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Mills Naval Pattern 1919 Pistol & Cutlass Webbing Set in Pictures

Article about: Web Equipment, Naval, Pattern 1919 Presented below is a set of Pattern 1919 Web Equipment from the Interwar to early war period. This pattern was adopted by the Royal Navy after the Great Wa

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    Default Mills Naval Pattern 1919 Pistol & Cutlass Webbing Set in Pictures

    Web Equipment, Naval, Pattern 1919


    Presented below is a set of Pattern 1919 Web Equipment from the Interwar to early war period. This pattern was adopted by the Royal Navy after the Great War as a pistol and cutlass gear for those armed with the revolver, while Pattern 1908 continued to be used by those armed with rifles, such as ratings in Naval Landing Parties. Production appears to have ceased in 1940 when the Navy, like the Army and RAF, adopted Pattern 1937.

    As with collecting other obscure patterns of British Webbing, finding components of the Pattern 1919 Set can be difficult as it is often misidentified. Generally speaking, most production seems to have been in the 1920s and in the year 1940, when the last contracts were filled, though some 1930s dates are seen as well. Mills Equipment Company was the primary producer of Pattern 1919 webbing, though BH&G LTD. Has also been observed. Earlier production pieces were typically marked with a Naval Property ‘N’, both in ink and stamped into the brass. This practice was carried into 1940 but ceased in that year; so many late production pieces are not Navy marked. Unfortunately, this lack of naval stamps on 1940 items led many to believe that the Pattern 1919 waterbottle carrier was intended for the 1937 set.

    Much of this information is drawn directly from Karkee Web. To read more about this fascinating pattern, please visit the following link (I am merely a member of the Karkee Web Research Team, not the creator of this incredible resource!)…

    Pattern 1919 Naval Web Equipment

    A view of the set along with a Mark VA Respirator Haversack.

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    The Mark VA Haversack was intended for use with a long-hose respirator and featured a waist strap so that it could be worn on the side.

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    The shoulder strap is stenciled with the owner’s name, which appears to read "J.RRICE" in white lettering (commonly seen on Royal Navy Webbing as well).

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    The waist strap is made out of the same material as the shoulder strap, but features a “hook and loop” buckle, first patented in 1919.

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    The interior of the haversack is marked with a 'VA' and it appears to have been manufactured by the County Screen Company of London and Manchester in 1931. Note also the large 'N' naval ownership mark.

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    A closer view of the set.

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    The D-shaped mess tin in a Pattern 1901 Mess Tin Cover, secured to the front cover of the Pack.

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    The “Cover, mess tin. (Mark I.) Brown canvas, with 4 leather loops” from the Pattern 1901 Naval Accoutrements predates the introduction of the Pattern 1919 set, which had its own webbing mess tin carrier. Photographic evidence seems to indicate that earlier canvas mess tin covers were more commonly used with the 1919 set. Note that this cover likely dates from 1911 to 1917, due to the presence of a brass button in place of a brass stud closure.

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    The cover has a loop on top, which fits the strap of the 1919 Pack.

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    The back face of the cover has belt loops. There was originally an integral mess tin strap stitched between these loops. Presumably, this strap was removed so it could be used in conjunction with the 1919 set.

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    The cover features a faint Naval Ownership Mark in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter code “W.T.” surmounting a naval “N”.

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    This cover was made by Thomas French & Son, Limited of London. Note that the leather is also stamped with an “F.W.”, which may be an inspector mark.

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    The ‘TIN, MESS, OLD PATTERN’ was introduced around 1814, towards the end of the Napoleonic wars, and continued in service until about 1938. This interwar example lacks the extra metal loops for the mess tin strap found on earlier examples.

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    The D-shaped mess tin (of tinplated steel) consisted of a body with square-shaped bail and a lid with a folding handle.

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    This tin was manufactured in 1937 by Corfield & Buckle Limited of London. Note the Broad Arrow stamped into the upper lip.

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    The Pattern 1919 Pack was heavily based on Mills’ earlier Rucksack design used for the Belgian M1915 Web Equipment.

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    In addition to the mess tin strap on the front cover, the Pack included five 3/4-inch straps and chapes, one on top and two on each side, to carry a rolled blanket and groundsheet.

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    The pack also featured integral, but adjustable, shoulder straps having Hooks at the junction of the 2-inch shoulder strap and the 1-inch counter (under-arm) strap, forming an “L” shape. These Hooks connected to the 4-bar buckles on the Brace Attachments.

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    A bottom view of the Pack shows that the right shoulder strap has a removable hook, to allow easy donning and doffing. There is also a 1 1/2-inch steadying strap fitted with a "keyway" slotted buckle that loops around the Waistbelt.

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    This Pack was made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1940. Note the very faint inspectors stamp in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting a number over the letter ‘U’. This ‘U’ inspection stamp is found on much early Mills webbing up until 1941 and is often erroneously believed to be a South African Ownership Stamp.

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    The Pattern 1919 Haversack was a very interesting design that could be worn on the back like a Pattern 1937 Haversack. A similar design was also found on Mills’ Commercial Equipment for Officers.

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    The bottom of the Haversack has fittings that allow the storage of the two Haversack Straps used when the Haversack was carried on the back. Note that these Haversack Straps were made up from a later Map Case Strap.

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    The back of the Haversack has a 3/4 inch transverse strap fitted to the upper rear edge, which formed two “loops” for the Braces to pass through, when the Haversack was worn on the back.

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    A side view of the Haversack, showing the wedge-shaped profile.

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    This Haversack was made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1940. Again, note the extremely faint inspectors stamp in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting a number over the letter ‘U’.

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    A view of the set with the Haversack worn on the back. Unlike the 1937 Pattern Haversack, the 1919 Pattern Haversack sat very low on the back and seems to distribute weight more evenly between the Braces and Haversack Straps.

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    A view of the transverse strap “looped” over the Braces.

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    A view of the Haversack Strap looped over the Brace Adapter and held in place by the Brace.

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    Another view of the Haversack Strap looped over the Brace Adapter.

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    The Pattern 1919 Waterbottle Carrier. Note the front closure stud, similar to the Pattern 1908 Waterbottle Carrier, as well as the long buckle straps. Wartime Canadian-made Waterbottle Carriers feature a front closure stud as well circa 1942-1943 and are often erroneously identified at Pattern 1919.

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    The bottle is a cobalt blue Mk VI in its khaki felt cover with attached 18 inch stopper cord.

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    The Waterbottle Carrier was made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1926. Note the Naval Ownership Stamp in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter N over a number.

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    The “Cutlass, Royal Navy, Pattern 1889” or “Sword, Naval, 28 inch, Pattern 1889” shown in its leather scabbard in the webbing Pattern 1919 Frog.

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    The Pattern 1889 Cutlass was the last naval Cutlass produced as a sea service weapon. It had a straight, flat blade and spear point.

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    The hilt has a turned over edge basket guard with a slot for a wrist strap near the pommel and a cast iron ribbed grip.

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    Note the brass number plaque on the front of the guard, indicating that it was probably stored in a cutlass rack when not in use.

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    The ricasso of the Cutlass features a War Department Acceptance Mark (Broad Arrow surmounting the letters ‘WD’, this marking was apparently discontinued on bayonets in 1895-97), an Enfield Royal Small Arms Factory (R.S.A.F.) Inspection Mark, and an ‘X’ Bending Mark/Proof of Blade.

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    The opposite ricasso features the manufacture date of 1890 as well as two Enfield Royal Small Arms Factory (R.S.A.F.) Inspection Marks.

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    The top of the guard features another War Department Acceptance Mark and a Naval ‘N’ Ownership Mark.

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    The Pattern 1919 Frog for the Cutlass. This is very similar to a Pattern 1908 bayonet Frog, but the belt loop is smaller to fit the Pattern 1919 Waistbelt. The upper loop on the Pattern 1919 frog is also narrower and features two brass rivets. Note the tear drop frog stud of the scabbard.

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    One rivet is stamped with a Broad Arrow.

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    While the other rivet is stamped with a Naval ‘N’ Ownership Mark.

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    This Cutlass Frog was made Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1923. Again, note the Naval Ownership Stamp in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter N over a number.

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    The Pistol Case designed to take the large frame Webley revolvers.

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    Earlier Cases featured a wooden plug at the bottom secured by studs. The wooden plugs were replaced by webbing sometime in the early 1930s.

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    This Pistol Case was made Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1924. Again, note the Naval Ownership Stamp in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter N over a number.

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    The Pattern 1919 Cartridge Pouch held rounds for the revolver and is one of the harder items to find.

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    Loose cartridges were retained by flaps on the sides of the pouch. This switched to a strip of webbing in 1932.

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    This Cartridge Pouch was made Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1924. Again, note the Naval Ownership Stamp in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter N over a number.

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    The set without a Pack or Haversack.

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    The left Brace with loop was made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1937. Again, note the Naval Ownership Stamp in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter N over a number.

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    The right Brace was also made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1937. Again, note the Naval Ownership Stamp in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter N over a number.

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    The brass tips on the Braces are also stamped with a Broad Arrow and Naval ‘N’ Ownership Mark.

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    The right Brace Attachment was made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1940. It has no naval stamps and could have been made for either the Pattern 1919 or Pattern 1937 sets, as they were identical in both sets in 1940.

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    The left Brace Attachment was made by Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1940. Earlier Pattern 1919 Brace Attachments had a brass ring in place of the brass rectangle.

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    An internal view of the set, showing the three-piece Pattern 1919 Waistbelt.



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    The “hook and loop” buckle on this belt is stamped with Broad Arrows and Naval ‘N’ Ownership Marks.

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    The brass tip on the center section of the belt is also stamped with a Broad Arrow and Naval ‘N’ Ownership Mark.

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    This Waistbelt was made Mills Equipment Company, Limited of London in 1923. Again, note the Naval Ownership Stamp in the form of a Broad Arrow surmounting the letter N over a number.

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    I hope you have found this post interesting and educational!
    Last edited by karkee; 04-21-2017 at 06:53 AM.

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    Great post! Never seen most of that stuff. Rich A. in Pa.
    1969 Shelby GT-500 King of the Road
    Knowledge is power, guard it well.

  3. #3
    CBH
    CBH is offline
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    Another excellent thread superbly detailed and photographed.

    I've never seen buckles and rivets marked before.

    Thanks again and keep up the great work.
    Cheers Chris

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    Brilliant post as ever. I can't add much to this, but I thought I would share my 1919 pattern pack and its contents. These are based off a 1936 Royal Navy packing list and as can be seen it is a very full pack you are left with:
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    The original list lists the contents as: 1 spare suit (jumper and bell bottoms), one overall or duck working suit (trousers only below as I don't have the top), 1 pair boots, 1 flannel, 1 jersey, 1 pair drawers, 1 towel, 1 housewife (missing from my set so far), 2 pairs socks (missing from my set up) and one oilskin (again missing). I have substituted the blanket for the oilskin, but I suspect in service the blanket would have been wrapped in the oilskin to keep it dry:
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    It is impossible to fit the boots in the pack, so our best guess is they were tied together with the laces and just tied to the back of the pack.

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    Thanks guys, I'm glad you found it helpful and interesting!

    Warspite - Thanks for sharing the pictures and list of contents for the pack! I have been following your posts on this subject with great interest! I'd have to agree about the boots being external. They don't appear in the couple of contemporary photographs I have seen of the pack in use, but that hardly means it wasn't the case! I wonder if they continued to produce the cutlass frog into the 1930s -1940...

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    Neat. Rich A. in Pa.
    1969 Shelby GT-500 King of the Road
    Knowledge is power, guard it well.

  7. #7

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    One extra bit to add. This is my second pattern 1919 holster. Outwardly it's very similar to a 37 pattern example and lacks the wooden plug on the end of the older design, like that shown by Karkee above. Unlike a 37 pattern example though it does not have a 2" brass hanger above the belt attachments on the back. The cleaning rid channel is inside the holster unlike the 25 pattern which mounted this externally. My example doesn't have the 'N' mark, but the late manufacture date might explain this as stampings could become more sporadic as the war progressed.
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    Thanks for the additional pictures Warspite! There are some who believe that all production of Pattern 1919 webbing ceased in 1940, but there are odd pieces with later dates that seem to raise questions. I'm not sure they were made for Navy contracts though. Karkee Web shows a Cartridge Pouch made in 1942, though they do state that it may pocket for the Sten Loading Tool. I have a 1941 dated Pattern 1919 belt that has a Government of India ownership stamp...

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    The side sections are slightly shorter than the standard production (I have shown it next to the side sections of a 1940 production belt).

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