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- December 2021 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Kit Muster Vol II: Uniforms, Badges and Categories of the Australian Navy 1954 – 1984.Available from these locations: Regimental Books (regimentalbooks.com.au) and Navy Uniforms eShop
With a follow-up to his popular and highly regarded Kit Muster: Uniforms, Badges & Categories of the Australian Navy 1865-1953, naval historian John Perryman is back with Volume II.
The book covers the gamut of the RAN’s roles and operations of the era, skilfully telling the story of what the Navy was doing by what its people were wearing. It ranges from the Royal Yachtsman escorting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II aboard the Royal Yacht during her visit to Australia in 1954, through to integration of the Women’s Royal Australian Navy into the RAN in the 1980s.
Utilizing his 40 year plus relationship with the RAN, in uniform and non-uniform roles, the author has gathered imagery from a wide variety of sources, bringing the uniforms of the era to life in vivid colour. The story is told in highly engaging, easily digestible chapters, highlighting that as Australia’s society and fashion evolved, so did her navy.
The author manages to uncover a wide variety of facts and anecdotes which bring colour and vibrancy to what can often be a dry subject. Of particular interest are the firsthand accounts provided by the people who were there, and wore the uniform. Often overlooked aspects of the service are delved into and brought to life, and readers will find themselves taking an interest in niche items that they might not have otherwise considered. The author clearly has a passion for uniforms, but there is also extensive information on medals, insignia and other accoutrements that were implemented over three decades.
The RAN’s contribution to the Vietnam War is well covered, as is numerous other operations, acquisitions and influential events for the Navy. It is a large tome, coming in at over 500 pages, and any ex-service members will no doubt find enjoyment in reading and reminiscing about their own service era. The author has gone to great lengths to ensure that the contribution of all the members of the RAN has not been overlooked, including sections on the Naval Dockyard Police, Dog Handlers and Firefighters among many others.
The addition of fully referenced tables, annexes and charts make the book very handy for researchers and casual readers alike. This book is highly recommended.