Blanco No. KG3 Khaki Green (Dark)

On the label

Balmforth’s Preservo BL brand Dubbin
Made in England
Unequalled for Softening, Preserving & Waterproofing
Boots, Footballs, Saddlery & all other Leather Articles
Three simple instructions
First – Thoroughly clean the article
Second – Slightly warm Dubbin before applying
Third – Rub well in

Size C Full reliance can be placed on all goods bearing the B.L. Brand Trade Mark including Leather Laces for Walking & Sports Boots made by E. B. Balmforth Ltd., 4 Meanwood Rd, Leeds.

KG3 blanco mould
KG3 blanco mould
Photos: David Pratt
There is much debate on when exactly KG3 came into use. For sure, photographs taken from D-Day onwards seem to show dark webbing and what colour photographs there are indicate this as well, so it supposed they adopted the darker colour as being more appropriate camouflage for action in north-west Europe. It shows some synchroniser with one of the colours adopted for painting vehicles some years earlier. The 1942 amendments to the Home Guard’s regulations (based on the Regular Army regulations of 1939) state that the Blanco colour was to be KG3, and lists the makers Meltonian, Pickerings, Chiswick, Properts and Hamilton as approved suppliers. This is the earliest documentary reference found so far and would suggest the army had also adopted it in 1942 or earlier. Perhaps more accurately one could say with certainty that sometime between Dunkirk and D-Day KG3 became the universal colour for working kit unless summoned to sunny climes. Of course, various other colours will have continued in use for parade kit, as regiment traditions.

Incidentally, KG3 although a new designation could well have been ‘Shade 53’ from many years prior to WWII – the dark khaki-green is certainly very similar.

Interestingly, the Canadians used their own dark green web cleaners which were a similar shade to KG3 and this was available from at least 1939. The Royal Winnipeg Rifles of Canada had orders to use dark khaki green on their gear as early as Nov 1943.

Wrapper for Khaki Green No. 3

This contained the latter style of mould with a shallow dished surface rather than the old style deep well mould. This particular wrapper is certainly post-1936.
KG3 wrapper

Wrapper for No. KG3 Khaki Green (Dark) following naming rationalisation (formally called Khaki Green No. 3). This wrapper carries the numbers of 12/48 in the bottom right hand corner which is quite possibly the wrapper date indicating product was supplied in this form after WWII, if not before 1948.
KG3 wrapper

A metallic sprinkler tin of KG3. This product is unbranded and doesn’t carry manufacturer information either. It is of the ‘Mills’ type, authorised for use on respirator haversacks, so presumably manufactured as a colour in a soluble base rather than the clay based solid Blanco. However, this can was found in amongst product supplied to Stig Roadie from the factory archives so is either a Pickering’s manufactured product or a competitor’s product under examination! Odd that is doesn’t carry the proud manufacturer’s name – perhaps made under a military contract that precluded branding.
Pickering's equipment cleaner
Photo: David Pratt


Post war ‘dry and crumbly’ KG3 shipping box for 12 5 ounce moulds. Moulds were wrapped in plain brown paper without branding although the product itself has the embossed ‘Blanco – made in England’.
KG3 post WWII
Photo: David Pratt

Box label:

Note: The stores code of HA/12802 continued to be used for the later described Olive Green No.3 and ‘hard and waxy’ Olive Green No 19 which was to come later.

A can of powdered KG3 branded as ‘Pickerings’ and therefore could be contemporary with the last product line of use-straight-out-of-the-tin Pickerings web cleaner.
Again, it is of the ‘Mills’ type, authorised for use on respirator haversacks, so presumably manufactured as a colour in a soluble base.
Pickering's Equipment Cleaner
Photo: David Pratt