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1937 Pattern - British Webbing Set
1937 Pattern - WWII British Soldier's Webbing Set

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.

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1937 pattern canvas webbing set used by the British Forces in WWII, complete with typical war-time contents on a waist belt with cross straps

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1937 pattern canvas webbing set used by the British Forces in WWII, complete with typical war-time contents on a waist belt with cross straps

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1937 pattern canvas webbing set used by the British Forces in WWII, complete with typical war-time contents on a waist belt with cross straps

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Entrenching Tool with cover

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Entrenching Tool with cover

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Entrenching Tool with cover

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Entrenching Tool Head inside cover

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Entrenching Tool inside cover broad arrow marked with "M.E.Co" and dated 1943

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Entrenching Tool Head and cover

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Entrenching Tool Helve & Head assembled together

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Entrenching Tool Helve & Head assembled together

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Entrenching Tool Helve & Head assembled together

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Entrenching Tool Helve & Head assembled together

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Entrenching Tool Helve and Head

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Entrenching Tool Head - broad arrow marked and dated 1945 with "BRADES"

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Entrenching Tool Head - broad arrow marked and dated 1945 with "BRADES"

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Entrenching Tool Head - broad arrow marked and dated 1945 with "BRADES"

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Entrenching Tool Helve

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Entrenching Tool - Helve end opposite Head has metal adapter (bayonet lug) to accept spike bayonet

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Entrenching Tool - Helve end that attaches to the Head

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Entrenching Tool Helve - broad arrow marked and dated 1945

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Entrenching Tool Helve - broad arrow marked and dated 1945

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Entrenching Tool - Helve and No.4 Mk II spike bayonet

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Entrenching Tool - Helve and No.4 Mk II spike bayonet

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