Karkee Web: British & Empire Accoutrements and Personal Equipment of the Twentieth Century

Contributors' Collections: Dave George

Dave George is an Australian writer and collector. He has this to say about himself:

A brief note about my collecting interests relating to the Anglo-Boer War: In addition to the "carved" rifles & carbines, I am also a collector of the campaign service medals for that campaign as well as rifles & bayonets...and of course bandoliers that were carried by both the Boers and the British & Colonial troops. My particular interest in that campaign, are the thousands of Boer rifles that have names 'carved' onto the stocks (this Boer custom was also copied by many Colonial troops). The result of my collecting and research, has resulted in two books that I privately published - titled "CARVINGS from the VELDT" (Part One = 140 pages and Part Two = 350 pages). These are 'pictorial histories' and feature more than 1,700 photos in both books (mostly in glossy colour). In addition to photos and histories about the 'carved' rifles and carbines etc, both books feature a good selection of bandoliers, as well as unit badges worn by the various units as well as Boer ZAR and OVS artillery units etc. It so happens that another of the NSW bandoliers that Iain wrote to you about (see it HERE on Iain Davidson's page), is actually featured in my "Part Two" book. All I could offer was a caption that stated that this type was worn by some of the NSW troops. For more information, visit my website: www.boerwarcarvings.bravehost.com.

All photographs on this page are © Dave George 2012.


Mystery 'large calibre' Bandolier (50 Rounds)

frontGreetings from "Down Under" ! A fellow militaria collector (Iain Davidson in NZ ) wrote to me a few months ago, along with photos of his NSW Pattern bandolier & straps - as worn during the Anglo-Boer War. Iain wrote to you as well, and has suggested that I 'bounce' this question off of you group of experts. Firstly, I am no authority on bandoliers, and have never claimed to be one...(although I do have several types). However, my particular interest covers 'carved' rifles used during the Anglo-Boer War, and this of course also brings me into contact with the bandoliers used by both sides. I am sending you pics of my "mystery" bandolier. Similar to the NSW Boer War model bandolier that Iain has, nobody (to date) can tell me anything about the one that I picked up some years ago. It remains a mystery...and I am hopeful that you, or some of your members / readers may have seen something similar before, and may be able to assist in identifying this model ?


det 6markI have done as much research as possible - even contacted the local Moree Historical Society (a small town in inland New South Wales, Australia), and have established that Alf Sadlier was a saddler in Moree - he had his own shop from around 1930 to 1965. This covers the WW2 period. (Alf was born to German immigrants, and served his apprenticeship as a saddler). I have seen photos of his saddles. The photos of his saddles all bear the same makers stamp - as can be seen on this bandolier. Part of the 'mystery' is that there are three very clear "Broad Arrow" stamps on the leather - both on the front and reverse sides (see photo).



You will see that there are two rows of spring steel 'clips' to retain the large calibre cartridges. The problem in trying to 'date' this bandolier, is the large size of the large cartridges (fits .577" Snider perfectly) ...and one wonders why the military (between say 1930 and 1965) would want either .577 Snider, or 20 gauge shotgun bandoliers !!?? By that date (1930 - 1965) the Snider was well and truly obsolete ! Possible "Clues":

a) It has been suggested that a small local government department gave a small order to Alf Saddler, and that the bandoliers were used loically....but why the 'government' "Broad Arrow" stamp ? Evidently there was a big 'wild pig epidemic' in the 1950-1960 period, and 'possibly' these bandoliers were made to give to hunters to go out and cull the pests ?

b) Having contacted an old saddler who knew Alf Saddler, it came to light that Alf Saddler's son was a keen member of a local Light Horse Troop. Could he have 'abused' the use of the Broad Arrow stamp ? (I tend to think not...why would he 'tarnish' the name of his employer ?).

c) I spoke to an ex-WW2 veteran who was trained and sent to a small unit in far north Australian in eartly 1942. This was due to an expected and imminent invasion by the Japanese. These men were taught to 'live off the land' in small and very isolated positions along that extremely long coastline. In addition to their .303" Lee-Enfield rifles, he told me that they were also provided with .22" rifles, as well as 12 gauge shotguns (he said 12 gauge...NOT 20 gauge). These were used to shoot birds as well as kangaroos, buffalo, crocs etc. (and any Japs found at 'close quarters !). The veteran said they had bandoliers, but could not remember any specific details. Could Alf Saddlier have been commissioned to supply these men ? Anyway...enough 'waffle'. I would be grateful if you would let me know if you have any clues.

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The truth is, we here at KW haven't any more information to offer than Dave has. We have plenty of theories, of course, but no hard facts. So we are once again throwing the question out to you readers - Who can tell us anything about the history of this Bandolier?