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.
Bren Gun (Light Machine Gun) .303 Calibre
The Bren Light Machine Gun became the standard Infantry light support weapon for Commonwealth troops during the Second World War. It was able to be carried and fired by one man and proved instrumental in Australian Military History - one notable incident involved the action of Private Bruce Kingsbury of the 2/14th Battalion at Isurava when he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Robust and reliable, it also had a reputation of being able to produce accurate fire upon a target. It was fitted with a curved, 30 round box magazine and could fire 500 rounds per minute. Of note is the alloy barrel, which is particularly evident to modern day trekkers on the Kokoda Track...when viewing the rusty remains of relic examples, in the museums along the trail.
Australian Bren Gunner
An posed image of an Australian Bren Gunner, possibly taken in Malaya during a period of training - prior to the outbreak of the Pacific War (although this is not confirmed). Note that the digger is using a 1907 Pattern bayonet (Lee-Enfield No 1 Mk 111 bayonet) stuck into the mound of earth - so as to provide a 'rest' to support the weapon for firing.
AIF Uniform (Khaki Shirt & Shorts)
A complete AIF uniform (summer dress) depicting khaki shirt and shorts; as worn in many different theatres of operation. The early stages of the Second World War saw this configeration worn by men of both the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) and the AMF (Australian Military Forces) in jungle conditions. It can be easily seen how the light coloured khaki would be suitable for the Western Desert, but totally inappropriate against the dark green jungle foilage of Malaya or New Guinea. Of note is the woollen puttees (short leg wraps) which were a much better option over the Pattern 37 gaiters for keeping out foreign material. The slouch hat bears the colour patch of the 2/14th Infantry Battalion (AIF) of the 21st Infantry Brigade - 7th Division. This unit was the first AIF Battalion deployed onto the Kokoda Track. Evidence exists to suggest that some men of this unit were given green dye, to darken the colour of their uniforms from khaki to jungle green - prior to going into action. Raymond Paull's excellant book "Retreat From Kokoda" indicates on page 114 that one thousand complete suits (green dyed shirts, shorts & slacks) had been carried forward by native carriers from Owers Corner. These items were due to arrive at the Myola supply dump on the 25th of August, 1942. This is the day before the commencement of the battle for Isurava. From a different perspective, one need only replace this 2/14th slouch hat with a Brodie Pattern steel helmet; and the configeration could easily represent a soldier of the 8th Division AIF at Singapore; or the 9th Division at El Alamein and Tobruk. The soldier also carries a cotton bandolier which was capable of carrying 50 rounds of .303 ammunition in clips of five. This type of uniform continued to be issued for general service - well into the 1950's. Image courtesy of the Kokoda Historical Collection.