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Interwar Pattern 1908 W.E. Set in Pictures

Article about: Presented below is a set of Pattern 1908 webbing manufactured between 1919 and 1935. It is assembled in a configuration that is often seen in contemporary pictures of Interwar Empire forces,

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    Default Interwar Pattern 1908 W.E. Set in Pictures

    Presented below is a set of Pattern 1908 webbing manufactured between 1919 and 1938. It is assembled in a configuration that is often seen in contemporary pictures of Interwar Empire forces, particularly in active areas like the Northwest Frontier. Note that the large pack is worn suspended by the support straps in rucksack fashion, so that it can be discarded quickly if the enemy is engaged.

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    The support straps are held in place by the running 2-inch Twigg buckle on the brace. This arrangement also prevented the straps from cutting into the wearer's axilla.

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    Another view of the set with the pack removed. Note the location of the waterbottle carrier, worn high in the center of belt to prevent it from bouncing on the right hip when moving.

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    This close-up of the cartridge carriers show the lower tier of flaps folded up on the LH carrier, an almost universal practice during the interwar years. Also note that the front brace ends have been tucked up behind the carriers for smartness.

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    This close-up shows an elaborate method of closing the waistbelt that was very common between the wars.

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    Shown from the top

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    The frog in this set is unmarked, but was likely made sometime between 1918 and 1919 due to its lack of reinforcing rivets. Note also how the waterbottle is suspended from the braces. This was most likely accomplished by inserting each brace through the gate of the waterbottle carrier's Twigg buckles.

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    The ‘Bayonet, Number 1 Mark 1’, as it was known after the 1926 ‘Number and Mark’ nomenclature was adopted by the British Army. Note the khaki drill cover on the bayonet scabbard. Photographic evidence shows Interwar troops serving in the Mediterranean and India using such covers which, in addition to providing camouflage, kept the waxed leather scabbard from staining the soldier's tropical uniform.

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    Bayonet Ricasso marked 'G.R.' (for Georgius Rex), '1907' (for the pattern year) , '8 18' (for the date of manufacture, August 1918) and ‘WILKINSON ~ PALL MALL' (for The Wilkinson Sword Company, Limited of London). Note the original blued finish of the ricasso compared with the parkerized finish of the blade, which was most likely refurbished in the early postwar years.

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    Bayonet Ricasso marked with a broad arrow, a bending proof ‘X’ mark, various Enfield inspection marks and a 1922 re-issue date.

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    The frog has also had its helve strap removed, a 1924 modification adopted after the entrenching tool was declared obsolete by the Army.

    LoC A171

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    The Belt was made by Barrow, Hepburn and Gale, Limited of London in 1935. It’s also marked ‘M’ for size ‘Medium’ and features the reinforcing rivets that were omitted during the last part of the Great War.

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    The braces were made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1919.

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    The waterbottle carrier was made by the Michael Wright & Son, Limited of Quorn, Leicestershire in 1938.

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    The bottle is a blue cobalt Mk VI in its newly issued drab serge cloth cover with attached 18 inch stopper cord. This pattern started replacing the old khaki felt pattern in 1933. Note that this carrier has the top closure with two straps adopted in 1921. This modification would characterize all future webbing designed by Mills Equipment Company.

    LoC A7628
    LoC 24092

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    The LH cartridge carrier was made by Barrow, Hepburn and Gale of London on 1924.

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    The RH cartridge carrier was made by Michael Wright & Son, Limited of Quorn, Leicestershire in 1922.

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    The large pack is shown here in rucksack configuration with the support straps arranged as shown. This modified way of wearing the pack was made official with the introduction of the Pattern 1937 W.E. and it is shown the fitting instructions.

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    The large pack was made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited in 1936. It features a poorly stamped Government of India ownership mark (a broad arrow over the letter 'I').

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    The weather flaps on this pack have the brass eyelets first adopted in 1922.

    LoC 24993

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    Unit and ownership markings were often stamped into the brass fittings of interwar webbing. This large pack is marked '212' on the brass tip of the closure strap and '243' on the brass tip of the RH 2" angled tab.

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    The LH 2" angled tab of this pack is marked '11.13.F.F.R.', which stand for the 11th Territorial Bn 13th Frontier Force Rifles, a unit that was raised in 1922 in Campbellpore.

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    The support straps were made by the Mills Equipment Company, Limited in 1919.

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    Like the pack, these straps are marked on the brass. They are marked with the letter 'N' and a broad arrow, which denotes Royal Navy ownership.

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    This picture really sums it up. It shows two soldiers of the 1st Bn. Northamptonshire Regiment on route to Razmak circa 1932-1938. Their Pattern 1908 W.E. shows the large pack being worn rucksack style, the waterbottle worn low on the back, the waistbelt closed in the aformentioned fashion, the front brace ends tucked up behind the cartridge carriers (on the RH figure), and a KD scabbard cover.

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    Last edited by karkee; 02-24-2016 at 06:10 AM.

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    Again an outstanding thread
    Regards
    René

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    Quote by reneblacky View Post
    Again an outstanding thread
    Yes and now I know why it's so hard to find a frog with helve holder. Still don't understand why the cartridge carriers are so rare and I still don't have a set.

    Tony

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    I don't know why the cartridge carriers are so rare compared to the other components of the set either. Most of them probably ended their days in some remote corner of the Empire.

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    Great thread as ever karkee, just to add to it, here is a photograph of some Ghurkhas on the NW frontier with a Vickers Berthier, note the left hand man wearing the waterbottle as Karkee has described:
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    This is my own interpretation of wearing the bottle in the small of the back:
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    You will notice my waterbottle carrier is of the later pattern with the top fastening.

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    Great impression Warspite! I like the large pack worn rucksack style!

    Is your water bottle carrier an interwar example or a modified WWI carrier?

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    It's made by MECo and dated 1940! No idea why it's so late

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    Cool! I don't think I've seen a manufactured example before! I'd love to see pics of the markings and closure straps! Perhaps you posted them on your blog?

  9. #9

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    Not yet, but it's on my hit list for the next few weeks now!

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