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Remembered Today:

Pattern '14 Leather Equipment (post war production?)


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Many patterns of WWI equipment and weapons were produced (often in relatively small amounts given the massive surplus and the economic exigencies of the inter-war period) well beyond the Great War, indeed many continued in production and usage into the early days of WWII (1903 bandolier equipment, ShtLEs, versions of SD jackets (post war patterns but also in the early WWII years patterns that whilst labelled 1921 patterns were actually closer to the Simplified Patterns (unpleated pockets, absence of rifle patches etc) of 1914/15) -- however my specific question here relates to Pattern 1914 leather equipment. Produced as a substitute standard to fill in for the shortfall in 1908 Web equipment it remained in service throughout the war (although far less common in 1917/8 at least as far as the photographic record shows)...however did it continue in production anywhere after the end of the war? I know this is a classic "Anorak" type question but I have recently seen a couple of pieces (I hope to get some pictures) which would suggest it did - so does anyone have post (say...) 1919 dated examples of Pattern '14 Leather equipment?

Cheers,

Chris

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A London militaria shop in the 1980s had a quantity of sets of P14 that looked "wrong". It was basically to pattern but some of the buckles were of the wrong pattern (cavalry equipment style buckles). They claimed that it had been sold off as military surplus and that they believed that it had been manufactured for use during the 50th anniversary events for WW1.

 

With the prices at the time, it would not have been economical to make replica sets for collectors. The market wasn't big enough and the price of genuine pieces wasn't high enough to justify the effort. Also if you were going to make replicas to deceive people surely you would have got some of the obvious details right.

 

So yes, as far as I am concerned P14 was in limited manufacture for the army in the 1960s but the pieces I examined had no markings/dates of any sort.

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In 40 years of collecting British WW! militaria and seeing a great deal of Pattern 1914 leather equipment, the latest date I saw was 1916. There were two exceptions: one is a 1919 dated belt currently on a dealer's website, which I suspect is the one you're referring to, Chris. The stamp is clearly genuine and anyway nobody would fake that date. The other exception was a 1918 dated tongue on an unmarked belt. Again, it looked genuine. I have no explanation for this but I believe production on any significant scale was over by 1916.

 

The 2-strap pouches of the equipment had a second life in WW2 as "linesman's pouches" and are sometimes seen with 1941 dates. Why they continued in production for this purpose when none of the rest of it was being made is a mystery to me. There are also single-strap pouches made with robust, smooth Indian-type leather with heavy, square roller buckles. I've never seen these dated but I very much doubt they are WW1.

 

I remember those sets of repro 14 in the 80s. I suppose it is possible that they were made for the Army but I always thought they were either recent film props or reenactor sets.

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49 minutes ago, wainfleet said:

I remember those sets of repro 14 in the 80s. I suppose it is possible that they were made for the Army but I always thought they were either recent film props or reenactor sets.

 

I am only quoting what the dealer claimed, I did not attempt to research the issue at the time. I was attempting to put together my first set of P14 and was very disappointed when I saw the buckles and asked what was going on.

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Thanks both. Actually, I was not referring to a belt - I saw a set of  pouches (so probably the "linesman pouches" to which your refer -they had 1942 dates) - I don't recall the buckle design (although I think the main buckle (top) on one had a roller) but I believe the manufacturer stamp was WA??? over 1942 (on the strap ends) The internals and construction all looked correct to me and they appear to be in very good shape.

 

I have a very damaged/darkened old wartime pair so I was interested in these for a partial display and  I won the auction for them (knowing the date etc) at an OK price -- so when they arrive  I will post pictures for expert analysis.

Thanks again.

Chris

 

Edit

I just had a look at Karkeeweb   

Their example of the Linseman pouches has dual fastener tabs on the front - the ones I just bought have only single tabs like the standard pouches and the main tab is also chromed on the front side and rough on the back (on the linesman pouches it appears reversed) more detail here

Edited by 4thGordons
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OK so the pouches have arrived.

@wainfleet@Chasemuseum

for your consideration:

DSC_0448.JPG.2f695981705285e62339be0680a8bb08.JPG

 

DSC_0449.JPG.a8f3fc041f9c323b83f38bbbd8078fd5.JPGDSC_0454.JPG.4a4a6326d1089db61eb3f3d4a30f3cf8.JPGDSC_0455.JPG.b194c5c11238ab7382450166ae90685b.JPG

One is grained hide, the other is much smoother

 

DSC_0451.JPG.75abfa78904e177c88bec0046e425ff0.JPGDSC_0453.JPG.6bf5fc9082907ed4fb0fe5bf529fdb95.JPGDSC_0452.JPG.0766d4407c2725b26b6739e1fd7541ec.JPGDSC_0450.JPG.9e7c2ebaeb9ab530e3492510fd3d8354.JPG

 

 

Stamp appears to be WAHAD 1942 (the other strap has been cut shorter so the end is missing.

So are these official Indian WWII production (why?) or reproductions or......

TIA

Chris

 

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Hi Chris

You have got me. I have never seen P14 pouches with these markings. 

The pouches that I was referring to from the London dealer had the buckle using a classic cavalry/mounted troops style brass buckle. The female side of the buckle was sharply square rather than the rounded corners of P14 cast brass buckles, also that side was fitted with a sheet metal brass roll over the buckle with the casting indented slightly so that the dimensions of the portions of the buckle were symmetrical.  

 

Your pouches have buckles that are classically P14. Also markings on the buckles. Most buckles are without markings. A few years ago I acquired a quantity of the 2-inch buckles for the shoulder straps/backpack. these came from a US serviceman who got them from a market in Bagdad after the 2nd Gulf War. He did not elaborate, but I presume they were being used as scrap brass to be melted to make trinkets. Anyway he picked up a bucket of these. About one third had no markings and the rest had a broad arrow stamp. I have never seen a P14buckle with markings like that but they match the date on the leather. 

 

As for use of P14 by the Indian Army in WW2. I know virtually nothing about the Indian Army during the 2nd War - I am not qualified to make any sort of comment.

Cheers

Ross

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Definitely Indian manufacture. The leather seems like water buffalo and the brass has some over casting on it. Just a hypothesis, but during WWII, India may have had a supply of P14 from WWI but lacked pouches. They may have produced pouches to make complete sets that were then serviceable?

 

Ypres1915

 

 

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8 hours ago, Ypres1915 said:

Just a hypothesis, but during WWII, India may have had a supply of P14 from WWI but lacked pouches. They may have produced pouches to make complete sets that were then serviceable?

I have a 1942 dated Indian made P08 haversack. Perhaps this is also an example of an item made to complete existing sets?

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9 hours ago, Chasemuseum said:

Your pouches have buckles that are classically P14.

 

I have to disagree Ross.

 

First, the main buckle on the left hand pouch in the first image has a roller, which is an absolute no-no on period 14 pattern. Second, the main buckle on the right hand pouch is, IMHO, still too square/ sharp for 14 ptn, plus overall it's not 'fat' enough. And finally, the small buckles on the rear always (?) have a distinct 'arch' to them which these lack.

 

Cheers,

 

GT.

 

 

 

 

P5030090.JPG

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I share the opinions of GT and Ypres1915 on this. The buckle shapes are wrong for the 14-18 period and both pouches are of typical WW2 Indian manufacture. Under the British Empire, Indian troops tended to receive obsolete or inferior equipment and rather than waste the many sets of Pattern 14 still around at the war's end, issuing it to Indian units would have made sense in the context of the times. That said, although I've seen quite a few Indian pouches I've never seen any other obviously Indian parts of the equipment.

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Thanks all, much appreciated.

I was under no illusion about what I was getting and I am actually building up a bit of a collection of oddities (here's another one) with an Indian connections in terms of equipment so this is fine.

I'll send the pics to Karkeeweb - perhaps they would like to add them as a reference.

Again, many thanks.

Chris

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