Photos: David Pratt
This nice photo from Stephen Cobden clearly shows the stronger yellow shade of Blanco 61 applied to the pouch compared to virgin unblancoed webbing belt at top of of frame.
Photo: Stephen Cobden
Photo: David Pratt
No.61 Buff – (formerly called Khaki Blanco shade number 61) – made until at least 1948 in this form. Post 1954 the product changed to the tinned paste variety.
I was buying Blanco, 61 buff, for my school Combined Cadets Force uniform in 1956-1957 and it was still available in 1959, although obviously I have no idea as to how much stock the retailer held.
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.