1908 Pattern Webbing Equipment for Sale
A few years before the war broke out, the British Army began working with the Mills Equipment Company on a new design of webbing. The brief called for a tightly woven cotton webbing, similar to that being used by the US Army. It had to be both durable and practical at the same time. Following trials, one particular type was adopted for issue by the British Army in late 1907 and thereafter it became known as the 1908 pattern.
For the collector trying to buy a full set it can be quite expensive and some items are not readily available. However it is quite easy to build up a set slowly by buying the individual pieces separately, creating a full set over time. Today we take a look at some elements of British 1908 pattern webbing equipment for sale currently on the web.
The individual webbing components that make up the 1908 set are as follows:
- 1 x belt
- 2 x braces
- 2 x cartridge pouch sets
- 1 x bayonet frog
- 1 x water bottle and carrier
- 1 x haversack
- 2 x valise straps
- 1 x valise
- 1 x entrenching tool carrier
A basic 1908 pouch and belt set
Below is a set of the basic elements you will need to start a 1908 equipment set. It comprises a left and right canvas ammunition pouch, the long canvas shoulder straps and a main belt through which the straps and pouches are fastened. This belt is dated 1919 and it has a Mills Co. maker’s mark stamped onto the inside edge of the belt. As a part set or when it was fully assembled, the webbing could be carried as a one-piece group and taken on and off in a similar way to a jacket.
This set is available from Battleflag Militaria in the UK for £395.
1908-pattern waist belt
If you want to start a 1908 pattern webbing set, then the first item you will need is a belt. The 1908 belts are distinctive because they have long fastening straps hanging from brass loops on the back. This one is in good condition and has some maker’s markings on the inside and the brass fittings are in good order. It is available from the Collector’s Guild in the USA. $145.
1908-pattern water bottle and carrier
All of the items together combined to create a potential weight of around 114 pounds (50kg). And that is before the soldier even picked up his rifle, grenades, wire cutters, maps etc. The water bottle was hung from the rear straps on the ’08 belt. Each soldier would carry a water bottle every day – either whilst they were at the front line or when resting. This example is for sale from CS Militaria in the UK, priced at £295.
Also available from CSMilitaria is this pair of 1908-pattern cross straps. One of them is dated 1916 and the other 1918. They were an essential part of the 1908 pattern set as they allow the webbing to be worn over the shoulders and support all the additional pieces of equipment. These particular ones are priced at £40 for the two.
If any of the pieces you buy are dirty or just not completely matching, they can be washed and restored using a dry block of khaki powder called Blanco. It creates a paste type substance when mixed with water. Once painted onto the webbing and then brushed clean, you will end up with a complete matching set of khaki-coloured webbing.
A 1908 pattern small pack
Other items that could be carried alongside the webbing equipment included a bayonet, entrenching tool and 150 rounds of ammunition. The gas mask was worn on the chest in a canvas bag. Then there would also be any personal items that the soldier would need for washing, food, his eating utensils etc. and they could be carried in a side bag or small pack.
The small pack was an essential part of the 1908 equipment. It is a very versatile piece of webbing, so if you’re collecting a British WW1 soldier’s gear, it is a must. This example has some combat wear and tear which gives it character. It is dated 1917 and is in overall good shape. It is for sale from Battleflag Militaria in the UK for £65.
Rare Australian pattern 1908 leather webbing
We just wanted to throw this one in as a wild card to prove that not all WW1 1908 pattern webbing was produced in canvas. This rare pair of pouches was made in Australia from a light tan leather. They have the word ‘Australia’ stamped into them and have a distinctive riveted construction. These pouches are available from Regimentals in the UK priced at £425.
Here is another Article you might like : WW1 Imperial Belt Buckles
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