Web Infantry Equipment, Pattern 1937

Entrenching tools, Patterns 1939 & 1937

Stores Ref. J1/JA 5404 Implement, entrenching, 1939 Pattern

frontrearIn consequence of the 1923 decision, the new Pattern 1937 Web Equipment had made no provision for an intrenching tool. When the need became apparent, it seems that the War Office selected an off-the-shelf design, which they termed the French Pattern, though it was actually a Linneman Tool variant. Despite its Germanic sounding name, it had been designed by an officer in the Danish Army. L. of C. §B3288 was approved on 25 January 1940, introducing the Implement, entrenching, 1939 Pattern – the spelling now using an “e”. Note that the tool was coded in V.A.O.S. Section J1, Camp Equipment.

The Linneman Tool was a short-handled spade and the Patt. ’39 version was very sturdy, but it could not function as either a pick-axe, or mattock – a distinct drawback in all but light soils! Contemporary photographs show the tool being worn on both hips. When on the right, it was underneath the Water bottle carrier, both components attached to the same Brace ends. When A.C.I. 2339/1941 re-introduced the Patt. ’08 Tool, the Patt. ’39 was relegated to a training store, held in Training Centres and Officer Cadet Training Units. L. of C. §B5409, approved 22 July, 1941 first made it obsolescent and L. of C. §C2844, approved on 9 January, 1947, finally made the Patt. ’39 Tool obsolete. The example shown here is maker marked "JOHN PERKS" and dated 1940. From the Allen Prior Collection, photos © Allen Prior 2009.


Stores Ref. J1/JA 5405 Implement, entrenching, Patt. ’08, head, Mark II
Stores Ref. J1/JA 5406 Implement, entrenching, Patt. ’08, helve

frontrearAlthough no documentary evidence has been found, it must be assumed that some sort of experiment, or trial took place and in 1940. The results of this were to make the Patt. ’39 Tool obsolescent and to re-introduce the Patt. ’08 Tool. It is presented here with its “Patt. ‘08” nomenclature, which would shortly be changed. In theory, no Patt. ’08 Tools existed, having been made obsolete in 1923. This example, made by PERKS, is an early example, dated 1941. From the Graham Priest Collection. Photographs © Graham Priest 2009.




Stores Ref. J1/JA 5405 Implement, entrenching, Patt. ’37, head
Stores Ref. J1/JA 5406 Implement, entrenching, Patt. ’37, helve
Stores Ref. J1/JA 6022 Implement, entrenching, Patt. ’37, helve, Mark II, complete with bayonet adaptor

frontrearhelve_145L. of C. §B5409 re-introduced the old Patt. ’08 Tool, specifically its Mark II form, with an amended nomenclature of “Patt. ‘37” – even though it was now 1941 and it had not existed in 1937. The Helves, left in natural wood on the Patt. ’08 original, were sometimes painted khaki-green. Some had a drilled hole for a wrist cord. This was for the Helve’s secondary and un-designated role – as a truncheon, carried by those on guard duties, as a lighter form of the norm, which was a pickaxe handle. A.C.I. 976/1944 authorised a modification to the Helve, which was now to have a metal replica of the No. 4 Rifle barrel on its narrow end. This Adaptor, coded J1/JA 6023, allowed the No. 4 Bayonet to be attached, so that it could be used to prod the ground for land-mines. The Stores Code was accordingly changed and a new nomenclature of “Mark II” assigned. The Tool shown here is maker marked "CHILLINGTON" and dated 1942. The Mk. I Helve (centre left) is not maker marked and is undated, while the Mk. II Helve (near left) is maker marked "G.W.T." and dated 1945.


Stores Ref. J1/JA 5405 Tool, entrenching, Mk. 1, head
Stores Ref. J1/JA 6022 Tool, entrenching, Mk. 1, helves, Mk. 2, complete with bayonet adaptor

det 1det 2det 3In 1954, L. of C. §C6024, introduced the Tool, entrenching, Mk. 2, which meant the Patt. ’37 Tool was re-designated to a prosaic “Mark 1”, Arabic numbering having replaced the Roman form. In hindsight, this placed two instances of “Mk.” in a single nomenclature – hardly ideal. It would have been far better to have allocated “Number 1”. The L. of C. did not state that the Mark 2 was to supersede the old Mark 1, but In the event, the Mk 1 Tool outlasted the Mark 2. The pictures left show the same Mk. II Helve shown above, with a Bayonet, No. 4 Mk. II*.




Stores Ref. J1/JA 5856 Tool, entrenching, Mk. 2

mk ii 1mk ii 2Whilst this is not relevant to an account of Patt. ’37 W.E., no details are known. We would therefore welcome any additional information. It was described as a “…Combined pick and shovel, with handle...” and added that it “…can be adjusted to various positions…”, the description sounding very like the U.S. M-1951. At the time, protracted trials of various Web Equipments were being conducted and several of these depict an unknown entrenching tool, which corresponds to an M-1951 “E.Tool”, and the rounded pan is very “shovel” shaped. The shaped Carrier is obviously not designed to mate with Patt. ’37 W.E., being dark green, or S.C.C. 19 (Standard Colour Chart) and of lightweight webbing, as used on Patt. ’44 W.E..