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H.G.FRASER
Gallipoli Historical Tours

UNIFORM & KIT ISSUED TO THE AIF DURING WW2

This pictorial library is devoted to the recording of "Uniform and Kit" issued to an Australian Soldier of any corps, during the Second World War. Consider it a virtual "Q" Store in Australian militaria. It is not exhaustive and will be added to over time. Any reader who wishes to contribute photographs and text will be recognised and credited with such information. I also invite collectors of other nation's militaria to forward content (please see our other countries listed on the drop down menu) - so that a comprehensive list of "Axis" and "Allies" uniform/kit is detailed.

 

The Australian Soldier's Pocket Book

The Australian Soldier's Pocket Book was a small publication with a red cover (approximately 8cm x 12.5cm).  It was designed to offer useful information to Australian Soldiers, serving at home and abroad.  The book was a gift from the A.C.F. (Australian Comforts Fund) and saw a number of revised editions as the war years progressed.  Edited by William Keys and subject to copyright at the time, it contained approximately 125 pages of facts and helpful hints.  The Australian Soldier's Pocket Book was first compiled and issued in Victoria under the auspices of the Victorian R.S.L. War Service Fund.  It's contents included 'rules and regulations' and articles varied according to the date of print.  For example, the July 1944 edition contained an article titled "The Laws And Customs Of War" and "Things a Soldier Should Know". 


Interestingly, the July 1941 edition included a glossery of translations from English to Arabic.  With Japan yet to enter the war, the A.I.F  (Australian Imperial Force) found itself stationed in the Middle East and learning similar terms of communication which their father's had learnt during the First World War.  However the November 1942 edition now came published with a similar glossery of terms, from English to Japanese.  This month (November) was the period that the Japanese Imperial Army had been pushed back towards the beach heads of Buna, Gona and Sanananda and the village of Kokoda had been liberated.


These books are still quite common and often are found with the 'owner's name and service number written on the space provided for such details on page 3.  Medals Gone Missing often have these books amongst their inventory, awaiting reclaimation from the family of their respective original recipients.

November 1942 Edition - The Australian Soldier's Pocket Book

The November 1942 Edition of the Australian Soldier's Pocket Book.  This edition contains quite a lengthy article titled "Talking Points on Australia".  It also displays a page titled "Insignia of Rank of U.S.A. Forces" as by this date, the United States Government had well and truly established itself on mainland Australia.  AIF troops were also fighting alongside their American counterparts in northern New Guinea (notably Buna and Sanananda) whilst General Douglas MacArthur controlled all Allied Forces in the South West Pacific theatre of operations.

Bell's Waterproof Wax Vestas

A tin of Bell's Waterproof Wax Vestas which were available to Australian Troops on occasion. This tin contains a cardboard tag inside which indicates that they were 'Made In Australia'. This photo courtesy of the Kokoda Historical Collection.

Bell's Waterproof Wax Vestas (contents)

The contents of the Bell's Waterproof Wax Vestas.  The cardboard manufacturer's tag which is very rare, is still contained in this particular tin.  It carries a request to assist in the recycling of materials by asking "HELP THE WAR EFFORT.  SAVE THIS TIN AND REFILL WITH Bell's Waterproof Plaid Vestas.  MADE IN AUSTRALIA"

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