For those of you not familiar with big World War Two events, don’t go there expecting to find bargains- they are few and far between. However with dealers from around the country they are ideal to find specific items you need to fill in gaps in your collection. They might not be cheap, but its much more likely you will find that elusive item than at a second hand market. I went to Victory show looking for two things- I didn’t find one (Bren magazines cheap enough to warrant buying 12 to fill out last weeks box), but although not exactly what I wanted I did find something suitable for the other (improving my RAF 25 Pattern) as well as a couple of other nice bits:
Indian Large Pack
This rather nice large pack is Indian made and helps add another piece to the set of Indian 37 pattern I am putting together:
The large pack was a hangover form the earlier WW1 era 08 pattern webbing and was used to hold large items of kit such as the greatcoat and the blanket. It was not taken onto the battlefield and most large packs were left with unit transport. This one isn’t marked, but has the distinctive look and feel of Indian webbing- its a lot softer and floppier than other commonwealth webbing and has quite a distinctive almost ‘striped’ appearance. On the rear there are the faint traces of a name and green blanco, now virtually all gone:
The giveaway for Indian webbing though is that sometimes (but not always) the brass fittings have a date stamp on the back of them. As far as I’m aware India was the only country that actually stamped its buckles. This example is dated 1942:
Canadian 37 Pattern Brace Attachment
One thing I did go looking for was a blue-grey RAF 25 or 37 pattern brace attachment, to replace the green army one that has been standing in on my 25 pattern set for the last few months. For an item of webbing that no one wants, they are surprisingly hard to track down and the only example I could find was a Canadian one, which is wrong for 25 pattern webbing, but indistinguishable from the correct one when worn as part of a set. The Canadians designed their brace attachments with a distinctive one piece brass section for attaching to the belt rather than the more typical design used by the rest of the Empire with a rectangle and moving bar (see Karkee Web for more information on the standard pattern).On the reverse, under the RAF blanco, is the faint trace of the Canadian acceptance stamp of a /|\ in side a ‘C’ (trust me its there and clearer on the actual item)
Throughout the war the British Army used dubbin both as a waterproofing agent for boots and as part of the anti-gas equipment. It was issued to troops in small tins and carried in the entrenching tool cover. I have a couple of the standard green tins of dubbin, but this is a variant I haven’t got. Unfortunately the tin is a little battered, but it will fill a hole in my collection until a better one comes along. Like most of these tins, the contents are complete and unused, with the thick grease still inside and still as useful as the day it was made.