Blanco No. 61 Buff
Photos: David Pratt
Photo: Stephen Cobden
Photo: David Pratt
The Blanco came in a solid block, the paper wrap was marked “Blanco No. 61 Buff”. I only needed it during my stay in the basic section. The hierarchy was: recruits’ platoon, basic section, then either Army or Navy sections. I was a blue job so used (on rare occasions, not much Blanco in the Royal Navy!) Meltonian whitening. My school, Dunstable, was a public school when I started but was absorbed into the state system. The CCF closed in 1961 through lack of support as once National Service finished, the prime reason to join the CCF (a National Service commission) disappeared. Buff 61 was not a common colour as I remember. Many other schools used an olive green shade. Our CCF was affiliated to the Beds and Herts Regt, and presumably we used the regt’s colour.
As I mentioned, I was destined for a naval career so joined the naval section. I suspect the fun we had then would cause today’s elf and safety brigade to have kittens. So be it: I don’t recall many injuries. We had a miniature range on the school grounds and all CCF members had the opportunity to shoot. We learned to handle them, care for them and respect them. I was a decent shot in those days, did my Empire Test and got a ‘possible’ (100%). When I joined the Royal Navy I shot for Dartmouth the year we smashed Sandhurst. That was the first time I had used a Martini; the CCF of course used the Rifle No. 8 which was a sleeved-down version of what would have been the Jungle Carbine if the Army had adopted it.
This block of Blanco 61 was sold on eBay recently. It is in a hinged tin with cream painted interior, the construction of which is unlike others seen – having a welded side seam and hinged lid. It also carries a broad arrow stamp indication this was an issued item, not one sold through the NAAFI or similar. There is no Joseph Pickering branding on the tin – it is possible the tin is unrelated to Blanco but belonged to something else and was turned to a convenient receptacle for a Blanco block.