|BELT COLOURS - yellow, black, red and white stripes|
I am enclosing a photo of my own belt which I had whilst serving in the regiment from 1954-1957. The first we knew about them was in 1956 when the P.R.I. had them for sale. They were to be worn by Corporals and above. The cost then was £4 a belt and they were not general issue. They must be purchased by the individual.
With thanks to Mr B Whitwell, Hon Sec/Treasurer, Cambridgeshire Regiment Association.
For years, we have been wondering what was the correct etiquette for the wearing of Regimental stable belts. The belts that were introduced in 1956 for wear with the 1st Battalion, were worn predominantly in Cyprus and were discontinued abruptly in 1960 by 1/1st East Anglian Regiment when one of their own colours was introduced for wear. We had thought that they were originally worn with the buckles at the front, then moved to the side. This appeared to have been born out by conversations with former Suffolk Officers who said that the first CO in Cyprus, Lieutenant-Colonel 'Tiny' Heal disliked wearing the belt on any occasion as he felt it was a ridiculous item of uniform. 'Tiny' who was a man of imposing stature, was over six feet tall and 18 stone of solid muscle. He had played rugby with the All Blacks in 1936 at Plymouth, as a gesture of appreciation for when his father commanded the South African Brigade at Delville Wood in 1916 and was a good all-round athlete.
After command of the Battalion passed to Lieutenant-Colonel W.S. Bevan, the belt buckles appear to have been moved back from the side to the front. 'Bertie' Bevan was himself a man of grand stature and too disliked wearing the belt, but photographs do survive of him wearing a belt with the buckles at the front. The above photo left, taken in 1957 shows the belt being worn with the buckle at the side. Naturally, we're all now a confused, so if anyone can shed any light on the matter, please do help us!
Certainly the majority of other ranks wore their stable belts buckles to the front, yet most officers and senior NCOs appear to wear the buckles on the left hip. It was said originally that in the Suffolk Regiment, the wearing of Stable belts was suppressed by the then CO, Lieutenant-Colonel W.A. Heal, as he disliked having to wear one. He was a sturdy built, rugby-playing man, over six foot tall and he was likened to a ‘Regimental zebra’ when wearing one. His successor, Lieutenant-Colonel W.S. Bevan, although much more portly around the middle, wore one immediately when he took over from him.