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webkitlover

Hi need help sourcing N.I. Army history and envolvement, kit info.

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Hi not sure if this is the right section to post it, I'm working for a veteran organisaiton.

I have been given the task of finding out about the life and times of the British soldier good and bad.

Any fun stories would be great but please no names for security reasons.

If possible does anyone know of a good surplus source of the riot gear that was issued, and what kit was specifically issued to NI posted soldier that wasn't on general issue I have a small budget to work with, to buy a few items. Sadly, I can't stretch to a "pig" armoured vehicle!

All I can think of kit wise (other than standard issue) is the N.I. gloves, flack jacket, and possibly chest webbing, but there must be alot more, any info greatly received.

 

 

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It must be remembered that alongside the forces on emergency tours, there were still the permanent units of all three arms doing normal postings and carrying out the mundane work in the background. I was posted to Lisburn, REME attached to 18/26 Sqn RCT, the day after Op Motorman and a year later was sent to their D Troop in Ballykelly, where I spent another year. Most of what the unit did was standard transport work, but there were also some sneaky beaky vehicles. Most of the obvious military vehicles, such as Landrovers and Bedford RLs were in DBG if I remember correctly, but everything else was in civilian colours. 

We had coaches for the airport run, mobile libraries, chip vans, removals pantechnicons and all manner of cars and vans for general work. Of course, this meant drivers and crews going to every part of the province and being as much at risk as those on emergency tours, and several were killed. I hope their stories will be included in what you are working on.

 

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You can see in some of the early 1970s pictures the change away from DMS boots and puttees to a higher leg boot and no puttees and elastics to blouse the trouser legs to the top of the boots. I do not know exact dates of issue or authority for that. Some troops would tell of being allowed to use black Doctor Marten boots in place of DMS boots until enough NI Patrol boots were available.

There was a whole saga over the amount of foot mileage the troops were carrying out on patrols that was the trigger for all of this.

In most units the NI patrol boots were not allowed to be worn for regular duties once outside the NI theatre. Again as a generalisation, they were tolerated on exercise in some units. Them and the NI gloves with the padded bars across the back were what is described today as Gucci kit and you were "hard" as  you had done an NI tour if you were wearing them. Woe betide anyone wearing NI kit who had not been.

It was always every young and keen soldiers desire to add just a smidge of personalisation and to stand out in an otherwise uniform world once back on the mainland/

Edited by robin craig

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I was told by an Ex NI soldier that finding NI specific kit is quite hard because it's basically the same kit that you'd be issued for Germany.

I was told, if you look at historic photos of British soldiers parolling the in NI even without knowing who, or when, or where it was,  you can tell alot about the area just by the head wear...i.e. Beret or not!!

Also soldiers were told not to lean on walls during patrols,  obviously after a long day holding an SLR youget tired and you're more likely to lean on things, the IRA got wise to this and started placing bombs at shoulder height where soldiers were often seen leaning!

I had the chance to look through the veterans vast store cupboard for some NI kit and they have one of the batons, a fake Armalite, an S6 helmet, some communist webbing aparently some IRA used, a leather Holster for an undercover handgun (for undercover work) and a few other bits but not much. I guess My oddest item, I've had for nearly 20 years without even looking at it, an RUC pin badge.

Weirdly I was given the pin badge after teaching (i think it was as) "Kids of  RUC" group for a few days, it was a totally civillian job (whilst working as an outdoor instructor at an activity center in East Anglia). 

I shall keep looking!  Thankyou so much for your help so far, it's a really tricky subject to cover .

Edited by webkitlover

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