The increasing evidence of climate change has set me to thinking of the consequences, which include the potential for the return of mosquito-borne malaria to the soggy-boggy bits of the country. Now, here in Scotland, as regular readers will know, we have non-malarial mosquitoes and midgies in abundance. Fortunately, they’re all hibernating at the moment and won’t be coming out to bother us until it’s just the right time to return to outdoor activities without wanting to wear several layers of protective clothing.
I thought it would be instructive to take a look at what the well-dressed, prophylactically-intentioned young squaddie was wearing in this respect 73 years ago. This illustration is drawn from the Army Manual of Hygiene and Sanitation 1934, which caught my eye many years ago in a second-hand book stall. Careful observation will suggest that, not only is this man determined to repel an assault from the sinister direction, but that dextrally he might just be indicating an allegiance to the builders of the fine, stone edifice behind him. It is instructive to note that rubber bands around the upper arms are a last-ditch defence against the more determined “sapper” mosquito (Anopheles crawliensis) which, left to its own devices would abandon its wings at the wrist and proceed in an orderly manner up the forearm, circumnavigating the tickly inner elbow section, seeking only to make a soft nest in the hair of the oxter.
The last line of defence, as always, is beating the little bu**ers to death with your belt, so observe the substantial construction of that supplied to our wee man which can be whipped off in a single movement, unencumbered as it is by belt-loops, and waved vigorously around the head in ultimate despair, hoping always to take some of them with you.