The name Pattern ’37 represents a group of friends living in Flanders who all have a fundamental interest in the period of 1939 – 1945, the period of World War II. With this interest as a base, we try to transform ourselves in the British soldier, how he lived, fought and felt during this specific period in time. We don’t do this however just by putting on a British uniform, but by really ‘living history’ the way it took place in those days. We really try to revive a specific period and ‘go back in time’ so to speak.
Our main goal is to give the public a representation as truthful as possible of the life of the British militant (Tommy) during World War II. Our focus lays on the period of 1944 – ’45, the specific time during which most of Flanders was liberated by British and Commonwealth troops. We dress and live like the typical British soldier in order to create a realistic image of his life during these turbulent times. It is our goal to, based on thorough study and own experiences, provide information to the public and share our findings with them, so that none of us will ever forget this period.
A good way to describe our activities is ‘experimental archeology or study’. On a regular basis Pattern ’37 members gather together to ‘revive’ the life at the front in 1944 – ’45. We do this by wearing the exact same uniforms as the British soldiers during the war, and by using the exact same materials as they used then. From head to toe, toothbrush to shoes, everything is authentic. Also the norms and rules present during this specific war time are taken into account. This way we believe we can really create a better image and understanding of the life of the soldiers in these significant time period. Occasionally we also participate in a staged battle.
Pattern ’37 refers to the specific equipment which was standard for British troops from its introduction in 1937 and throughout World War II. It was something that every British soldier was familiar with. Everything a soldier belonged, needed to be carried within that equipment. The Pattern ’37 equipment formed the fundaments, so to speak, for each British soldier to live and survive during the World War II battle. He had to rely on his webbing, it could make the difference between life or death.