Surviving and scarcity.

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Surviving and scarcity.

Bill A
Bill A

December 3rd, 2007, 3:27 pm #1

The string on the 1 Can Para title got me thinking about the survivability of uniforms in particular. Recently, Canadian WW2 tunics have skyrocketed in value. Ten years ago, a good regimental tunic could be had for well under $200. Now the prices are averaging $500 - $600 plus.
What is the survivability of WW2 battledress? A few points to consider. The soldier likely only kept one battledress. The average infantry battalion had a strength of approximately 800, and maybe double or more when reinforcements and attrition are considered. Armoured units had fewer, as did artillery regiments. How many of these were kept? And how many survive?
Uniforms are subject to natural forces that destroy the item, much easier than the metal badges. If relegated to the closet or a trunk, they often attacked by moth, mould, or mice. Others were taking up space and regarded as garbage. Several times I have been told that the uniforms were simply thrown out.
Now, all of these factors plus interest in them as historic artefacts is driving prices to new highs. WW2 battledress will only incease in value, and hopefully this will ensure more survive.
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Michael Reintjes
Michael Reintjes

December 3rd, 2007, 7:25 pm #2

...Some good points there Bill...I have been collecting Battledress for over 30 years and have noticed that actual battle worn Infantry jackets are almost none existant.All the Infantry jackets that I have in my collection save one are in great condition with only minor staining or mothing if any.The only one I know for a fact that was combat worn is an absolute wreck and is almost junk compared with this E Scots soldier's best BD which I have as well.Interestingly the battle worn jacket looks to have the anti gas treatment and has all unit insignia removed save the CVSM ribbon.the other tunic to the same guy is fully badged with canvas insignia.Alot of photos and anecdotal evidence that suggest the removal of insignia during operations was quite common, especially among Infantry.I would think that just about all surviving original WW2 Infantry battledress are of the "best or walking out" variety despite the badging and tailoring.the combat stuff just did not survive and was desposed of.I have several "pairs of BD jackets from the same soldiers and most of these pairs are in exceptional condition suggesting to me that alot of guys were re-kitted for repatriation to Canada.I think some exception to this is some Artillery or Corps troops battledress which look somewhat worn but not wrecked which could be attributed to not crawling along dikes etc.I think perhaps some of these corps BD'S were operationally worn.You are quite right that the years and garbage man have taken their toll and the real deal researchable stuff is getting increasingly scarce which unfortunately has led to a lot of Mickey Mouse made up stuff on places like ebay.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

December 4th, 2007, 1:43 am #3

Guys, don't forget that everyone that was still in Europe in 1945 got a new set of battle dress to come home in. You couldn't have them coming back from the war looking like tramps. I'm not sure what happened to the old stuff; Ed may have a clear idea, but I suspect it was junked. We very quickly demobilized from over 500,000 men and women in uniform to a fraction of that. Stuff that had been worn in action had absolutely zero value as far as I know.

Possible also that some may have gone to Belgium or the Netherlands, just as our vehicles did?
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Doug Townend
Doug Townend

December 4th, 2007, 2:22 am #4

BDU and other clothing items of troops in combat were replaced quarterly. Generally, used BDU were sent to the Army and Corps salvage units for recycling. If salvageable, cleaning and repair work would be done and the items packaged for re-issue. Much went to UNRRA for clothing displaced persons, to the Dutch Army being reformed, and other requirements. Scrapped textiles were sold to civilians.

BDU and other clothing items of troops in combat were replaced quarterly, so troops probably kept the latest issued to them to have more than one to wear. Troops probably brought home more than one BDU.

FYI, Chapter 13 of the history of the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps has a very interesting section on salvage operations both during and after the war in NWE.

DT.
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dale
dale

December 10th, 2007, 10:51 am #5

hello,
i think you forgot the odvious. a lot of men wore there battle dress for work close after being demobbed.
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Mike Dyer
Mike Dyer

December 10th, 2007, 7:39 pm #6

Nice BD, but the flashes look post war.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... R40QQfviZ1
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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

December 10th, 2007, 9:55 pm #7

The uniform was not BD, it is Canadian WWII Service Dress which is a more difficult uniform to find but less desireable by your average 'collector' as these uniforms were not used in NW Europe. My 'gut reaction' on this one is that the badges have been added on, but really there is nothing special about this Jacket other than it is in good condition.
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robert wilson
robert wilson

December 20th, 2007, 10:14 pm #8

...Some good points there Bill...I have been collecting Battledress for over 30 years and have noticed that actual battle worn Infantry jackets are almost none existant.All the Infantry jackets that I have in my collection save one are in great condition with only minor staining or mothing if any.The only one I know for a fact that was combat worn is an absolute wreck and is almost junk compared with this E Scots soldier's best BD which I have as well.Interestingly the battle worn jacket looks to have the anti gas treatment and has all unit insignia removed save the CVSM ribbon.the other tunic to the same guy is fully badged with canvas insignia.Alot of photos and anecdotal evidence that suggest the removal of insignia during operations was quite common, especially among Infantry.I would think that just about all surviving original WW2 Infantry battledress are of the "best or walking out" variety despite the badging and tailoring.the combat stuff just did not survive and was desposed of.I have several "pairs of BD jackets from the same soldiers and most of these pairs are in exceptional condition suggesting to me that alot of guys were re-kitted for repatriation to Canada.I think some exception to this is some Artillery or Corps troops battledress which look somewhat worn but not wrecked which could be attributed to not crawling along dikes etc.I think perhaps some of these corps BD'S were operationally worn.You are quite right that the years and garbage man have taken their toll and the real deal researchable stuff is getting increasingly scarce which unfortunately has led to a lot of Mickey Mouse made up stuff on places like ebay.
I lived in a VLA subdivision while growing up and I can tell you that most of the kids in that subdivision played war at some time or the other. When we did all those old WW11 uniforms (our dad's) were worn, the ones that fit or were made to fit that is, as well as Steel helmets, belts and back packs etc etc. I am afraid to say that they were well worn when we got through with them. I even had a commando type dagger which was issued to regiments that landed on D-Day that got lost in one of our adventures.
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