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DapperDave

Webbing kit and rolled item. What is it?

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DapperDave

Hi everyone, 

I'm hoping one of you may have more information. For a while now I've wondered what the rolled items are that are often strapped to the bottom of the small '08 pack. As I type this my own guesses are a blanket, a poncho or the soldier's holdall roll. I'm guessing that whatever item was held there was strapped to the pack with the small auxiliary '08 straps. 

 

What is/are the rolled item(s)? I've included two period photos and one of my own original kit with red dots to indicate where I mean. 

 

Thanks everyone!

 

- Dave

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2993cd9e-e5f8-4576-b038-d63fd7e66c12.png

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Torrey McLean

Hello, Dave - I would guess that a poncho usually would be carried in that position.  Regards, Torrey

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Pete_C

Hi Dave

They are rubberised canvas  groundsheets - almost certainly Mk V or VI - rolled up and held in place by one or two of the pack support straps. Sometimes they contained a rolled up cardigan. When carried with marching order they were generally folded and fastened under the pack flap. 

Cheers

Pete

Edited by Pete_C

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Chasemuseum

The loop at the base of the back pack is a guide loop for the 1-inch x 32-inch straps that cross the outside of the pack. These were an essential part of the Mills-Burrows design, as the straps buckled to the 1-inch extension straps extending from the 5-pocket ammunition pouch and served the purpose of holding the lower end of the pack against the body and assisting in the distribution of the weight of the equipment to reduce fatigue to the soldier.

 

Certainly these loops became a useful attachment point for additional rolled equipment but this is not discussed in the fitting instructions issued for the equipment.  If you have not had a look Karkee Web is a great resource on this subject.

Cheers

Ross

 

http://karkeeweb.com/1908main.html  

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Pete_C

A few shots that better illustrate the typical ways the groundsheet was carried. First photo shows stowage under the pack flap when carried with Marching Order configuration.  The other photos show the Fighting Order method with the groundsheet attached to the waist belt using a single or both pack support straps. 

Cheers

 

Pete

 

 

 

 

 

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0AA0ED5B-A421-4AAE-9E4B-CC98EAF3DB00.jpeg

Edited by Pete_C

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calibre792x57.y

Back in the late Eighties I was walking along a road in the Guedecourt area; the interest being that the edges of the road were being cleared back by a road crew.  Out of the bank rolled a mass of straps and pouches and pack which on examination proved to be a complete set of Patt '14 equipment in fighting order c/w bayonet and pouches.  One bundle turned out to be a rolled up groundsheet which still contained a heavy wool cardigan and a leather jerkin..  The articles were in remarkable condition considering the length of time they had been buried.  I would think that this set had been dumped by someone dealing with a casualty.  It was however the proof that the cardigans were normally carried like this in fighting order.  These were later collected and ended up with Dominic Zanardi!!.  The ground sheet when unfolded was in good condition.  - SW

Edited by calibre792x57.y
memory improving

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DapperDave
On 10/08/2018 at 12:53, Torrey McLean said:

Hello, Dave - I would guess that a poncho usually would be carried in that position.  Regards, Torrey

 

Thank you, Torrey. That was my guess as well. Now if only I had the lucky to find an original poncho!

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DapperDave
On 10/08/2018 at 14:12, Pete_C said:

Hi Dave

They are rubberised canvas  groundsheets - almost certainly Mk V or VI - rolled up and held in place by one or two of the pack support straps. Sometimes they contained a rolled up cardigan. When carried with marching order they were generally folded and fastened under the pack flap. 

Cheers

Pete

 

Hi Pete. Another elusive item! I don't think I've ever seen an original rubberized groundsheet. I had no idea that these items were attached to the belt and not the bottom of the pack. Makes more sense actually. Thanks for your help. 

Edited by DapperDave

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DapperDave
15 hours ago, Chasemuseum said:

The loop at the base of the back pack is a guide loop for the 1-inch x 32-inch straps that cross the outside of the pack. These were an essential part of the Mills-Burrows design, as the straps buckled to the 1-inch extension straps extending from the 5-pocket ammunition pouch and served the purpose of holding the lower end of the pack against the body and assisting in the distribution of the weight of the equipment to reduce fatigue to the soldier.

 

Certainly these loops became a useful attachment point for additional rolled equipment but this is not discussed in the fitting instructions issued for the equipment.  If you have not had a look Karkee Web is a great resource on this subject.

Cheers

Ross

 

http://karkeeweb.com/1908main.html  

Thank you for the link, Ross. I'm fairly close to putting together an entirely original kit after several years of collecting. Actually, while I think of it, do you know if there is a 'for sale' section or page on the forum for buying and selling items? Still on the lookout. Thanks again!

 

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DapperDave
5 hours ago, calibre792x57.y said:

Back in the late Eighties I was walking along a road in the Guedecourt area; the interest being that the edges of the road were being cleared back by a road crew.  Out of the bank rolled a mass of straps and pouches and pack which on examination proved to be a complete set of Patt '14 equipment in fighting order c/w bayonet and pouches.  One bundle turned out to be a rolled up groundsheet which still contained a heavy wool cardigan and a leather jerkin..  The articles were in remarkable condition considering the length of time they had been buried.  I would think that this set had been dumped by someone dealing with a casualty.  It was however the proof that the cardigans were normally carried like this in fighting order.  These were later collected and ended up with Dominic Zanardi!!.  The ground sheet when unfolded was in good condition.  - SW

 

SW, what a story. I'm planning some overseas trips and I hope that I trip over an old button or something. That's pretty amazing!

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calibre792x57.y

Such finds were not rare at that time.  In 1980 I was shown a Prussian waist belt with two M.1909 cartridge pouches.  The cartridges and chargers were still in place and in remarkable condition, as was the Prussian buckle.  Only the back segment of the belt was missing, presumably rotted through.  The whole having just been unearthed by a digger during the laying of a pipeline across the battle field, just off the Albert - Bapaume road near la Boiselle.   Not far away road improvements later dug up a complete sledge mount for the MG '08. - SW

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DapperDave

Hi SW,

I didn't see that you had made this reply as well. I'm sorry for my delay. Are you a collector? That find in 1980 must have been a sight to see. I wasn't even alive yet, but my hope is to travel around to non-battlefield locations in hopes of finding a cartridge casing or some buttons that the French and Belgian farmers have churned up over the years. My real goal is to travel to Crimea and to South Africa for the same reasons. I was unfortunately born and grew up long after the heyday when obtaining the good stuff was easy. 

 

Best,

- Dave

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calibre792x57.y

Dave; well back then one would could find many such - a local farmer, a friend of mine, was walking along Wagon Road at Beaumont Hamel when he noticed that ditch cleaning had uncovered two British helmets.  When he lifted them skulls were revealed and other remnants. One was a Lieutenant but wearing an O/Rs tunic with a KOYLI shoulder title.  There was his officer's sidepack which still contained an electric torch and a trench map and pencil.  He had a loaded Colt New Service 0.455 in. revolver in a leather pistol case and a wrist watch and a pipe.  The other had two Mills grenades, a lot of 0.303 cartridges in chargers and nearby was a rifle with fixed bayonet.  From the position and the shoulder titles it seemed very likely that they had been killed on 18th November 1916.  Two officers from this unit were missing that day.  One was buried in a nearby cemetery as an unknown officer and the other's whereabouts were unknown.  One was a youngster, the other a mature man aged 30.  The pipe suggests that the find was the elder, an officer who was not a Yorkshire Light Infantry officer but was attached to them.  Such finds were sadly all too common then.  About that time the removal of a sileage tower at Dernacourt had uncovered a dressing station with the remains of 54 soldiers from seven different battalions and a number of German P.o.W. s and Medical staff.  In recent years the French authorities have made efforts to clear the ground of such sad remnants of battle, so there is comparatively little to be found on the surface.  If I have made any errors in this account I apologise but have been working from memory.   Lastly I should add that the U.S.A. is now the best place to find arteacts of the Great War as the doughboys were not so restricted in their collection of souvenirs as the British Tommy. - SW

Edited by calibre792x57.y

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DapperDave

That's an amazing story. KOYLI.....is that Kings Own Yorkshire Light Inf.? That almost sounds like a good premise for a book. What happened to these findings and remains? I hope they were carefully treated, but perhaps that's me speaking to the choir. I should mention that while history is my hobby, not my profession, I would like to open a small showroom some day of military uniforms and artifacts from around the world. 

 

Now it's gripe time haha. it's easy to find U.S. stuff here in the US, but I've had a hell of a time finding a source for original Mills No. 5 grenades, parts and bayonets (Lee Metford, 1903 and 1907 patterns). Almost all are outside the U.S. in the UK and other countries who won't ship to the U.S. 

 

All the best,

- Dave

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