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Remembered Today:

BRIT HOB NAIL BOOTS PATTERNS


bkristof
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What types of hobnails are allowed? What were the normal patterns?

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Guest Chip Minx

bkristof,

I am not sure what was allowed, but there are two very good pictures of British WWI ankle boots in the November 1986 edition of Militaria Magazine. They show two issue varieties with the bottoms of each well displayed. Both have metal "horseshoe" heels, toe taps and hobnails. Both have 8 hobnails on the toe, right behind the toe tap. The number of hobnails on the heels are not the same, however, with one having 14 and the other 9. The hobnails appear to be of a different pattern.

Chip

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Kristof

Please find attached picture of Hob Nail

John

post-23-1092169088.jpg

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hi john,

long time no hear.

it is not the nail itself, but how to place them in the sole, the pattern you make with them.

I found some pics, but all seem to be different. <_<

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bkristof,

I have been watching the forum some time, but I finally have some time to spare for posting (university long vac.). So here goes:

There were no hard and fast rules on the distribution of hobnails, each contractor or regimental cobbler could pretty much get away with what they thought was best. Earlier in the war hobnails were normally arranged in four rows lengthways on the sole, each with 10 or so nails, and in two lines lengthways on the heel. Later, the number of hobnails was reduced, presumably for economy, until boots are seen with only 6 - 8 nails clustered at the toe (this is not a special feature for wear with the stirrup, but simple war expediency). They could also be issued completely un-studded, with only the smaller nails acting to slow wear. However, to my knowledge they were always given heel and toe plates.

Below is a photo of my B5s, showing the nail arrangement. These were presumably re-soled in France, as they use French hobnails, back plate and the curious French pattern of leaving the area under the big toe blank. By the end of the war the army had established a boot factory near Calais, churning out 30,000 new pairs a week and repairing worn ones. My pair must either have gone to the local cobbler, or through Calais, so just about any pattern you want is permissable. Next to the B5s is an Officer's 'Norwegian' boot, showing the standard heel shoe (as I say, the heel plate on mine is a French replacement).

Hope this is of some help,

Richard

'A feature of Calais was the boot-repair factory, the largest organisation in the whole world of boot-making. Starting in September 1915 with a staff of 180 boot-makers and an output of 350 pairs a week, the number, including German operatives, increased by 1917 to over 800 with a weekly output of 30,000. Many of the operations, such as resoling and renewing eyelets, were effected by machinery, and French and Belgian women were employed in sorting out and pairing loose boots and in cleaning and oiling....Altogether some four million pairs of boots were made servicable between the two base workshops.'

Extract from 'A History of the Army Ordnance Services', Maj. Gen. A. Forbes, Vol. III, The Great war, pub. 1929.

post-23-1092268696.jpg

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Guest Chip Minx

RMAMarshall,

30,000 pairs per week and I have been looking for some for nearly forty years! Got everything but the darn boots. When I set my outfit up I have to use my WWI Aussie boots (kangaroo hide they tell me). Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to have those and a complete Digger outfit, but Brit boots would be great to have.

I hope I find a pair in my lifetime!

Chip

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bkristof

I have a pair issued to a Canadian very simmilar in lay out to the ones pictured I got mine in a trade with a local legion whom had two pairs on a shelf collecting dust. The only difference in mine is they have larger hobnails which are heavly worn and there were never any toe caps. Both pairs belonged to a man serving in the Nova Scotia Depot Battalion mine are dated 1917.

Chip

You are right they are a tought one to find I have only seen two other pairs for sale. One pair had the toes missing from the boot for 400 U.S. and the other pair went for about 1200 U.S. on Ebay but were rather nice. they have to be one of the toughest peices of British kit to find.

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Sorry I cannot help with hobnails, Kristof; but to continue the bootmaking theme, I have just come across this from one of my old notebooks. It is dated 16 Sept 1915, and may be from The Times (probably, but sorry I cannot be certain):

At Cordwainers Hall last night, Mr Roland Gorbald of Northampton spoke on 'The Making of an Army Boot'. At the outbreak of war the army had been served with a wholly hand-sewn boot...problems expanding production by that method...the French, ahead of the game, had placed an order in Northampton for for 3 million pairs of machine-made boots...British authorities consulted on design for new machine-made boot...Chrome tanning replaced vegetable tan = leather produced in one month instead of a year.

60,000 pairs produced per day, more than could be produced in a week before the war. Orders included 600K for Serbia...

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Guest Chip Minx

A request had come from this string to see my Aussie boots. Even though they have nothing to do with the original question, here they are. The laces are, of course, not original and the soles were replaced with plain leather at some point. No hobnails.

Chip

post-23-1093226594.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Kristof

At last I have managed to find a photo with the c orrect layout of the studs in the soles of the boots. It has 13 studs in the sole.

John

How were the Medical Instruments?

post-23-1097429038.jpg

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Excellent, didn't you recieved my thanking mail???

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