The regular British Army used webbing anklets throughout the Second World War. When the Home Guard was formed it was clear they would need something similar, however webbing production was stretched and there was not sufficient capacity to rapidly equip this new force in the quantities needed. As it did so often, the government turned to the leather industry to fill the gap; this industry having the spare capacity and skills necessary to produce leather anklets. By 13th August 1940 stocks of the anklets were ready and these started being distributed to units on 28th August. Production was very rapid with a quarter of a million pairs issued by the 3rd September and by January 1941 1.6 million pairs were produced and distributed.
The leather anklets were clearly an almost direct copy of the army webbing design:There were however manufacturing differences as seen on this ‘pair’ which are not actually a pair as they show differing construction methods. Both are made from an artificially grained leather, a deep brown in colour:As first issued these anklets would have been very light in colour, but this was found, via exercises with the RAF, to be impracticable in the field. Some companies, especially those with Rifle Regiment parent units, dyed their anklets black and at least one unit dyed them sage green! Officially however they were to be brown and the 7th Herts received orders belts and anklets should be darkened to a medium brown colour. The anklets themselves were supplied in three different sizes to fit different leg sizes.
These anklets have the same brass buckles to fasten them as webbing anklets, however one pair has them secured by a combination of stitching and a single brass rivet:The other just uses brass rivets:Both sets have leather straps attached to the main body of the anklet but again one is sewn:Whilst the other is riveted:Despite these differences I suspect no one much minded when they were issued a pair how they had been made, and this set looks to have been together a long time as they both have considerable deformation along the bottom edge from wear:Stocks of both leather and webbing anklets were supplied to Home Guard units depending on supply, generally speaking units seem to have issued officers with web anklets and other ranks with leather ones, here members of the Broadway Home Guard can be seen wearing the leather anklets: