An extremely rare pair of original Second World War 'Trousers Parachutists' trousers clearly dated 1945 andare attributed to a member of the 9th Battalion Parachute Regiment.
These trousers belonged to Harold Ronald Thorold who served with the 9th Parachute regiment during the Second World War.14859388 Private Thorold enlisted in the East Surrey regiment in late 1944 before transfering into A company of the 9th Parachute regiment at the beginning of 1945. He stayed with the regiment in the immediate post-war years as did many soldiers waiting to be demobbed when the war was finished. He went to Palestine with the regiment in 1946 and was at Haifa where he was stationed until the middle of 1947. He was transferred to 30 Platoon S Company at some stage as these details are written inside one of his battledress jackets which were found with the trousers. Originally born in Lambeth in 1926, Harold joined the 9th Battalion (eastern counties) Parachute Regiment and stayed living near Ipswich after the war. Harold passed away at the beginning of 2022 and these trousers along with other uniform items were found on his property. The trousers are dated 1945 so are most likely the pair he was issued with on joining the regiment in early 1945.
This pattern or trousers was developed for British airborne forces during WW2 and saw specific issue with airborne regiments as well as with the SAS. This particular pair of trousers were made by 'John Hammond & Co Ltd' who were one of the few companies awarded a contract for this pattern of trousers.
The trousers are made from the standard khaki green coloured wool serge used for all issue battledress trousers during WW2. Like all standard wartime produced 'Trousers, Parachutists', the trousers feature brushed cotton lined slash pockets to each hip as illustrated in picture 21. The map pocket located to the front of the left leg is the expanding style used for Airborne pattern trousers. Unlike earlier produced trousers, this pocket is not lined in chamois as it proved very unpopular. It instead features a cotton drill lining which acts as a dividing partition creating two pockets (picture 8) The pocket also features two small press studs to each corner which are another feature of this pattern. Both are brass and made by 'Newey'.
Another noteworthy feature of this pattern is the knife pocket located to the side seam of the right leg. This is an opening in the seam which fastens with two small metal press studs when not in use. This pocket was designed to house the Fairburn Sykes fighting knife which was often carried by elite units. There is a single green coloured vegetable ivory (plastic) button inside the pocket to which the FS knife scabbard can be fastened. The same buttons are found through the trousers and are typical of late war manufactured battledress from 1944 and 1945. The pocket itself is made from the same khaki coloured cotton drill material used for the waist lining.
A First Field Dressing pocket is fitted to the right upper portion of the front of the trousers, as is common with many wartime manufactured battledress trousers. These trousers also feature twin dressing pockets to the rear which are another notable feature of airborne trousers. These were designed to house two extra First Field Dressings and were believed to supplement an awkward landing of a parachutist. They also fasten with green coloured vegetable ivory (plastic) buttons, typical of uniforms made during this period.
Incredibly, the original label is still present to the rear exterior of the trousers. The label bears the title of 'Trousers Parachtists' along with the size of 8, the manufacturer's name and the date of 1945. The War department arrow is also evident. There is also a purple issue stamp which bears the date of February 1945 which ties in perfectly with when Harold transferred into the 9th Battalion Parachute Regiment.
Inside the trousers the original War Department acceptance stamp is still present and is bright and legible. It is surmounted by the letter 'Z' which denotes 1945 as the year of issue. There is also a serial number to the interior which has been applied in the same manner as on Thorold's other uniforms but the numbers don't match for some reason. They were undoubtedly his as they were recently found on his property along with his other uniform items, so this is somewhat of a mystery.
The trousers have sadly suffered from damage which is clearly evident in the pictures. They still display well from the front and all of the important attributes of the airborne pattern of trousers are completely intact. From the rear however they display less favourably with two large holes along with some small holes and tears. There is also a small amount of moth damage which is again illustrated in the pictures. It would be possible to have the trousers restored but they are offered here in 'as found' condition leaving their future up to the next custodian.
This is a unique opportunity to own a pair of very rare trousers which were only produced in small numbers. The damage has been reflected in the price and they would still look good on a display. These are without a doubt a rare and sought after piece of wartime battledress trousers which are missing from many collections.
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