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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Inspection stamp on WW1 British uniform


cameronian9

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Hi 

 

I have had in my collection a British other ranks uniform with unusual (in my mind) inspection stamps. The stamps appear to read:

MANCHESTER

01471

TESTING HOUSE

INSPECTION

 Has anyone come across these stamps before? Are they Great War period or earlier or later? The attached photographs show the stamps on the trouser waistband and a  jacket pocket respectively. There is evidence of paper labels on both in the usual places. 

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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Any chance of a picture of the complete uniform not just the stamps?

 

thanks and happy Xmas

 

Mark

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I've never seen that before in 35 years of collecting WW1 British, very interesting stampings. I don't see the W Arrow D stamp, is there one present on either garment, any other markings at all, or any sign of insignia having been on it? From the lining configuration and materials this was not made before 1915 and almost certainly not later than 1917. My gut feeling is this is late 1915 or 1916 production. The absence of a WD here could indicate a TA or VTC unit, but it doesn't look like VTC to me. Perhaps the Testing House stamp was considered an acceptable alternative at a particular time for some reason. I'm just speculating here. It's a nice suit and obviously 100% correct, whatever it is.

Edited by wainfleet
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Many thanks Wainfleet for your reply. Very interesting.

 

No evidence of there being insignia and no WD stamp. The suit is also very clean with the exception of one small moth hole in a trouser leg. The source of the suit was the Lancashire area which certainly links in geographically with the inspection stamp.

 

Was there a clothing depot in Manchester? 

 

Out of curiosity what would be the difference to the lining configuration and materials with jackets made prior to 1915? 

 

Any thoughts on the colour? 

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Leeds (Swinegate) was the headquarters of the Northern Area Army Clothing Department, whose depot on Gelderd Road housed 9 million yards of cloth and produced around 750,000 garments a week at the height of the First World War. http://sunnybankmills.co.uk/blog/first-world-war-army-clothing-depot-swinegate-leeds/

 

There was also a refurbishment (of clothing) depot in Dewsbury.  http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205088115

 

large_000000 (1).jpg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Thanks Frogsmile.

 

On a side note, I currently work in Victoria Street in Central London. My office was built in 1967 on the land previously occupied by the Head Office of the Mills Equipment Company (I have been in to the basement - no forgotten piles of 08 webbing, alas just ventilation ducts, boring concrete and parked cars) 

 

I am also less than a mile from Dolphin Square which was built on top of the land previously occupied by the Royal Army Clothing Depot in Pimlico.  

 

It is hard to imagine surrounded by modern glass buildings the thriving industry that once took place all those years ago...

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Found these markings on the inside of the jacket pockets. The letter 'G' was found on the underside of the right lower pocket and also found on a trouser pocket. The number '1314' was in pencil on the underside of the left lower pocket.

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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I didn't know about the Refurbishment Of Clothing Depot. That would certainly fit. As for dating the jacket from the lining material, It's known that the breast pocket backing strip came into use in June 1915; before that there was a square of cloth behind each pocket flap corner. So the jacket postdates that. Some time around 1915-ish cotton drill seems to have replaced glazed linen as the backing material. The lining material (but not the pockets) of 1918 dated jackets is invariably flimsy cotton "handkerchief" material. 1917 examples are usually lined with cotton drill. There aren't many earlier dated survivors but those few I've seen dated 1916 are very similar in style to yours. I have a jacket issued to a soldier in the London Regiment with an issue stamp of 8 16 which is very similar in colour, construction and general appearance to yours. I'm also going by experience, which is unquantifiable but I have handled literally hundreds of WW1 jackets and trousers over the years, My guess is that your set was made some time in 1916, "guess" being the operative word! All you can say with any real certainty is that it's mid war.

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Many thanks Wainfleet. I'm really impressed with the depth of knowledge on show here. I'm also jealous that you have been able to handle hundreds of WW1 jackets and trousers. 

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13 minutes ago, cameronian9 said:

Many thanks Wainfleet. I'm really impressed with the depth of knowledge on show here. I'm also jealous that you have been able to handle hundreds of WW1 jackets and trousers. 

You have a pretty impressive set of 1902 pattern SD yourself and rare in that condition. Thanks for showing the variant markings.

 

All the best for 2017

 

Mark

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3 hours ago, cameronian9 said:

Many thanks Wainfleet. I'm really impressed with the depth of knowledge on show here. I'm also jealous that you have been able to handle hundreds of WW1 jackets and trousers. 

 

Well it was over about 35 years. I must have owned 50 or 60 during that time and was lucky enough to see many more in other collections. I'm now down to three OR SDs and one officer's. That set of yours is very nice and looks like a fairly large and displayable size, going by the distance between lower pocket flaps and hem. The average OR SD size seems to be about a 36 chest.

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Thanks again Wainfleet. Measuring armpit to armpit the jacket is 40 inches so I guess allowing for a bit of room it should be for a man with a 37/38 inch chest. I recall the minimum chest requirement was 32 inches for recruits - probably the same as a 10 year old in today's world of fast food. Out of interest what was the smallest and largest jacket size you remember from your collection?

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At this distance in time it's hard to say, but the largest was probably one to a private in the Essex Regiment which must have been a 46 chest. That was most unusual and there was probably the occasional one of 40-42, but as I remember most were about 36-38, with 34 a fairly close second. I can't say what the smallest was beyond that some of them were very small indeed. However you've got me interested enough to dig out and measure my own three, which was something of a surprise as I'd thought they were all about 38, but it turns out that two are 34s and one is a 36.

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