I would like to show you a uniform set I recently acquired, a 5 Commando beret from the Congo and a ABL "Jigsaw" smock. I am told that both belonged to the same Belgian who served as a mercenary in the Congo. I am still waiting for some papers that should contain name and some history.
The beret: the blue backing disk went missing "somewhere over there", otherwise this is in as good a condition that one could hope for.
The smock: a standard 1958 Jigsaw with button up front. Lots of wear on this, the neck is greasy, shiny and rotten through in a few sports, as are the cuffs. Lots of small hand made repairs (never seen this kind of repairs on regular surplussed Belgian items, they're always machine sewn), the crotch flap has been cut off, some small tears in seams here and there and some "suspicious" small dark dripply stains on the sleeves and the front.
The epaulettes puzzle me a bit, these are not the "common" 5 Commando green felt (which appear to have existed in lots of different sizes and construction variations) or Katangese red ones, instead they are sand coloured felt, the onderluitenant star is embroidered. The Commando daggers are identical in detail and construction to all 5 Commando dagger pins in photos I´ve been able to find for reference, right down to the wire attachment pins. Has anybody got any info on this type of (possibly Belgian) epaulettes? From photos it is evident that some mercenaries wore their own rank epaulettes, but this specific model is a stranger to me.
The original owner came back home with the pants too, but the story goes they were so shredded that he had them exchanged for a fresh pair (which came with the smock), a shame really but I guess he wasn't thinking about the future collectible value of those rags at the time!
Can anybody tell me about these epaulettes? I *think* they could be ABL issue, but I have not found any good info or reference material to compare them to.