WWII Brittish Military question about spitshining methods...




 
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June 28th, 2004  
Lilmissflamethrower
 
 

Topic: WWII Brittish Military question about spitshining methods...


I was watching a Brittish series called Danger UXB. Its about bomb defusers in WWII England.

Anyway, in one episode, the unit was having an inspection. I believe they called it a "parade."

One of the guys was lighting his boots on fire. I mean he was holding the boots up to a flame.

When the CO came to inspect the group, he took the boots in question off the bed and dropped it into a bucket of water. Then he started yelling at the guy. Their accent is so thick I couldn't tell what he was saying.

My questions:

1. Why would you hold your boots up to a flame?
2. Why would that be bad?
3. Also, while I am asking questions about WWII and English military, what is a sapper?

Thanks! Stacey
June 28th, 2004  
Mark Conley
 
 
1. Why would you hold your boots up to a flame?

Answer: he was burning the volatables out of the unhardened boot polish to allow it to "set" into the leather correctly so that it could be shined.

2. Why would that be bad?

Answer: Its an extreme fire hazard: Most WWII temporary barracks back in WWII were made of extremely cheap, easy to ignite wood or plywood panels.

3. Also, while I am asking questions about WWII and English military, what is a sapper?

Answer: its the nickname given to any British Engineering Soldier. It was the construction of saps or trenches to enable the enemy fortifications to be assaulted which gave the Corps its nickname of 'Sappers'.

http://www.army.mod.uk/royalengineer...tage/index.htm
June 29th, 2004  
Lilmissflamethrower
 
 

Topic: Thank you


Thanks so much for that info. One of the charactors went AWOL to go see if his wife was safe. They demoted him to a sapper.

That explains alot...
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October 1st, 2004  
doddsy2978
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Conley
1. Why would you hold your boots up to a flame?

Answer: he was burning the volatables out of the unhardened boot polish to allow it to "set" into the leather correctly so that it could be shined.

2. Why would that be bad?

Answer: Its an extreme fire hazard: Most WWII temporary barracks back in WWII were made of extremely cheap, easy to ignite wood or plywood panels.

3. Also, while I am asking questions about WWII and English military, what is a sapper?

Answer: its the nickname given to any British Engineering Soldier. It was the construction of saps or trenches to enable the enemy fortifications to be assaulted which gave the Corps its nickname of 'Sappers'.

http://www.army.mod.uk/royalengineer...tage/index.htm
Just being a bit picky here - but saps are the tunnels that were dug under the corners of castles in a siege. Fires would then be set and - in theory, the walls come tumbling down. This is the origin of the name 'sapper' that is the rank of a private in the Royal Engineers.
October 2nd, 2004  
Mark Conley
 
 
nice reply doodsy concidering i took the defitnition straight from a british site..figured they knew what they were talking about.

thanks for the update.
October 2nd, 2004  
doddsy2978
 
Yeah! Understand that, Mark, but it is a basic history thing, a Sap is a tunnel and Sappers dug 'em you can't change that can you?

If we were talking trenches - thats yer average infantry man's job, innit?
July 6th, 2016  
Remington 1858
 
 
The soldier in the episode that you watched had burned the polish on his boots, destroying the waterproofing. He was attempting to melt the polish into the leather. That was a clumsy way to do it.
For "spit shining", actually water shining, the following items are needed:
Clean boots, a hard boot polish, Kiwi is too soft. I use Angeles or Lincoln. A 100 percent cotton cloth with no synthetic fibers, water.
First apply two very heavy coats of polish, melting the wax into the leather with a heat gun on medium heat. Next wet your cotton cloth in water and I mean really wet it in plain water. Not Coca-Cola, not coffee and not human saliva. There is no magical ingredient in any of those liquids. A cotton cloth saturated in water repels wax. Therefore when a saturated cotton cloth is dipped in boot polish and pressure and friction applied to the boot the wax has nowhere to go except into the pores of the leather.
Continue until until a mirror finish is obtained.
There are few tricks other than what I have described. Melting the boot polish into the leather fills the pores and builds up a base coat that will quickly work up into a blinding shine.
July 6th, 2016  
The Highway Man
 
 
I never burnt polish on my boots, another trick was to heat a spoon and rub it over the leather, but this was mainly used on the old style DMS short leg boots that were issued before the mid 80s. The leather was extremely dimpled and the heated spoon smoothed the dimples prior to bulling. I joined in 1986, the boots had just been replaced with high leg combat boots, the leather was very smooth and bulled easily without the need to heat smooth it. My polish of choice was Kiwi parade gloss, it done the trick for me, I wore bulled shoes everyday for police duty.
July 6th, 2016  
BritinAfrica
 
 
I only ever used ordinary Kiwi to bull my hobnail boots. I used a hot spoon to iron out the dimples, then using a yellow duster and cold water from the tap then began bulling. As I smoked back then my spit didn't work which is why I used water.
July 6th, 2016  
The Highway Man
 
 
Wayhay Brit - we actually concurred over something!