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Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

Article about: After the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and the capture of reserve stocks by rebels, the British Army in India faced severe shortages of harness saddlery and leather accoutrements. Resupply from Eng

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    Default Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    After the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and the capture of reserve stocks by rebels, the British Army in India faced severe shortages of harness saddlery and leather accoutrements. Resupply from England involved a long sea voyage around the Cape of Good Hope which damaged much of the leather equipment. Lieutenant John Stewart of the Bengal Artillery was ordered to stimulate the local leather industry and established the Government Harness & Saddlery Factory, Cawnpore in 1863. Many other private leather and textile firms followed and Cawnpore quickly became a major industrial center in Northern India.

    The Government Harness & Saddlery Factory was operated by the Military Supply Department of the Government of India and was entirely devoted to the manufacture of military equipment. It had its own brass and iron foundry for making equipment fittings and during times of mobilization it could place orders with the private firms of Cawnpore, which were brought up to the standards of the harness factory.

    The Government Harness Factory expanded rapidly to meet the needs of the Indian Army during the Great War, employing around 4,000 workers by 1916-17. Demand decreased during the interwar years.

    In addition to leather accoutrements, the factory began producing Mk V Gasmask Bags and Pattern 1908 Web Equipment components. It is unclear when the production of webbing commenced or if full sets of webbing were manufactured, but extant examples of frogs and water bottle carriers bear 1930s dates. The Government Harness & Saddlery Factory marked their items with a Ca. for Cawnpore, which changed in 1940 to ca. The brass fittings on early pieces were also stamped with the same “Ca.” mark and were probably made on the factory premises. In general, early production webbing is of higher quality with better stitching and fittings. Additionally, some early pieces feature a mix of canvas and webbing.

    In November 1941, large scale orders for Pattern 1937 Web Equipment were placed by the Indian Government. The Government Harness & Saddlery Factory produced the full range of components, but the wartime webbing was of a much looser weave with undyed stitching and cruder brass fittings made by outside firms. Additionally, snaps were a mixture of imported British-manufactured snaps made by Newey Brothers, Limited of Birmingham as well as locally made Indian snaps of poorer quality. The latter featured the classic ‘pebbled’ pattern or a snowflake pattern unique to India. The stamps on wartime webbing are often upside down and poorly stamped, which may be due to a largely Indian workforce with less supervision from European foremen. The government factory may have also called upon local private firms to fill these orders during the war.

    This set of Pattern 1937 Officers’ Webbing was made by the Government Harness & Saddlery Factory, Cawnpore between 1941 and 1943.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Outside view of the set without the pack.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Inside view of the set.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Compass pocket and binocular case (note the lack of side buckles on the latter).
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Indian acceptance stamp on the binocular case. This case was made by the Gov’t Harness Factory, as evidenced by the undyed stitching and characteristic markings.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Indian binocular cases use tinned steel plates instead of fiber stiffening. This example would have originally had a wool pad on the bottom to protect the binoculars.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The back of the binocular case has the characteristic boxed number stamp of webbing made by the Gov’t Harness Factory.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    A close-up of an Indian-made snap on the binocular case with its distinctive ‘snowflake’ design.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The inside of the same Indian-made snap lacks markings and appears crude.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The inside of the compass pocket shows the rough, gray wool liner and faint ca1943 maker mark. It also has a tinned steel plate for stiffening most likely.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    A close-up of a British-made snap on the compass pocket with its usual ‘pebbled’ design.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The inside of the same British-made snap is stamped N.B.LTD. for Newey Brothers, Limited of Birmingham.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Indian-made waterbottle in carrier and wirecutters frog.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The wirecutters frog has a lid comprised of two thin pieces of webbing stitched together and is maker marked ca1942. The acceptance stamp features an Indian broad arrow flanked by ‘W’ & ’19’.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The Indian-made waterbottle is made of zinc-coated steel with a wooden stopper as well as a rough wool blanket cover concealed in khaki drill. The webbing carrier is closed by means of a buckle and strap, which replaced the snap closure in 1942. The closure strap is marked ca1943.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Ammunition pouch and pistol case (the Indian-made holster also likely has tinned steel plate on the very end as a stiffener), note the striped webbing on the latter characteristic of Indian-made webbing.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The boxed number stamps seen on webbing made by the Gov’t Harness Factory, here seen on the back of the ammunition pouch and pistol case.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The inside of the pistol case has a W/|\19 acceptance stamp and an upside-down ca1943 maker mark. The construction of the flap is different than British and Canadian-made holsters.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The ammunition pouch lid is marked ca1943 and features an Indian acceptance stamp. Note how the base of the pouch is stitched together, rather than integrally-woven like British examples made by Mills and Wrights.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The ammunition pouch lacks the wool lining of the compass pocket.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Indian-made Officers’ haversack
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The inside of the haversack has two pocket with snap closures.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    A close-up of the haversack shows another Indian-made snap with its distinctive design as well as a very faint ca1943 maker mark.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The inside of the haversack is divided by white canvas.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    A close-up of one of the buckles on the back of the haversack stamped I MILLS 1942.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    An Indian-made whistle.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    This whistle is marked THE THUNDERER WHISTLE – MADE IN INDIA.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The base of the whistle is marked with the maker details.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The waistbelt is marked with an “S” for small as well as an upside-down ca1943. The braces are also marked at the ends ca1942.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The reverse of the brace shows an Indian acceptance stamp of the form C/|\###.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The left brace features a loop. Note how the shoulder flares on the braces are separate pieces of wider webbing stock.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The brass fittings on the belt are marked A.A. 43, which may have been made by the Government of the United Provinces Handicrafts Artisans' Association.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The other fitting is also marked A.A. 43. Note the crude construction of the brass belt slide.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The brace attachment is marked ca1941.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The second brace attachment is also faintly marked ca1941.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Pack (1908 Pattern) and support straps (1908 Pattern).
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The pack is marked ca1942 and features a boxed number stamp on the flap.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    A close-up of the weather flap with its brass eyelet.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    A close-up view of the pack closure buckle stamped I.M.W. 42.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The other pack buckle is also stamped I.M.W. 42.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    A close-up of the pack closure straps stamped K.A.M. 1942.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    A view of the reverse side of the pack, showing the shoulder straps.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Shoulder straps.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Both shoulders straps are marked ca1942. Albeit on opposite sides.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    A close-up showing the stampings on the brass fittings of the shoulder straps. The 2” Twigg buckles are marked A.A. 42, the brass hook from the LH shoulder strap is stamped with a typical Indian acceptance stamp of the form C/|\### and the 1” strap tips are marked K.A.M. 1942 and N.D.S.42, respectively.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    Support straps (1908 Pattern).
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    The support straps are maker marked ca1942.
    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set
    Last edited by karkee; 11-23-2015 at 04:42 AM.

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    Another definitive and educational presentation from Karkee.
    Love your work!

    Oz.

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    Very nice thread. Thanks!
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

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    World class! I can only add this belt 43 for relevance, Thanks for this thread
    Regards
    René

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    I hope you have a book in the works on your P37 research? it would gladly grace my book shelf!
    Regards
    René

  6. #6
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    Thank you very much guys!

    I don't think I could write a book, but I do enjoy sharing my research on forums with other collectors!

    By the way, great belt René! It looks like they got the stamp right-side-up on yours!

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    Cheers Buddy, your posts are some of the best around, thoroughly enjoyable
    Regards
    René

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    Very informative and done well G
    I'd rather be A "RaD Man than a Mad Man "

  9. #9
    BTF
    BTF is offline
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    Awesome stuff!

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    Further evidence of Ca's connection with harness and saddlery. This British Cavalry 1902 Pattern Bit was made by the Government Harness & Saddlery Factory, Cawnpore...

    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    This bit is marked with an Indian Government ownership mark in the form of 'C↑14' as well as the letter 'L', presumably indicating that the bit was a size 'Large'.

    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

    It is also marked with the characteristic 'Ca32', which indicates that the bit was made by the factory in 1932

    Indian-made Pattern 1937 Officers' Webbing Set

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