Allies in adversity, Australia and the Dutch in the Pacific War: Australian-made Dutch uniform


Australian-made Dutch uniform

The Dutch government-in-exile was keen for its troops to retain their distinctive national identity. It was considered important that both Allies and subjects of the NEI should be reassured by the sight of recognisably Dutch soldiers in uniform. For this reason, efforts were made to issue NEI troops in Australia with their standard clothing, helmets, and weapons. Since supplies could not match demand, it soon became evident that some items would need to be acquired locally, and Australian manufactured clothing was introduced by early 1943.

Dutch uniform

These standard Australian pattern uniform items were issued to Dutch servicemen. Although identical to the tunic worn by the AIF, this example is stamped on its label with the marking “NEI”. Its brass buttons, manufactured in Melbourne , are imitations of the Dutch originals, and feature the army’s traditional motif of a rampant lion holding a sword. The forage cap is also Australian, but similar in appearance to that worn by Dutch servicemen. REL/18406.001–002


Film f00780

The Dutch forces in Australia were always short of men, and some troops were sent from the colonies in the distant West Indies to assist in the liberation of the East Indies. F00780