Web Equipment, Officers. With brass fittings



plepsDocumentation for this previously unknown variation of accoutrements was discovered by veteran Karkee Web Research Team member Carl Woods, in the 1920 Price List of Emergency Stores. This unusual document was an addendum to the PVOS (Priced Vocabulary of Stores), and amounted to a post-war "tidying-up" of the PVOS, adding many (but certainly not all!) of the Great War NIV (Not in Vocabulary) items to the priced stores lists.

Only four items are listed, all of which are noted as fitted "with swivel hooks." This suggests that these items are web versions of items designed to be used with Sam Browne equipment, or perhaps Web Equipment, Officers, Experimental, both of which are equipped with dee rings to match the swivels. KW have as yet been able to identify only two items that seem to match the descriptions in this document. These are shown below, although it should be noted that the associations of these particular pieces with this equipment are conjectural only, and certainly open to reevaluation. We'd be delighted if one of our readers can supply more information, or photographs.


Carriers, waterbottle with swivel hooks

indiaa bottleVery similar to the leather carriers, with dog clips, designed for Sam Browne equipment. What may be an example of this Carrier is illustrated, with the aluminium India Pattern Bottle that was described in the 1900 Dress Regulations. The dog clips suggest this was not a Mills product, as they later used their own design of “levered snap hook” in the post-war upgraded form. From the Paul Hannon Collection, photograph © Paul Hannon 2010.




Carriers, haversacks with swivel hooks

frontrearThe terminology here is interesting. If the item we show here is correct, one would expect the description to read simply "Haversacks with swivel hooks." Adding the word "Carriers" suggests the possibility that this was some sort of fitment that adapted another Haversack, possibly the Patt. '08 Haversack, or the Other Services Haversack, to fit the dees of a Sam Browne Belt (or the web Belt used in W.E.O.). Shortly before WWII, M.E. Co. would do something similar when they introduced a Carrier for the first issue of the Patt. '37 Binocular case, which lacked any means of suspending it from the Brace ends. On the other hand, if the description refers to the Haversack itself, then this seems to be a very likely candidate. From the John Bodsworth Collection, photographs © John Bodsworth 2010.




rsack frontrsack rearAlpine Rucksacks of construction similar to this are often seen being carried by officers in WWI photographs. This particular example has swivels on the shoulder straps, and although the strap end tabs are steel, the rest of the fittings are brass. The body is of fairly light canvas, with web straps, two pockets on the outside, and a double interior pouch. It's large, though, at 65 cm wide x 44 cm tall, and even though it is made of canvas it is quite heavy. It seems a good candidate for the type of Rucksack described in the PVOS entry. Also as described in the PVOS, the rear Straps are detachable, and are described below. This Rucksack is maker marked "Thomas French & Sons, London", and is dated 1918. It also has a broad arrow over "9" inspection stamp. From the Karkee Web Collection, photographs © Karkee Web 2010.


buckle detaildetail pocketThe detail far left shows the way the strap is attached to the bottom of the Rucksack. The connection uses a standard 2-inch Twigg buckle, mounted on a short strap of 2-inch web, articulated so that it can fit to the wearer's torso. Near left, this detail shows the large double pocket inside the Rucksack. This pocket is made of coarse linen, closed by two steel crown fasteners.




Straps, rucksack

rsack strapsThe Rucksack straps are standard weight 2-inch web straps with eyeletted steel tabs on one end. A narrow web sliding loop is located near the tabbed end. The other end of the Strap is simply folded and sewn. A short 1-inch web chape, fitted with a brass dee and swivel, is sewn to the outside of the Strap near the plain end. The Straps are not marked.