava.
Postwar pattern Balaclava.
A shortened version of the balaclava known as a scullcap was also worn in cold weather, quite often under the helmet.
Scull Cap as worn.
As worn under the helmet.
B: BATTLE ORDER - THE LITTLE EXTRAS
Period photographs of Canadian soldiers in the field show a considerable variety of extra kit and equipment in wear. For Public Demonstrations an event Warning Order will specify if extra kit and equipment over and above the basic Battle Order is to be worn, and by whom. For most non-public events, the wearing of extra kit is generally up to the individual member.
Note well that wearing or carrying captured enemy or unusual Allied weapons or equipment was very rare and that photographs showing these in use by Canadian soldiers were invariably staged for publicity purposes.
Utility Pouches will only be worn by designated members.
Only Bren and 2 inch mortar detachment members will wear the basic Battle Order as above, with the addition of Utility Pouches. The Utility Pouch set consists of two Utility Pouches, a Yoke and a Brace. This enables the detachment member to carry an extra 6 Bren magazines or mortar bombs. The Utility Pouch is similar to the Basic Pouch, but is larger, has a wider buckle at the top for the Yoke and a loop on the back for the Brace.
Rear view of the Utility Pouch Set showing the method of attaching the yoke and brace.
Utility Pouch open showing the Bren magazines. Note that Bren Magazines will either be completely deactivated or permanently converted to 5 round capacity as required by government regulation.
Front view of the Utility Pouch set in wear. Note the Yoke goes over the left shoulder and the brace goes behind the right Basic Pouch.
Rear view of the Utility Pouch set in wear. Note that the back pouch is worn on the opposite side to the front pouch.
Rear view of the Utility Pouch set in wear when the Small Pack is not worn.
An alternative method of wear was to have both pouches in front, the Yoke going around the neck and the brace around the waist.
Sten Pouches will only be worn by designated members.
When the 1937 Pattern Web was first designed, there was no provision for a magazine pouch for the Sten sub-machinegun, as the Sten had not yet been invented. Upon the adoption of the Sten, soldiers were unable to carry the magazines in the standard Basic Pouches as the magazines were too long. This was rectified by altering the pouch by adding a small piece of webbing to the top. This pattern was eventually standardised. Two Sten Pouches will be carried by soldiers armed with the Sten, they are attached to the webbing in exactly the same manner as the Basic Pouches.
Sten Pouch open, showing the 4 magazines. Note the extra piece of web material stitched inside the top to accomodate the length of the magazines. Note that Sten Magazines will either be completely deactivated or permanently converted to 5 round capacity as required by government regulation.
Enamel mugs were often carried, attached to one of the straps on the Small Pack. The most common types are white enamel with blue trim or brown. Postwar British patterns are available and inexpensive.
Rifle Ammunition Bandolier:
Infantrymen in combat commonly carried one or more cloth rifle ammunition bandoliers slung over the shoulder. Made of khaki cotton, the bandolier has 5 pockets secured by a wire clip. A version of bandolier with a slit flap and no wire clips was also used. Each pocket holds two 5 round charger clips.
Shovels And Picks:
Period photographs show that Picks or Shovels were very commonly carried by Canadian infantrymen. Either was greatly superior to the Entrenching Tool for digging slit trenches or fire trenches.
C: WALKING OUT ORDER
Walking Out Order is worn when off duty and also may be ordered for parades or when manning displays. Walking Out dress normally consists of headwear (Beret or F.S. Cap with polished cap badge), well pressed No1. Battledress Blouse and Trousers, Waistbelt, Web Anklets and blackened Boots. When Walking Out Order is worn off duty a khaki shirt and black tie is optional.
BD Blouse with lined collar, KD shirt and black tie. As the recreated Perths are not representing peacetime soldiers, ties are not a requirement when off duty.
DRESS ORDERS - EVENTS
There are several types of events attended by the recreated Perths and each requires a particular order of dress and equipment.
1. Public Ceremonial – Includes parades, funerals and marches. This requires the highest order of personal care and pride, as the reenactor carries the reputation of original regiment, as well as that of his recreated unit, in his hands. If his personal turnout or deportment is marginal, the public gets the impression that the original regiment was ‘not up to scratch’ and lacked soldierly capabilities.
NOTE WELL – the public will not simply think that the reenactor doesn’t understand what is correct and important, but conclude that the men who originally wore the regimental insignia didn’t either.
Haircut - Particularly important is the haircut. One of the most disrespectful features of a poor turnout is an incorrect haircut. Even the most cursory examination of photographs of the Second War will prove to the reenactor that the soldier of that era wore his hair short, tapered at the sideburns, sides and neck. No matter how carefully the reenactor wears his uniform, stands erect and soldierly, has his insignia polished, his boots blackened, an incorrect haircut spoils all his effort and signals to the audience that he nothing but an amateur.
Webbing – At Public Ceremonial events where a ‘Walking-Out’ P-37 Waistbelt (see below) is required, the metal fittings on the belt, front and back, will be highly polished. The webbing of the ‘Walking-Out’ belt will be spotlessly clean.
In the unit’s Warning Order for the event, the command structure will designate if the Walking-Out belt is to mount a frog, bayonet & scabbard. If so, the frog is to be spotlessly clean and the bayonet is to be mounted in the scabbard correctly (see below.)
All brass fittings are highly polished and the waistbelt is spotlessly clean.
When worn in any order of dress, the socket of the bayonet always faces to the rear.
Many ceremonial marches require the wearing of Battle or Fighting Order Webbing and Helmets. The unit Warning Order will designate the exact order of Webbing to be worn and whether Helmets are with or without Nets. Members will adhere to this instruction without deviation and remove all the little extras that are not called for.
2. Public Static Displays – at such events, Perth reenactors are manning and animating a display intended for public consumption. Again, the highest order of personal care and pride should be shown. Individual members will likely be asked to dress in different uniforms illustrating the whole range of the original Perth experience. Each man will take great care that his haircut is correct, his uniform spotlessly clean and in excellent repair and well pressed. He will wear additional kit as required for his specific presentation.
NOTE WELL: Other than holstered, deactivated or mock handguns, which must be carried in a holster with shut flap, Perth reenactors will not carry firearms of any kind while manning the display.
3. Public Demonstrations – these events include simulated battles, ‘combat’ marches, animated camps and serving as extras in films/videos. On such occasions, members will most likely be expected to be uniform in order of dress. i.e. all in BD or all in KD. Cloth headdress will not be mixed – either all berets or all service caps. The event warning order will designate the degree of informality; the order of Webbing and the ‘accessories’ to be worn or carried such as Jerkins, Shovels or Picks, Spare Barrel Carriers, Utility Pouches and by whom.
Again, as the members are wearing Perth insignia, their uniform and kit will be neat and clean, even to the extent of being for too clean, rather than too dirty. When the public sees soldiers on a march, they don’t expect to see filthy examples, whether that would be correct or not. Perth reenactors are not going to revise the public’s view of history and discredit the original regiment in the process.
When serving as film extras, the degree of wear and ‘dirtiness’ will be consistent with the Director’s instructions; however, members should remember that, other than a fugitive moment of on-screen glory, there’s nothing to be gained by ruining original kit.
Private Ken Earl, Dog Company, north of Arnhem, April 15, 1945.
In combat, the uniform and kit was worn according to taste. Experience taught the soldier what he needed and what was just an encumbrance.
As reenactors, we can't even come faintly close to what this soldier and his buddies experienced. The best we can do is follow their example and do our best to keep their spirit alive and never forget.