Re[2]: [MV] Beltring/Uniforms

James Burrill (
14 Oct 1999 15:55:43 -0500

I concur with Davan.

I have a friend who was Airborne (173rd) in Viet Nam, who also
reenacts. He is furious to see someone wearing Jump Wings or other
Airborne insignia....on just a jacket or hat mixed with civilian
clothes, one a few questions have been asked to see if the guy earned

He has no problem what so ever with a non-jump qualified civilian
wearing the wings as part of a reenactors' depiction of an airborne
unit, like a WWII 101st impression.

His thoughts are if you are "recreating" the uniform, go the whole
nine yards and do it right.

It looks rather silly to say that if you are a driver of a WWII
vehicle, that you can't wear a driver's trade badge on your uniform.
Did you actually go through Army driver's school? No? But if you were
back in 1941 driving a Bedford 15 cwt in the army you would have, and
have had the trade badge right?

Well, you are trying to show the public a "snapshot" of 1941 with your
Bedford and uniform. I say wear all the badges, regimental flashes,
time in service, division patches and lanyards that the soldier you
are portraying would likely have been wearing.

Ribbons and medals....I think it is appropriate to wear campaign
ribbons that your soldier might have worn "back then". I am 45 years
old. If I was a career soldier in 1940 at aged 45, what earlier
campaigns would I have likely seen? I probably would have served
during WWI and entitled to medals from the Great War. Maybe India.They
would have been worn by a middle aged OR still serving the colours in

HOWEVER!!! Awards for galantry are an exception! Unless you are doing
a first-person impression of a specific individual, you shouldn't even
think of putting on a award for bravery. That's an individual award.

I think our big dividing line on uniforms and insignia come from
wearing parts of uniforms as compared to wearing full kit as part of a
living history display. And I think it a bit much to ask to expect a
reenactor to change out of uniform just because he leaves the display
area on a shopping foray or for meals. If anything, he acts as a
walking advertisement for his exhibit or to attract potential recruits
to the hobby.

While we are on the subject.....
I think it is OK for a reenactor to do a "War weary" impression for
the public as well as a recruiting poster, inspection ready

Just think how realistic the "Willie and Joe" cartoons of Bill Mauldin
showed the average American GI in theatre. And for the British folks,
just think of dressing as a DAF (Desert Air Force) RAF impression as
compaired to a Battle of Britian Airman.

I do object to guys unwilling to get a haircut wearing uniforms when
they can't justify it as war weary. Just not wanting to show up at
work Monday with a GI look. That pisses me off. Now that I am retired
from the Navy, I grow (or cut) my hair and beard to suite the
reenactment I am going to. I have passed on attending minor events
rather than shave a set of sideburns I was working on for a major
Napoleonic event. And have shaved a very full beard to attend a WWI

Ok, my 2 groats worth.

Jim Burrill
Welsh Guards WWII

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