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Australian Pattern 1937 Webbing Set in Pictures

Article about: Australia’s domestic webbing production was slow to get underway during the Second World War. The country was able to procure webbing from England, and later Canada, for its forces serving i

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    Default Australian Pattern 1937 Webbing Set in Pictures

    Australia’s domestic webbing production was slow to get underway during the Second World War. The country was able to procure webbing from England for its forces serving in the Middle East and North Africa during the early war years. As the war progressed, Australia began receiving large amounts of Canadian webbing and its own webbing producers began producing greater amounts of equipment, but this production appears to be mostly aimed at supplementing existing stocks of Canadian webbing. For this reason, certain items of the Australian-made Pattern 1937 set are difficult to locate. For reenacting purposes, Australian-made webbing is largely only appropriate for the late war Pacific campaign. Although this set is mostly Australian-made, most sets worn by Diggers during the war were comprised of British and Canadian webbing with some Australian pieces later in the war. Additionally, the makers’ marks and dates on Australian webbing are often hard to read, so identification of the pieces below was often made by using better stampings on other examples from the same batch.

    Australian-made Pattern 1937 Webbing Equipment set.

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    The set without the 1908 Large Pack.

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    An inside view of the set.

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    The waistbelt is of British manufacture and was made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1939.

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    The right brace was made by A.F. in 1944; Note how the 2 inch flare on Australian braces was made of two pieces of thin, single weave webbing sandwiching the end of the 1" straps.

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    The left brace (with loop) was made by A.F. in 1945.

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    Right basic pouch; Later in the war, larger basic pouches were adopted for jungle use.

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    Left basic pouch.

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    The snaps on Australian webbing initially used Newey snaps with a ‘pebbled’ texture similar to British webbing. In 1943, Australian manufacturers switched to smooth Carr snaps.

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    The inside of this early snap is marked “NEWEY’S PAT. 10949/15”.

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    The rear of each basic pouch has an Australian inspection mark comprised of a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter ‘W’. Australian inspection codes were typically letter-based.

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    These basic pouches are marked “G.M.H. ~ 1943 ~ D↑D” under the lids and were made by General Motors-Holden's, Limited of Port Melbourne, Victoria in 1943. The D↑D stamp stands for Defence Department and is an Australian Government ownership mark.

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    An Australian Groundsheet held to the equipment with a set of Blanket Straps. The Groundsheet is marked “CAPE SHELTER ~ JAA-0417 ~ N193 ~ 1945 ~ D↑D”. The N193 1945 code denotes that the groundsheet was made in New South Wales in 1945. These codes were adopted during the war to hide the identity and location of Australian manufacturers from the Japanese.

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    The groundsheet also features an Australian inspection mark with the letters ‘A.H.M.’.

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    This shot shows a comparison of the Australian-made brass Twigg buckles of the blanket straps with the British-made buckles on the belt. Australian brass fittings were generally the thickest of all the Pattern 1937 W.E. Empire variants.

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    Another shot of the blanket straps; these were modified Support Straps with the addition of an extra buckle and short section of webbing.

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    These particular blanket straps were made by J.J. in 1943-44 (black ink) and modified by A.F. in 1945 (green ink). Australian Government ownership marks are also present with both sets of markings.

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    The Entrenching Tool Carrier and Mk VI Cobalt Blue Waterbottle in Australian-Pattern Waterbottle Carrier. Note the small Broad Arrow surmounting the letter ‘M’ on the E.T. Carrier.

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    The Entrenching Tool Carrier was made by Harris Washers & Gaskets of Melbourne, Victoria. Whereas other Australian manufacturers were concealing their identities, Harris was including their address and telephone number, should Tojo like to call them up!

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    A rear view of the Australian waterbottle carrier showing the belt hooks (note that they have no flare like British belt hooks) for attachment directly to the waistbelt. This modification appeared in 1943 and was designed to keep the waterbottle from bouncing on the hip when moving.

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    A top view of the waterbottle shows the 18-inch Stopper Cord stitched directly to the wool cover and the stopper itself is marked “D↑D ~ Q P”. Note also the smooth Carr Snap, that replaced the Newey snap, on the carrier’s closure strap.

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    The inside of the snap is marked “CARR ~ AUSTRALIA”.

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    The Waterbottle Carrier appears to be marked “C&H D↑D 1945”. Confusingly, the Australian ownership mark is upside-down in the stamp.

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    Pliers in Webbing Carrier. Note that this was not technically part of the Pattern 1937 set.

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    The Pliers Carrier is marked “GVM ~ 1945 ~ D↑D” and was made by George Victor Mulder of East Malvern, Victoria in 1945.

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    The snap on the carrier is also the later production, smooth Carr-type and is marked “CARR ~ AUSTRALIA”.

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    The pliers feature a wirecutter and screwdriver in the handle.

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    The pliers were made by the Sunshine Harvester Works of Melbourne, Victoria in 1942.

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    They are marked with an “A↑F” stamp, which denoted RAAF ownership.

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    The small pack.

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    This small pack is marked “C&H D↑D 1943” and features an inspection stamp with a ‘W’ letter code.

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    The inside of this small pack lacks any internal dividers, a feature that was dropped from Australian-made small packs some time in 1942-43.

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    The No. 1 Mk II Bayonet Scabbard in webbing frog. Australian scabbards were made in brown leather in the Second World War.

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    The frog is marked “GROSBY 1944 D↑D” and was made by the Grosby Shoe Company of Hartwell, Victoria in 1944. It also features a buttonhole in the upper loop to accommodate a spike bayonet (most likely a later addition).

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    The rear of the frog shows an inspection mark with the letter code ‘S.F.’. The scabbard is marked “MANGROVITE ‘42” and was made by Mangrovite Belting, Limited of Sydney in 1942.

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    The scabbard is also faintly marked with a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter ‘B’ as well as a letter ‘W’ stamp which likely denotes that the scabbard was ‘Waxed’.

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    Australian-made Pattern 1908 Large Pack and Support Straps; note the striping on the pack, characteristic of Australian-produced webbing. As a side note, Australian-made large packs are incredibly rare today, as the vast majority were used up in the Vietnam conflict.

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    Australian-made shoulder straps, constructed using the same method as Australian braces.

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    The Pattern 1937 shoulder straps were made by SK in 1943 and the support straps were made by J.J. in 1943-44. Both sets of items feature Australian government ownership markings.

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    The Large Pack was made by H. LTD in 1943 and features an Australian inspection stamp with a ‘T’ letter code.

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    Interestingly, the weather flaps of the Australian-made Large Pack lack the eyelets adopted on British Packs in 1922.

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    I hope you have found this write-up informative and helpful. Thanks for looking!
    Last edited by karkee; 06-12-2016 at 09:33 AM.

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    Fantastic info as always.

    Tony

  3. #3
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    Another superb effort karkee!
    Brilliant photos too.

    Oz.

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    Great work Mate
    Regards
    René

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    I didn't realize that the large packs were not common, for me the small packs are harder to find, just saying as I have never seen one!
    Regards
    René

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    Gets a BIG from me mate. Thanks for posting up.

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    Thanks for the nice words guys!

    René - Large packs, especially Indian manufactured, are fairly common. Actual Australian manufactured ones seem to be quite scarce. The H Ltd example above is the only one I have seen with intact markings. If you have any pictures of other examples available, please share for comparison!!

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    Here's mine that's un marked other than cutters hand markings, 44-45 type material.
    Haven't played with this one for some years now.
    Regards
    René

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    And here's what I believe to be the Australian made belt, but I stand to be corrected.
    Only one I've seen before and of this construction.
    Regards
    René

  10. #10
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    Nice webbing René, as usual! The large pack certainly looks Australian. Two questions... Are the buckles thick and do the weather flaps have brass eyelets?

    The belt is more difficult. The serial number looks to be Australian, but Diggers did use many British-made belts early in the war. Britain and India both produced this economy pattern circa 1941 to 1942. As I have never actually seen a wartime Australian belt with intact markings, I'm not certain what style they would have produced. If they lacked looms capable of integral weaving, they may have well used this pattern as well. Your belt certainly looks lighter in color, like Australian webbing, though it may have been blancoed. Additionally, I would expect the back buckles on the belt to be a bit thicker on an Australian belt. In short, I'm just not sure

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