The uniform for a British Airborne Soldier shall be dressed in the following manner outlined below. Please be advised that only authorized original and reproduction uniforms and equipment are allowed. The use of reproduction uniforms is often encouraged in place of originals in order to better preserve rare articles of uniforms and equipment. The list below sets forth the acceptable uniforms and equipment for members of the British 1st Airborne L.H.A. to wear. However, members of other units may have individual guidelines and requirements that may deviate from the standards listed below. Please contact your unit leader or unit authenticity officer with any questions regarding the proper uniforms and equipment.
Reproduction helmet is encouraged. Original post-war Belgian helmets are also acceptable and British Dispatch Rider and Royal Armour Corps shells can be easily converted into jump helmets. Helmets should use the leather early pattern chinstrap and cup. Helmet should be covered in the correct pattern British helmet net and scrim.
SMOCK, DENISON, AIRBORNE TROOPS
Reproduction smock is encouraged. Post-war smocks and Belgian smocks are not considered usable. Either the first or second pattern Denisons are acceptable. Aertex bush jackets are acceptable for desert impressions.
Original or reproduction. Converted P-49 trousers and modified Greek or Dutch trousers are common and affordable. Canadian trousers can be worn as well.
Original or reproduction. Worn as either walking out dress uniform or under Jump Smock in cold weather. Any of the three wartime patterns are acceptable: Battledress Serge; Battledress Serge 1940 pattern: (a.k.a. the P37 pattern); or the Austerity Pattern, (a.k.a. the P40 pattern). NOTE: the P-49 blouses are NOT acceptable. Again, Greek, Dutch or Canadian are acceptable.
First Airborne insignia consists of two airborne strips (light blue), one parachutist badge and two Pegasus badges. Please see the unit leader for other acceptable insignia types. Trade and Good Conduct badges may only be worn by ranks LCpl. and Pte. and may only be worn when awarded by the unit. Rank chevrons are worn on both sleeves of the BD blouse and may only be worn upon official promotion to that rank. Please see unit leader before adding any rank, trade, or other insignia to your BD. Any chevrons and other insignia not approved by the unit leader or properly awarded to said individual MUST be removed immediately.
The beret must be the airborne maroon colour and should be full size. WWII berets were 1" to 1 ½" larger in the crown than today’s modern red berets. Modern berets may be worn but the cap stiffener must be removed. A slightly larger size is suggested in order to aid in achieving the war-dated look.
First Airborne cap badge is the parachute wings with the King's crown. See unit leader for acceptable variations of other regiments (glider-borne troops) that were assigned to the First Airborne.
Web gear should be original and war dated. All pieces should be of the brass snap closure type and not the 1944 toggle type. In addition, all pieces will have brass fittings, not black pot metal. Web gear will consist of the following items for riflemen:
Variations of web gear may be worn with the approval of unit leader and unit authenticity officer depending on impression and specialist status.
Original or reproduction. The proper boots are the black pebbled leather with toe cap, leather sole, heel plate, and toe plate. Laces are leather and will be ladder laced (across like the steps of a ladder and not the conventional X pattern). Post-war ammo boots are still plentiful as are Dutch and Australian variations as well as British DMS boots. American military-issued safety boots with a cap toe may also be worn. Socks are stone grey wool. Two pair were issued per man.
CAMOUFLAGED FACE VEIL
Only the two-colour type should be worn. Solid olive types are post war. This is worn wrapped around the neck in an ascot-tie fashion under the Denison Smock.
Original or reproduction. The collarless shirt is a wool Henley-style pull over undershirt, that is olive green in color. Shirt will have 3 button placket and button wrist closures.
Original or reproduction. Red and green fibre Identity Disks were issued to every man. Each disk should have the paratroopers' name, religion, and service number stamped onto it. The disks should be worn around the neck under the collarless shirt at all times. Unit leader can issue correct style soldiers identification number. Worn on either leather or rope loop around neck.
Mess Kit – either tinned or aluminium type. Most original British mess tins were made of lead thus, aluminium type is preferred for health reasons. The mess kit is to be kept in the left compartment of the small pack (haversack).
British Tea Mug - Brown enamelled pint mug. The tea mug is commonly worn tied to the outside of the small pack (haversack). However in combat, the tea mug should always be placed inside the small pack to reduce rattling.
Extra Water Bottle – This is to be kept in the right compartment of small pack (haversack).
Pay Books - Reproduction AB64 pay books are available from a number of sources. These should be on your person at all times. See you unit leader or authenticity officer for instructions on the proper way to fill out this booklet.
No. 4 MKI, .303 Enfield. The No. 4 MK II is acceptable as is the American-made Enfield .303.
Original or reproduction. Not all airborne soldiers were issued Jump Trousers. The main differences between the Jump Trousers and the Battledress trousers were: (1) the rear pockets of the Jump Trousers were sewn closer together in the rear; (2) the map pocket on the right leg was larger and the interior was lined with chamois leather; and (3) the Jump Trousers had an exterior leg pocket for the F/S knife.
Original or reproduction. White non-elastic cotton suspenders issued with each pair of trousers. Later P40 type trousers did not have belt loops.
Original or reproduction. Worn as a first layer underneath the shirt. Some however can worn over the shirt. Designed to regulate body temperature.
Original. Rubberized canvas sheet used as rain cape and ground cloth. Carried folded in your small pack.
Though not issued to airborne units, the rain cape is an effective and affordable alternative to the ground cloth. Dutch and Belgian post-war copies are readily available.
RESPIRATOR CARRIER AND LIGHT WEIGHT RESPIRATOR
Original. Worn on rear of web belt, above e-tool carrier
Original or reproduction. Issued to each man and worn around the body. Used to form rope ladders, pull carts, etc.
Original. Wool stocking type cap issued to each man. Either British or Dutch copy.
Original or reproduction. Wool v-neck sweater issued to each man.
For officers, NCO’s, Bren Gunners, Signalmen, Heavy Weapons crews, or Drivers only. See unit leader before bringing a sidearm into the field. Proper sidearms are: .38 Webley, .38 Enfield, 1911 Colt .45, or 9mm Browning (Canadian model).
Original. For officers, NCO’s, LMG crew leaders only
Original or reproduction. Yellow scarf like item issued to each man to identify him as friendly troops to allied aircraft. These were carried on ones person-usually in the MKIII gas mask bag or tied around the neck under the Denison Smock in the same manner as the Sniper's (Camouflaged) Veil.
Original. The British Bivi Tent will be used at certain events. The proper British tent is generally brown in color, has two tent poles, eight stakes, with rear and front flaps.
WALKING OUT UNIFORM
All unit members are highly encouraged to secure a separate walking out / dress uniform for use when not in the field. This uniform should include the following:
BD BLOUSE: Clean and in good repair. Any one of the three previously mentioned variants. Should be complete with all unit-approved insignia. NOTE: alternative impressions are usually authorized for walking out impressions. Check with the unit leader for approval.
BD TROUSERS: Clean and in good repair. Jump trousers were NOT worn as part of the walking out uniform.
GAITERS: One clean set of ankle gaiters.
WALKING OUT BELT: One clean P37 web belt. All brass on belt shall be highly polished!
BOOTS: One set of clean polished Ammo Boots. Should have heal and toe plates, but NOT hobnailed. Again, the boots shall be ladder laced.
BERET One clean beret complete with unit approved cap badge.