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As the popularity of re-enactment grows so the demand for equipment increases, also. Whilst owning original items for presentations is desirable it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain these items, even from specialist ‘On-Line’ auction sites, and this is reflected by the increase in prices. Some re-enactors are also collectors and they know the value of original items and although they would like to wear them in battle re-enactment or other displays they do not want to risk damaging them.  They prefer, instead, to wear reproduction items during battles and put on the originals afterwards.

Reproduction equipment is quite common nowadays and easily available at reasonable prices, with the quality increasing dramatically. One of the leading suppliers in reproduction WW II uniform and de-activated weapons is the Keighley-based company of ‘Stand Up Hook Up 1941’ based in West Yorkshire. I recently met up with the proprietor Dennis Smith, who has been supplying reproduction equipment for some 17 years established Stand Up Hook Up (SUHU) about five years ago, explained some of the lines he has on offer. In that time he has built up connections with a range of international suppliers who can provide the widest possible range of reproduction items of uniforms, documentation and other items such as maps, paper money from the period and labels for tins.

Dennis has also supplied a range of equipment for films and documentaries including items such as refurbished helmets. The range of items available through SUHU focuses mainly on US forces, especially 101st Airborne Division and the uniforms such as smocks, jackets, caps, boots and, of course, helmets. The range of ancillary equipment SUHU has available to complete the effect including straps, belts, pouches of all shapes and sizes and badges, is like looking at the shelves of a quartermaster’s stores.

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Simple bits of ephemera from the war years, such as boot laces, first aid tins and wound dressings, have not been forgotten because such bits and pieces all essential in presenting the image. Paper and cardboard items help recreate the overall image, such as booklets containing useful hints about France which were issued to the troops before embarking for D-Day, can be obtained from SUHU to slip into a pocket just like the real thing.

Ration pack boxes for all the menus are available folded flat and on being assembled re-enactors can fill them with rations of their own choice. Even the famous Hershey chocolate bars are available in wartime wrappers for realism. It would seem that nothing has been overlooked and should a re-enactor just starting out as a 101st Screaming Eagle airborne he can visit SUHU and get just about everything he should need to complete the image.

Although uniforms of the US forces are the main product line of the company SUHU also supplies an excellent ange of reproduction kit for the Women’s Land Army, which is becoming very popular. At present they have available a pack containing, jumper, shirt, dungarees, arm band and badge. SUHU can also supply reproduction belts and WLA hats are avail but this depends on supply. Items can be purchased separately and my daughter Charlotte who is recreating WLA and the Timber Corps recently bought a set of dungarees which she has worn to several events which has earned her admiring comments and also invitations to join events such as Graham Adlam’s Battle of Britain Show in Taunton next year. She has also been approached by women looking to create the WLA and asked where she obtained her dungarees because the quality is so good. SUHU has also supplied a lot of WLA reproduction uniform to the groups of WLA known as ‘Nells Belles’.

Dennis can be found at special events such as War & Peace Revival and Military Odyssey and is more than happy to discuss requirements with re-enactors. Alternatively he can be contacted by telephoning 01535 646719 (mobile 07850 316183) or by Email at@ smith.horner@btconnect.com SUHU does have Website site, through which details of the product range can be viewed along with other contact information, This site can be found at: www.standuphookup1941.co.uk

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