(Packed with soldier's personal kit dated from the 1940's)
(Click PIC to Enlarge)
(Click PIC to Enlarge)
1937 Pattern - WWII British Soldier's Haversack
(167 picture virtual tour)
Note: Pics of 37 Pattern Haversack and personal kit provided courtesy of MILSURPS.COM member ~Angel~.
1937 Pattern Web Equipment (click here)
In the early 1930s it was decided to replace the 1908 pattern webbing, as it was thought that in the next war infantrymen would be part of a motorized and mechanized army, rather than fighting in trenchers. Although what was to become pattern 37 webbing was approved by the army, it was deferred as the army was looking at a new light machine gun (bren gun). A new basic pouch was designed to suit it and the 1937 pattern webbing was then excepted in June 1938. The equipment set that the Canadian Army began to employ in 1939, called 1937 Pattern Web Equipment had already been made standard in the British Army two years before. Officially also known as Web Equipment, 1937 Pattern, WE '37 was made of the same light khaki coloured cotton webbing that the early 1908 Pattern had been made from. Some items remained similar, indeed, the Large Pack remained identical to WE '08.
The basic 1937 pattern webbing equipment was of a pre-shrunk dyed in the weave webbing which rendered the material virtually waterproof, and in the field this was treated with 'Blanco' to colour the material green to aid concealment. The basic webbing set (Battle Order) consisted of a web-waist belt with cross brace shoulder straps linked to ammunition pouches on the lower chest; which hung from either the waist belt or straps the 1908 pattern entrenching tool and 1937 pattern carrier, water-bottle and bayonet frog. In addition to such by 1944 most troops were issued with the new 1943 Light Pattern Anti-Gas Respirator and haversack carrier worn across the body on the left hand side under the 1937 webbing set. Personal items and rations etc. were carried in the 1937 pattern haversack carried on the soldiers back via brace straps attached to the webbing cross straps.
Collector Comments and Feedback:
1. The haversack in the 167 pic virtual tour, is the standard 1937 pattern issue, complete with shoulder straps. The pack has been Blancoed in the correct shade of khaki green as used during the Second World War.
Tucked into the haversack and shown folded over in the photo montage, is an issue rain cape. The rain cape was folded in such a way that part of it covered the contents of the haversack, keeping them dry in case of rain, until the wearer has time to pull out the cape itself and wear it, covering himself and his gear. This rain cape is post war-dated but identical to WWII pattern and appears to be in new condition.
One pair wool socks, typical pattern.
One tin of issue cigarettes. Packed in a grey tin with the word CIGARETTES embossed on the lid. There is a cardboard liner in the tin around the cigarettes. Each unfiltered cigarette is marked with HM FORCES and GOLD FLAKE. These are bone dry........
Two original cigarette packets and matchbox (all three empty). Cigarettes were also sold at the NAAFI in small five- or ten-cigarette packets. These are of the “Wild Woodbine” and “Gold Flake” brands. Also included is a matchbox, “England’s Glory” brand.
Two issue shell dressings. The larger of the two is dated September 1943 while the smaller is dated February 1942. Both are sealed and in new condition. Two (or more) shell dressings were commonly carried; the logic being that a gunshot or shrapnel wound produces a small entrance wound and a much larger exit wound.
Grooming kit. A canvas case holding day-to-day grooming items, including:
- Tin of “Gibb’s Dentifrice” toothpowder, full.
- “Altoids” tin. Inside are two Bank of England one pound notes; three three-penny pieces, dated 1942, 1943 and 1945; three farthings, two dated 1941 and one 1943, and one very small three-penny piece, silver in color, dated 1940.
- Shaving brush, 1945 dated with broad-arrow mark.
- Toothbrush, 1945 dated with broad-arrow mark, nylon. All the genuine toothbrushes of this vintage appear to be cracking and bubbling. It isn’t the most appetizing item, but it is the real deal. I wouldn’t recommend trying it out.
- Stick of shaving soap.
- Safety razor, 1944 dated, broad-arrow marked. Underneath is a small box of five unused “Howard” brand double-edged razor blades, as imported to the UK from the United States.
- Button stick, made of phenolic material. These were used to place behind brass buttons on uniforms to protect the cloth from brass polish while the buttons were being shined. Marked with WD and broad-arrow, but not dated.
- Aluminium soap dish. This soap dish is dated 1945 and has a broad-arrow marking as well. Included is a small lump of issue-style brown soap.
Spare leather boot laces. As used on issue “ammo” boots.
Issue “Housewife” sewing kit. A small canvas pouch with a patch of serge material intended to hold needles, including the following items:
- Two balls of grey darning wool to mend issue socks.
- Six battledress-sized plastic buttons.
- Six undershirt-sized plastic buttons.
- Brass thimble.
- 50-yard spool of grey linen thread.
- Packet of four needles, sewing, and one needle, darning. Needles are in sealed foil inner packet and outer packet is broad-arrow marked.
Face veil / kerchief. This item is commonly referred to as a “sniper’s face veil” but was commonly used as a neckerchief by the average infantryman. Loose-knit camouflage netting approximately one foot by four feet.
Nesting mess kit. Consisting of two nesting tin-plated steel cooking dishes in UNUSED condition, both dated 1945 and broad-arrow marked.
Hair brush. Whalebone fibre bristle hairbrush, 1945 dated, broad-arrow marked.
KFS (knife-fork-spoon) set. This KFS set is marked “Richards COMPACTUM Sheffield England” but bears neither dates nor broad arrow makings. I have been told by British war veterans that these were common items but no one could seem to remember if they were issued or a local-purchase item. I suspect the latter.
Enameled tea mug. This is the standard British pattern mug. This example is not marked in any way. These were often carried with the handle being threaded through one of the closing straps of the haversack.
Signal / shaving mirror. This highly polished steel mirror is approximately three by four inches. It has a grommetted hole in the center which was used as a sighting hole for signaling, and an un-grommetted hole near one end for hanging. The mirror is marked WTL (broad arrow) 194?. The four is barely legible and the final digit is not legible at all as whomever was stamping this item did not give it enough of a whack. The mirror comes in an unmarked green pouch.
......... (Feedback by "Badger")