Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Snake-Belts (P14 and pre war)


4thGordons
 Share

Recommended Posts

In another thread I posted this picture which occasioned some discussion.

post-14525-0-60732000-1379985936_thumb.j

I had always assumed that this was a post Boer War/Pre WWI image - but it was suggested several of the men are wearing snake-buckled belts.

In GW vintage pictures the appearance of Snake Buckles on leather belts usually indicates Pattern 14 Leather Equipment (it is therefore quite useful in identifying a photo as wartime image.)

However it appears that there were several other pre war variants of belts which also had "snake buckles" including variants of the Slade Wallace Equipment and Canadian patterns.

post-14525-0-37893400-1379985692.jpg post-14525-0-98621500-1379985692_thumb.j post-14525-0-29469500-1379985693_thumb.j

In this instance I do not think these are Pattern 14 belts (I do not see the distinctive brass adjusters or the hole for adjustment)but are rather a variant of earlier "Slade-Wallace" 1888 valise equipment belts (of which there seem to be a number of patterns and variations) or possibly a Volunteer Battalion pattern. The other men appear to be wearing buff (whitened) leather belts with a metal buckle. These seem quite common in highland regiments in this period.

Looking through photos known to be pre 1914 I have found several examples which appear to show a variety of different snake-buckled belts (which do not always conform to the standard patterns)

For example this Gordon (probably a Volunteer Bn and thus pre 1908)

post-14525-0-68037000-1379986372_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In this picture of the IV Volunteer Battalion Gordons - three of the men are wearing Slade Wallace belts with circular buckles but the man on the right is wearing a snake buckle variant(see detail).

post-14525-0-76794600-1379986662_thumb.j

post-14525-0-13799600-1379986735_thumb.j

In this image too a variant of a different snake buckle belt is being worn (not Pattern 14 but what? it looks to me like the Canadian Oliver Pattern belt).

post-14525-0-00335000-1379986848_thumb.j

So it seems to me that there were some snake-buckled belts in use in the period between the Boer War and Great War which adds another wrinkle to dating pics based on the buckle!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally, here for comparison are a few Snake buckled belts I own, identified to the best of my ability for comparison.

post-14525-0-31962400-1379987271_thumb.j

I would love to hear from people with expertise and thoughts in this area and see if any order can be brought to this by way of correctly identifying the belts/patterns and general periods of usage.

Cheers

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder if that might not be Canadian? Perhaps one of the paramilitary mounted police types? The large oval tongue looks like the Canadian one as does the adjuster at one end. Yet another variant? I think I may have a brown one like it - but without the cross strap attachments.

Thanks for posting!

Chris

Edit

Here is a belt of mine that looks very similar in construction details/design of the snake etc but without the cross strap. Photos are not great because the belt is rather stiff.

This is Canadian and marked to an Ottawa maker and dated 1930!

post-14525-0-05222100-1379994971_thumb.j post-14525-0-13984300-1379994972_thumb.j post-14525-0-77715800-1379994971_thumb.j

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Chris,

The one you have shown in post #3 (top) does that have the strap buckles at the rear?, I have one that does but thought that it might have been post GW. (Home Guard??)

thanks

khaki

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you mean the black one I have marked as a Slade Wallace?

If so, yes it has three metal buckle/loops in the middle section.

The only leather belt I know of that is sometimes called a "home guard" belt is the leather " '39 pattern waistbelt" the leather version of the WWII '37 Pattern Webbing. These have two buckles on the rear like the p'37 waistbelt (and the '08 but smaller of course)

Often see these advertised as WWI belts.

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would love to hear from people with expertise and thoughts in this area and see if any order can be brought to this by way of correctly identifying the belts/patterns and general periods of usage.

Cheers

Chris

Well, and not helpfully: the snake clasp was in use - at least for cavalry - from at least 1815.

There are loads of mentions of belts with them in the List of Changes - buff ones, brown ones, black ones; ones for WOs, ones for ones for mounted services, ones for general service and so on and so on.

It would take a braver and better informed soul (or someone with a lot more time) than I to tabulate them all, so I fear your hope and query might be in vain!

Cheers,

GT.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for that, something else to look out for now.

G

Given the easy and ready availability of snake belt clasps (for example they are reproduced in large numbers for US CW reenactors), and the design of the P39 belt I would have thought that it would be difficult to ensure the belt was in original configuration. I must admit that for a while I considered doing the same (I have several p39 belts) to create the appearance of a p14 belt on a mannequin for a display.

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is quite a verity of width for snake belts. Colonial Police tend to be around 1 3/4" - 1 7/8" in width, military Rifle Brigade pattern seem to be dead on 2", whilst the 14 pattern seem to be slightly wider at 2 1/8" - 2 1/4". There is of course no hard and fast rule, but from the examples I have examined that would appear to be the range. Someone will of course have a sub 2" 14 pattern in their collection likewise a fat 2 1/4" Police belt will be around.

G

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I know next to nothing about snake belts but I recently donated a 1910 Royal Winnipeg Rifles "Little Black Devils" tunic, breeches and snake belt to a local museum. Definitely a pre-war militia belt. Cheers.

post-102874-0-63246300-1382309315_thumb.

post-102874-0-56461300-1382309408_thumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

4th Gordons,

I seem to remember seeing this photo, whether it was in the other thread or not I can't remember... On seeing this today, and looking at it in some detail, I am convinved that this is a picture of the 72nd (Seaforth) Highlanders of Canada, circa 1913. This was the first occasion that the regiment was placed on active service and was, in fact, what we call nowadays, a "domestic Op", or "Aide to the Civil Power". There was a miners' strike on Vancouver Island in 1913 (http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/vancouver-island-coal-strike) and the Seaforths were part of the Militia Contingent sent to help restore the peace. The badges worn here indicate the norm for the time with officers wearing the common Seaforth stag while the ORs wear the 72nd badge that has been discussed before. As for the belts, buff belts figure prominently in period photos worn with service dress and the proliferation of differing buckles and equipment is consistant with field kit of the time in the unit.

Here are some other pictures of other companies serving on this deployment...

misc208_zps6ea76ae6.jpg

misc272_zpsca4dae76.jpg

2005_1203Misc20056_zps60f47983.jpg

I know that this is not truely "snake-belt" centric, but should give some background in this context.

Cheers,

Rob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know next to nothing about snake belts but I recently donated a 1910 Royal Winnipeg Rifles "Little Black Devils" tunic, breeches and snake belt to a local museum. Definitely a pre-war militia belt. Cheers.

I am curious as to how you have identified this as "Definitely a pre-war militia belt". Also, even though it isn't in your possesion anymore, it's probably worth pointing out that someone has reassembled it very strangely at some time (eg the size adjusting buckle is on inside-out, the prong should go from inside to ouside).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hello Andrew,

I should have expanded on my original post. The curator of the museum that received the donated tunic, breeches and belt confirmed the authenticity of the ensemble, although he didn't mention the improper set up of the belt. I would certain be interested in any thoughts on the belt from other members more familiar with pre war snake belts. Perhaps the curator is wrong and so am i.

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hello Andrew,

I should have expanded on my original post. The curator of the museum that received the donated tunic, breeches and belt confirmed the authenticity of the ensemble, although he didn't mention the improper set up of the belt. I would certain be interested in any thoughts on the belt from other members more familiar with pre war snake belts. Perhaps the curator is wrong and so am i.

Cheers

I ask as from the pictures available that would appear to be a fairly standard British Police belt of the early part of the 20th century. This could of course simply be an identically patterned item used by the militia at some point, but I would be sceptical of that explanation. The easiest way to tell would be to see what markings it had - Police belts usually carry issue markings to the rear of the leather piece behind the buckle, such as the constables Division letter and number (eg C123), or more general force markings (the Metropolitan Police used the letters MP either surmounted by or either side of a crown). A surviving makers mark of Hobsons (who did make military equipment, but are probably better known for supplying Police equipment) would be further indication.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I ask as from the pictures available that would appear to be a fairly standard British Police belt of the early part of the 20th century. This could of course simply be an identically patterned item used by the militia at some point, but I would be sceptical of that explanation. The easiest way to tell would be to see what markings it had - Police belts usually carry issue markings to the rear of the leather piece behind the buckle, such as the constables Division letter and number (eg C123), or more general force markings (the Metropolitan Police used the letters MP either surmounted by or either side of a crown). A surviving makers mark of Hobsons (who did make military equipment, but are probably better known for supplying Police equipment) would be further indication.

Hello Andrew,

indeed, the belt is not pre-war. In fact, after another more thorough look, the museum curator has suggested that it is probably a police issued belt from as late as the early 1950's. cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bear in mind a Militia buckle would not be chrome, and the one pictured is obviously chrome.

Chromium plating wasn't a cost-effective alternative to nickel plating until well into the 1920's.

A snake buckle in white-metal, or nickel plate, is obviosuly going to be earlier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

I am looking for a snake buckle for a Hugh Carson 1913 Ottawa pre ww1 leather belt.

The belt is nice but really need a buckle. Any thoughts on where I can find one?

 

IMG_0352.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Rhino said:

I am looking for a snake buckle for a Hugh Carson 1913 Ottawa pre ww1 leather belt.

The belt is nice but really need a buckle. Any thoughts on where I can find one?

 

If you search the militaria catagory on eBay (US) for "Snake Buckle" lots of different ones come up including quite a number of Canadian ones and various US CW repros

What Price Glory also make a repro Oliver Pattern belt which has a snake buckle on it.

Chris

Edited by 4thGordons
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To cast another stone...  In the 1960's I seem to remember that snake belt buckles used in the American Civil War just had to be Confederate, run from the UK by blockade runners.  Later photos of Massachusetts soldiers wearing snake belts were published, and they were thought to have been former members of the state militia.  I will let the US belt-plate collectors finish this thought.

Ken 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Three of mine, little known,   (top) believed to be Canadian, (center), New Zealand cadet forces (cotton), (lower) 39 pattern? (named), opinions appreciated,

thanks khaki

 

 

0220170501.jpg

Edited by Khaki
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/4/2017 at 21:26, new3.2 said:

To cast another stone...  In the 1960's I seem to remember that snake belt buckles used in the American Civil War just had to be Confederate, run from the UK by blockade runners.  Later photos of Massachusetts soldiers wearing snake belts were published, and they were thought to have been former members of the state militia.  I will let the US belt-plate collectors finish this thought.

Ken 

Hello, Ken - I read somewhere that the Massachusetts soldiers that were photographed wearing belts with British "snake" buckles were issued those belts/buckles from the cargo of a captured blockade runner.  If so, the cargo of the captured blockade runner would have been auctioned and probably purchased by the state of Massachusetts.  Just speculation...  Regards, Torrey

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...