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Kit and Equipment

When on Provost Operations, the Royal Military Police in the mid-1980s wore a combination of combat clothing; all in DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material), but of one of two 'patterns', frequently a combination of both, due to the vagiaries of the personal issue system in force in the British Army.

These two patterns were: '68 pattern, and '84 pattern (so named for the years they were introduced into the Army Supply System). 68 was made from a thicker, double-lined material; 84 pattern from a single-lined slightly thinner material. There were also slight variations in the colours of the camouflage in the two patterns of clothing. Given the current availability of these two patterns of DPM jackets and trousers on the open market (surplus stores, e-bay, and the like), either pattern is acceptable wear in Cold War Provost.

Of note is that the evolution of modern combat uniforms can be traced back almost to half-way through the nineteenth century with the eventual abolition of the Red Tunic from everyday wear, in the British Army. For our porposes, modern field clothing evolved from the introduction of the 1930s Battle Dress, which was a more utilitarian form of military clothing than had hitherto been available. A more extensive treasise on this aspect of uniforms is here, and is provided primarily for information and education.

For the purposes of re-enactment and Living History however, the orders of dress are as listed in the Dress Regulations for Cold War Provost, below:

Dress Regulations Guide to Cold War Provost

Commensurate with Queens Regulations For The Army and Service Dress Codes for the British Army in the period 1960 through 1989, the following orders of dress are worn by members of Cold War Provost:

  • No. 8 Dress, Duty Order Combat Dress, 1960 through 1974.
    "Trousers, Mans, Combat"; "Smock, Mans, Combat"; "Boots, Ammunition" or "Boots, DMS" (preferred), and either 'Shirt, KF (these are becoming exceedingly difficult to find), "Shirt, Mans, Combat". A "Tie, Other Ranks, Woven", is to be worn as well. Boots are to be worn in conjunction with Gaiters, Canvas, Short. Belts and Crossbelts are to be worn, and should be of the 1944 pattern, and must NOT be Blanco'd white, instead being Blanco'd either KG3 or a similar green colour. Currently only "liquid Blanco" appears to be available, from the "Soldier Of Fortune" store. A red print on black cloth MP Armlet is to be worn on the right arm, and a Cap, SD, with "Cap Cover, Scarlet, RMP" & RMP Cap Badge is to be worn as head dress.
    • Note: the pullover shown on the right hand image may well be incorrect: While we know they existed in some form or other, we have been singularly unable to source any photographic or physical evidence of how these looked, and are having to use anecdotal information to show this diagram.
    • Information to hand suggests that the pullover was a cross between a civilian style and the later NATO style of jumper; it was vee-necked, had cloth patches on the reverse of the elbows and at the shoulders, and had slots in the edge of the sholders for the shirt epaulettes to be drawn through, which then buttoned onto the pullover.
    • It's colour was not uniform, varying between issued from Battle Dress Brown to Dark Olive Green, depending on procurement and issue.
    • It was made of a thin wool, and offered little in the way of warmth in the rather bitter German Winters of the 1960s.
    • There is some disagreement on wether rank insignia - or any insignia come to that - were worn on this pullover.
    • As a result, until such time as definitive information is found, no pullover is to be worn in Cold War Provost 1960s Duty Order Combat Dress, and this order of dress (omiting the jumper) will only be authorised for Cold War Provost wear from Spring through Autumn months.


  • No.8: Temperate DPM - Combat Dress, period 1974-1989 for all ranks.
    "Trousers, combat"; "Smock, combat"; "Boots, Combat High ('BCH'") or "Boots, DMS" (preferred), and either 'Shirt, KF (these are becoming exceedingly difficult to find), "Shirt, Mans, Combat", or (post mid 1985) "Shirt, Green, GS". Prior to 1983, Boots, DMS are to be worn, with "Putees, Short". Post 1983, Boots, Combat, High should be worn, the trousers bloused using elasticated "Trouser Twists".



  • No.9:- Tropical DPM Combat - hot climate combat dress.
    1976 version of No.8 Dress ("Combat dress", i.e. 'Trousers, combat; Smock, combat; Boots, Combat High ('BCH') or Boots, DMS (preferred), and either 'Shirt, KF (these are becoming exceedingly difficult to find), Shirt, Green, GS, or (the preferred option for No. 9 Dress) 'Shirt, camouflaged, tropical'.
    Only authorised for Cold War Provost wear by Group leadership in advance, and during summer months only. See notes below.
  • No.13: - "Working dress"
    'Trousers, Lightweight, green', 'CBH', and either 'Shirt, KF (this is preferred, but they are exceedingly difficult to find), or 'Shirt, green, GS', with 'Jersey, Heavy, Wool'.)
  • No. 13: - "Barrack Dress"
    Trousers, Army, Barrack Dress, (Smart thick dark green polycotton trousers); Shirt No 2; Jersey, Heavy, Wool; Belt, Stable, Scarlet (RMP); 'Shoes', DMS; and Cap, RMP, No 1. May be worn with the Reversible High-Visibility Patrol Jacket, RMP (NSN CH 8415-99-132-1057), in cold and inclement weather.
    ONLY authorised for wear in advance by Group leadership at events where real, serving, Royal Military Police would not be reasonably expected to be present - example: Chatham Militaria Fair.

  • No.14 Dress:- "Shirt Sleeve Order"
    Shirt-sleeve order (May to October between 06:00hrs and 18.30hrs) - Interchangeable with No.13 Dress. The shirt sleeves are flat-rolled up above the elbow.

 

 

Notes and Rationale on Orders of Dress in Cold War Provost...

The members of Cold War Provost pride ourselves in getting the details right; as a result, Orders of Dress are important to get right as well. Never the less, some practicality from the Real World has to enter into the equation, and the preservation of the uniforms we wear and display is a constant, continuing and worrying problem for us - you can only repair and recondition clothing so many times before the clothing is completely unservicable, after all.

While there was a somewhat expensive source of new reproduction 68-pattern trousers, this source, which was on E-Bay, has now disappeared, and no other source has been forthcoming as yet. Likewise, no reproduction source has been found for 68-pattern smocks as yet either. Likewise, the older Trousers, Lightweight, Green, are no longer in production, the Army having changed the current issue pattern to omit the left thigh map pocket, and surplus stocks of the older pattern are increasingly difficult to source (it should also stand to reason that a perennial problem in the Living History hobby is the paucity of original kit and equipment, and even though Cold War Provost represents relatively recent Military history (close to only thirty years ago at the time of writing), this situation is unlikely to change for the better, either).

As a result of the these problems, the following rationales have been devised for the orders of dress that we will normally wear at events and displays, and will henceforth be the guiding light in deciding what kit we wear at any given event in the future:

  • BARRACK DRESS (No. 13/14 Dress):
    While Cold War Provost is primarily a group that represents the RMP 'in the field' engaged in Provost Operations, 1980s pattern Barrack Dress is authorised for routine wear at the monthly recruiting and display duties at the Chatham Militaria Fair, so as to perserve the now aging and fading 60- and 68- pattern Combat clothing, which is ever-increasingly difficult to source.

    Barrack dress, treated with care, lasts longer, as it is not subject to hard/field usage, and is currently relatively easy to source, given that the Army recently stopped issuing the trousers for it.


    A note on "Christmas Tree Order". Christmas Tree Order is the nick name given to the wearing of the white belt and cross-belt with pistol holster, normally worn with Barrack Dress and No 2 Dress, during General Police Duties in BAOR and West Berlin in the Cold War. Since it is difficult - if not all but impossible - to source all the right sizings of this kit at this time, Christmas Tree Order will not normally be authorised for wear by Cold War Provost members.

  • WORKING DRESS (No. 13/14 Dress):
    Working Dress will normally be worn at events and displays where we are expecting to be engaged in field-style traffic control duties, such as the annual Essex Military Vehicles Trust "Bunker Bash" event; again, this is so as to preserve the aging 68-pattern DPM clothing.

  • TEMPERATE COMBAT DRESS (No. 8 Dress):
    Combat Dress, utilising 60 and/or 68 Pattern combat clothing, will be worn at events where static displays and field kit are to be displayed. It will not normally be worn where 'hard use' might be placed on the clothing, due to the increasing age and ease of damaging the clothing.

  • TROPICAL COMBAT DRESS (No. 9 Dress):
    Tropicals, as they are some time known, will be authorised for wear only when ambient temperatures at an event we are due to attend are expected to be very high, and the wear of other, thicker and thus heavier clothing would be either excessively uncomfortable or possibly hazardous to health due to the danger of heat-related injuries (Hyperthermia, a.k.a. Heatstroke, Sun Stroke, and/or Heat Exhaustion).

    Given the short notice that weather forecasting in the UK has, such decisions will normally be made by Senior members a maximum of 48 hours in advance of an avent, and members are strongly encouraged to check this website for information updates prior to attending any events during the summer months.

    Tropical kit is available, if somewhat rare in original states, but there is a source of new reproduction tropicals in the UK. See Senior Members for details on procurement of this kit.

  • LIVE TRAFFIC CONTROL ADDITIONS TO THE ABOVE

    When we are conduction Live Traffic Control (for example, at the annual Essex Bunker Bash event, high-visibility clothing is essential, not just for appearance sake, but for your Health and Safety.

    The following additions to your normal Orders of Dress are therefore Mandatory at events where live Traffic Control is to be conducted. It would, however, be wise to pack this kit for use in all situations where we are due to attend events - you never know when you might be asked to lend a hand!

    For Combat Dress, you will require 2 x Sleevelets, High Visibility, and one of the two patterns of High Visibility Tabbard overprinted with "Military Police". The later design, with velcro closure, is shown in the drawing.

    In the case of 1960s and early 1970s Dress, Under NO circumstances will Traffic Control be conducted by Cold War Provost members who have not been trained, and successfuly and competently conducted at least three live traffic control situations, as no high-visibility tabbards were worn prior to the 1980s.


    Barrack Dress: The Patrol Jacket, Reversible, is to be worn with the yellow high-visibility side outwards.

In addition to the modes of dress above, you'll need a beret, cap badge, and boots; the beret must be the RMP Scarlet version, and we recommend berets made by The Small Crown Beret Company; any decent supplier will have stock of the RMP Cap badge, which can be 'stabrite' (plastic, rare) or Brass (common). Brass cap badges NEED polishing from time to time (you've been warned!). For boots, get the older style 'Boots, Combat, High' or DMS (Directly Moulded Sole); BCH have a kind of herringbone-like tread, not the newer studs and cleats tread shown in the current issue boot.

Placing badges of Simulated rank and qualification badges on your clothing...

Please see Rule 9 of the Cold War Provost Rules. Due to the nature of qualifications and Instructor Qualifications, Cold War provost has the following policy in place regarding these badges.

Simulated Badges of Rank:

Lance Corporal
Corporal
Sergeant
Staff Sergeant

Badges of simulated rank may only be worn if approved by Senior membership, cleared with Forces 80 Senior Membership, and published in Cold War Provost "Part Two Orders", and will be permitted on the basis of either prior military service, experience in re-enacting, service to Cold War Provost, Merit, or a combination thereof.

At the time of writing, the only badges of simulated rank authorised by Forces 80 for use with Cold War Provost are as per the table on the left. No Simulated Warrant-grade ranks have been authorised at the time of writing. Likewise, no simulated Commissioned Ranks have been authorised (which would require proof of prior Military Comission in any case)

Formation Badges:

Formation badges show at a glance what formation (brigade, etc) a soldier might be assigned to. Popular for inter-unit cameraderie, they came into being in the early days of the Second World War, and fell out of use towards the beginning of the 1970s with the introduction of camouflage gear throughout the Army, only to see them come in again as "Tactical Recognition Flashes" in the laste 1990s to early 'oughts'.

It is still being decided which of the many Formation Badges that were in use in BAOR, that we will adopt for Cold War Provost.

Military Qualification Badges:

Qualification badges may only be placed on the kit you wear at events and displays if authorised by Cold War Provost Senior membership and documentary evidence of qualification (either original military, or the civilian equivalent thereof) will be required for qualification badges to be approved.

Qualification Badges that the RMP were 'scaled for' (or had the Army's permission to wear if so qualified) included, but were not limited to:

Parachute Wings.
Either the genuine Military Parachute Wings Qualification, or the equivalent Civilian qualification, which is currently only available via Pathfinder Group UK.

Must have attended and passed both Complete Pre-Parachute Company (P-Coy) or equivalent Arm of Service Course as well as the Basic Military Parachute Course (BPC). For this Military Qualification, your end-of-course pass certificate is acceptable proof, and may be checked.

For the Civilian qualification, your Current Jump Licence and Pathfinder UK Round Canopy Certification are acceptable, and may be checked.

Parachute Qualified.
Awarded to troops not specifically required to be combat drop qualified, but who may be required to operationally parachute into some place or other. Must have attended and passed the Basic Military Parachute Course (BPC).

For this Military Qualification, your end-of-course pass certificate is acceptable proof, and may be checked.

For the Civilian qualification, your Jump Licence is acceptable (whether or not you possess round canopy certification or not), and may be checked.

Special Forces Parachute Qualifications.

RMP personnel were only permitted to wear conventional Parachute wings and/or All Arms Commando qualification badges, plus foreign (non-British) parachute badges, if these were earned by the soldier in question.

As a result of the above, Special Forces Parachute Wings (e.g. SAS / SBS Wings) are NOT to be worn under any circumstances.

Foreign (non-British) Parachute Wings.

For example, American, French, Dutch, etc, Parachute qualifications. These tend to roughly mirror British Army requirements, and thus soldiers successfully graduating said courses were normally permitted under Queens Regulations and Defence Council Instructions, to wear one set of foreign wings, if their unit was scaled for British Army Parachute Wings.

For this Military Qualification, your end-of-course pass certificate is acceptable proof, and may be checked.

For Civilians, information to hand suggests that the only method to gaining a foreign military parachute qualification is to use the services of Pathfinder Group UK in gaining the Dutch Military "B" Wing Parachute Brevet qualification. As a result, your Current Jump Licence and Pathfinder UK Round Canopy Certification are acceptable in conjunction with a valid end-of-course Dutch Military "B" Wing Parachute Brevet qualification certificate. These may be checked.

Placement of foreign Parachute Wings differs depending on the nation that issued said wings; advice will be given on this if approval is granted to wear such wings.

All-Arms Commando Course Qualified.

For this not-so-common Army Qualification, your end-of-course pass certificate should be submitted as proof, and this may be checked with the Military Authorities.

This badge tends to garner a certain amount of respect even amongst dyed-in-the-wool civilians and non-Commando-trained military alike, and thus, like the parachute qualification, the integrity of the badge must always be checked. Due to the very nature of the course involved, and the nature of training during the course, there is no civilian equivalent to this qualification, which is why the Military Authorities may have to be consulted regarding the authenticity of such certificates.

Regimental First Aid Medic.
This is the Army's idea of a field first aid medic: These very highly trained troops are the second line in saving your life on the battlefield (the first line being your own first field dressing).

Either the genuine Military Medical Qualification,

Or for the Civilian qualification, which is either the HSE First Aid At Work, or St Johns / British Red Cross Emergency First Aid Courses, are accepotable qualifications for proof of certification, and in all cases, and due to the nature of First Aid, your Certification must be current, and may be checked.

Regimental Signaller.

Either the British Army B2 or B3 Signaller accreditation course certificate,

Or for the Civilian qualification, a valid civilian UK Amateur Radio Licence (Full - if you know Morse code as well, so much the better!), will be acceptable proof of qualification.

In all cases, certification/qualification may be checked.

Physical Training Instrutor.

Either the full Military qualification,

Or for the Civilian qualification, a minimum of Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing for the civilian certification.

Course completion certificates will be acceptable proof, and may be checked.

Other qualification/Instructor badges...

There are one or two other badges that RMP have been 'scaled for' in the past and present, and these will, on satisfactory examination and, if deemed neccessary, checking of the appropriate certifications, be approved for wear with your uniform clothing.

Orders of Dress NOT encouraged in Cold War Provost...

Cold War Provost is primarily a group that represents the RMP 'in the field' engaged in Provost Operations, rather than the more usual view of the RMP in garrisons and barracks, conducting General Police Duties.

As a result, while the following orders of dress are not prohibited to members of Cold War Provost, they are not encouraged, as beside the cost issue (which is in some cases is prohibitive enough, thank you very much!), the Cold War versions of these orders of dress bear close similarity to current orders of dress, and could in certain circumstances lead some members of the public to incorrectly conclude that group member might be actual Military Policeman, which could be construed as an offence under The Uniforms Act 1894 and, while Living History Groups have a Specific Defence under s.2(1) TUA 1894, it is always wise not to 'push' the issue, after all.

  • No.1: Formal Dress Blues
  • No.2: Temperate Service Dress
  • No.3: Warm-weather ceremonial
  • No.4: Officers Warm-weather service dress
  • No.6: Warm-weather Parade
  • No.7: Warm-weather Barracks (Stone-coloured Working Dress).
  • No.10: Temperate Mess
  • No.11: Warm Weather Mess Dress
  • No.12: Protective Clothing

Webbing and Cold War Provost...

37 Pattern Webbing...

Section to follow...

58 Pattern Webbing...

However, from about 1958 or so onwards (despite a roughly ten year 'bedding in period'), a new format of webbing was available to the British Soldier; this was 58 pattern, and the RMP soldier was taught how to assemble and pack his webbing in basic training (the Comon Military Syllabus (recruits), or CMS(R)); a slight variation, on arriving at the RMP depot, Roussilon Barracks, Chichester, was then taught, suited to RMP personnel, with regard to packing the webbing. This was known as TO 834 - Training Objective 834, reproduced below the image of early 58 webbing...

Note that the drawing above shows an earlier version than was usually issued in the 1980s; the major differences are:

  • Ammo Pouches are smaller (only 2 mags fit in), with a strap inside to remove the mags.
  • The yoke fixing at the back of the belt is actually vertical on the first pattern, angled on later patterns.
  • The Water Bottle pouch has a twist fastening in earlier examples, buckle and strap on later ones.
  • The Kidney Pouches have only the belt fixing on the rear, later ones have added loops on top to stop bounce.
  • The Yoke on earlier examples do not have the loops to stop the Large Pack straps from slipping off the shoulders.

Thanks to "Ian0263" over at the C.20 & Freinds forum for the information on this; Ian's source was "Modern Fighting Men", published by Orbis Publishing, 1986, ISBN 978-1851550364; the book is no longer in print.

Of note is the glaring omission in the illustration: There is no Resirator Haversack shown. The NBC haversack in the 1980s was an olive drab coloured nylon-like material, housing the S6 Respirator and accessories; it was normally worn between one of the ammunition pouches and the kidney pouches and, depending on the wearer and unit policies, would either be fixed to the belt, or using its' own strap, worn around the waist, seperate from the other belt kit, so as to ensure that the soldier always had his or her respirator on their person.

TO 834
Provost Operations Précis: Webbing Assembly

Combat Equipment Fighting Order (C.E.F.O.), or '58 webbing, comprises the following items:

1 x '58 webbing belt
1 x Yoke (shoulder strap assembly)
1 x Left ammunition pouch
1 x Respirator pouch
2 x Kidney Pouches
1 x Water bottle pouch
1 x Right ammunition pouch
1 x Poncho roll
1 x Large pack

A summary of the equipment to be carried in each of the above now follows:

  • Left ammunition pouch:
    • 4 x Magazines
  • Respirator Pouch:
    • 3 x Combo Pens
    • Disinfectant cloth
    • Anti-dimmer (NOTE: You probably won't be able to find these at all on the surplus market - they were found to be carcinogenic, and withdrawn from service!)
    • Respirator
    • DKP 1
    • DKP 2
    • Detector Paper (1 colour)
    • Detector Paper (3 colour)
    • Spare canister
  • Left kidney pouch:
    • Towel
    • Soap
    • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
    • Shaving brush & soap
    • Nailbrush
    • Razor & blades
    • Foot Powder
    • Spare Socks and underwear
  • Right kidney pouch:
    • Mess tins and KFS (Knife, Fork, and Spoon set)
    • 24 Hr ration pack (GS, the one with the tins!)
    • 50' of string (paracord was a regular replacement for string)
    • Spare boot laces
    • Matches (waterproofed - came in the ration packs))
    • Camouflage cream
    • Boot cleaning kit
  • Water bottle pouch:
    • 58 pattern Water bottle (filled with water)
    • 58 pattern Mug
    • Puri-tabs (came in the ration packs)
  • Right ammunition pouch:
    • Torch (right-angle Army issue)
    • Weapon cleaning kit
    • Traffic sleeves
  • Poncho roll:
    • Full NBC IPE less overboots
  • Large pack:
    • Spare combat suit (Jacket, shirt, trousers, braces)
    • Spare boots
    • Underwear and socks
    • Towel
    • Plimsoles
    • Jersey heavy wool
    • High Visibility vest or tabbard
    • Gloves
    • Waterproof clothing
    • Combat liner (“Chinese jacket”)
    • Sleeping bag (strapped over the top of the large pack)
    • Sleeping mat (strapped under the base or to the back, of the large pack)
    • Steel helmet (strapped to the outside of the large pack when not being worn)

This however, is not the be-all and end-all of a soldiers' persona equipment. Far from it, in fact.

Additions to "issue" kit and equipment...

Traditionally, many soldiers have 'privately purchased' myriad items, both from regimental "PRI" shops (run within their regiments on a not-for-profit basis for squaddies through their regimental resources) and civilian sources (Surplus shops, such as Silvermans (fairly pricey, but a good example) outdoors suppliers, for example YHA Adventure shops, and similar) to procure those 'essential' non-issue bits of kit that make life easier in the field for a British squaddie. Examples of these might be:

  • Better quality clothing
  • "Camping Gaz" or similar fuel field cookers
  • Better quality KFS (Knife, Fork, and Spoon sets)
  • Better quality sleeping gear, such as sleeping bags (the 58 pattern bag was nt exactly wam in German winter nights; Arctic-issue bags were good, but rare as rocking horse droppings for issue kit in the UK and Europe)
  • Additional webbing gear, such as First Field Dressing pouches (the Arktis models were, and remain, rather popular), First Aid Kits and pouches, better large packs, (such as Berghaus Vulcan bergans) were popular items, and so on.
  • Better quality boots (Boots, Combat, High, were notorious for not being exactly waterproof in boggy conditions)
  • Additional comfort gear - Sharwoods Curry powder, so-called "Racing Spoons", "stickies" or sweets and other fast-edible food stuffs were always high on squaddies lists of things to get before major exercises went off, too.

You get the idea. OCs (Officers Commanding) of units weren't too bothered by these additions to issue kit, as long as it didn't go too far - replacing your entire webbing gear was, really and truly, not exactly the done thing, after all!

The only items soldiers were NOT allowed to add to, or modify come to that, were their weapons - there were, and still are, strict rules regarding weaponry, and those, OCs would not, and indeed, could not, turn a blind eye to.

For suggestions and a few images, so you know what a real squaddie would go for, look here!

Weapons and Cold War Provost...

As with all re-enactment groups, our re-enactment of RMP would be incomplete without representations of the weapons that RMP used in the 1980's. However, UK Laws in this regard cannot, and indeed should not, be ignored. As a result, following 1st October 2007, unless you are also an Airsoft 'skirmisher' as defined by the "specific defence" that has been given by the Home Office, you will be limited to purchasing deactivated weapons, as blank firing weapons and other "Realistic Imitation Firearms" (RIFs) will be illegal to sell, manufacture, and import to the UK without specific cause and valid reasons (see the "Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006" for more information).

Airsoft weapons...

If you're an Airsoft 'skirmisher', you must be registered to purchase new Airsoft weapons - the Home Office decided in 2007 how this would work, and the short form is that to register as an Airsofter, and therefore obtain the neccessary paperwork to enable you to purchase an Airsoft weapon, you must attened a set number of Airsoft events over a number of months. Your loal Airsoft playins sites will be more than happy to give you more specific advice and information on this.

Be aware however, that currently, there is only one British weapons from the 1980's available at this time, the SLR. an SMG used to be made by JAC, but this is not often available any more, and when it is, likely as not it's be horrendously expensive. There are currently two SLR rifles available on the retail market, though, the first is from Star Airsoft, the second from King Arms. Both, while being cheaper than de-activated SLRs, are not as robust as the deactivated versions (see below).

On the pistol front, there are, to our knowledge, no currently available Airsoft model Webly revolvers in production, nor are we aware of any having been made in the past.

Likewise, there are no current Airsoft Browning pistols in production; there are a few in retail shops here and in Hong Kong with old stock occasionally, but again, they're most likely to be useful only as inert props, not Airsoft pistols.

Lastly, there are no Airsoft LMGs whatsoever; and current levels of demand in the Airsofting community is not likely to change this, sadly.

Deactivated Firearms...

However, in regard to the recenly enacted sections of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, deactivated firearms are not classed as RIFs, and remain available at most Militaria Fairs, but can be expensive; there are currently two deactivation standards, appropriately enough commonly known as the old and new standards!

The older standard allows for the "working parts" (bolt, slide, ect) to move in a similar manner to when they were 'live' weapons; the new standard prevents even this. It is therefore better, if you want a more realistic representation, to purchase to the older standard, but these can be horrificaly expensive - you can expect to pay upwards of £500 for example, for a Stirling SMG. It is, of course, up to you, to justify this kind of expense. Just make sure you can afford it! We don't want members becoming bankrupt because of a hobby!

Weapons of the RMP from the 1960s through the 1980s...

Weapons of the RMP in the 1980s were as follows:

  • .38" Enfield No 2 Mk I* revolver
    Issued during the 1960s to RMP personnel in BAOR and West Berlin.
    Despite officially being declared obsolete at the end of WWII, Enfield (and Webley) revolvers were not completely phased out in favour of the L9A1 Browning pistol until April 1969 (see below).
  • 9mmP L9A1 Browning "hi-power" Pistol, or "GP-35".
    The common service sidearm of the British Army until the early part of the 21st century, with a few notable exceptions, the Browning was finally beginning to be laid to rest in the British Army, having been replaced by the SiG P226 (L107A1) in Special Forces, Intelligence, and RMP Close Protection teams from around 1998 or so onwards.
  • 9mmP L2A3 Stirling sub-machine gun (SMG).
    Obselete with the introduction of the L85A1 (SA-80 rifle) in the 1990s.
  • 7.62mmN L4A3 Light Machine Gun (LMG or "Bren").
    An up-chambered version of the .303" calibre Bren Gun, as used from the Second World War, onwards).
    Obselete with the introduction of the L86 LSW in the 1990s.
  • 7.62mmN L1A1 Self Loading Rifle (SLR).
    Full-bore auto-loading battle rifle, primary personal weapon for the vast majority of the British Army in the 1980s. RMP were occasionally seen with them.
    Obselete with the introduction of the L85 rifle in the 1990s.

Information gleaned from both photographs (see the "Photographic Evidence" page) and from annecdotal (personal comments) evidence from serving and former members of the RMP and RMP(v) confirm that at a minimum, in Northern Ireland, BOAR (British Army Of the Rhine), and Hong Kong, some RMP Companies did not isue the SMG as standard as a Personal Weapon, instead opting to issue SLR, or SLR and Pistol (the latter occured mostly in Northern Ireland), as Personal Weapons. In UKLF (UK Land Forces, or mainland UK), during Provost Operations and exercises, the SMG was the main Personal Weapon of most RMP, with one man in each section being issued an LMG as a support weapon. Pistols were rarely issued in UKLF during ProOps, certainly in the T.A. units the author had experience with.

Cold War Provost team note regarding personal weapons:

Depending on individual choice therefore, Cold War Provost will not be too worried, at least in the early days of the team, with which weapon of the above listing a team member selects as their "Personal Weapon": This will most likely change once the team is fully established, and has a few events under its' collective belt.

Radio systems used by the RMP

Radios are an integral part of modern communications; the British Army is no exception to this, and in the 1980s, the 'Clansman' series of radios was in use. RMP primarily used UK/PRC-320 man pack, UK/VRC-321 vehicle-mounted radios, and others, as a regular part of Provost Operations, but the mainstay was, without a doubt, the UK/PRC-320.

While relatively straightforward to find on the open market, they are highly sought-after by collectors of military radios, and again, like deactivated weapons, attract a fairly high price per unit, working or not. If it's cheaper than others, then the chances are that it's non-functional.

In hand portable radios, the UK/PRC-349 was used, but RMP tended only to use this in Northern Ireland; elsewhere in the UK for example, commercial PMR (Private Mobile Radio) Pye and Phillips hand sets were frequently used, but not in Provost Operations; commercial sets were mostly used in General Police Duties and certain specialist operations.

Vehicles used by the RMP

In Provost Operations, like the rest of the army, RMP used - and still do use - Land Rovers. In the 1960s there were series I and lightweight Land Rovers; in the 1970s, Series II and IIa Land Rovers, and in the 1980s, Series III, half-ton and three-quarter-ton L/Rs, with three-quarter-ton trailers for each L/R in all cases; each platoon would in addition have the use of a 4-ton Bedford truck to ship it's headquarters and supplies about the operational theatre. Also contined within each RMP section would be a pair of motorcycles; these were, in the 1960s, BSA 450s, which were changed over in the mid 1970s to 500cc Armstrong trail bikes - which were typically 1950s tech off-road bikes, in that they were heavy, difficult to start (single cylinder, no electrical start), and high off the ground compared to similar offerings from the early 21st century.

Personal kit and more suggestions...

For personal paperwork and ID Discs that an MP would have carried, see this page...

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