One item of militaria that regularly comes up on Huddersfield Market are army boot brushes, indeed they are so common I have restricted myself to pre-war examples and not paying more than a pound each for them. By contrast Air Ministry and Admiralty marked brushes are far rarer and I was very pleased to finally add a Royal Navy example to my collection a couple of weeks ago for the princely sum of 50p:Unlike army brushes which are marked with a /|\ stamp, Royal Navy brushes have ‘ADMY’ stamped into them:This particular brush is dated either 1922 or 1923, but the stamp is very indistinct and I cannot make out the last digit very easily:The original owner has marked it up with his surname ‘Hutchinson’:One distinguishing feature of these early brushes is they often have a number of small brass nails visible on the back:Royal Navy ratings were issued two boot brushes and were required to mark them with their name to indicate who they belonged to. On board ship, sailors normally kept their boot brushes in their ‘ditty’ box along with other small ‘necessaries’ and personal items. These brushes were remarkable well made, hence their survival to the present day. One sailor who joined in the 1950s remarks, The boot brushes issued, with your name stamped upon must be strong, mine are still in service, having seen me through a police career of daily polishing after 12 years RN service.
Another sailor who was serving in the 1960s recalls using boot brushes to scrub the deck of his accommodation block during initial training. In this kit layout the brushes can be seen front and centre: