Introduced with the W.E. Patt. '08 by List of Changes entry L. of C. §14288, dated 31st January 1908, the Frog is designed to carry the Pattern 1888 or Pattern 1907 Bayonet scabbard. The Patt. '08 Frog underwent some changes during its service life.


Frog, 1st issue, converted?

aust frontaust rearcompareThe first issue Frog is a folded piece of webbing 2 1/2-inches wide and 8-inches tall. There are two loops, the top 1 1/4-inch wide and the bottom 1 1/2-inch wide, sewn horizontally across the bottom, and the top portion of the frog has a vertical seam sewn 3 1/4-inches from the top. This forms a loop through which the Belt is passed. There are reinforcing rivets at the top corners of the upper horizontal loop. In use, the Bayonet scabbard is inserted into the top of the horizontal loops. The frog stud on the Scabbard is passed under the uppermost and out between the two loops, securing it in place. We originally stated that the only difference between the first and second issue Frog is the addition of the helve strap to the second. We now suspect that there is more to the story than that, and the discovery of this Frog is what led uas to reconsider our opinion.

Several features make this particular example worth noting. First of all, it is about ½-inch shorter than the average Patt. '08 Frog. Next, the rivets are not the standard British hose rivets normally seen on Frogs issued before the appearance of the rivetless 3rd "Economy" issue Frog of the late war period. Instead, they are the same type of two piece brass rivets seen on early production Patt. '08 Belts. Finally, the helve strap is only 4 ½-inches long, instead of the 5- or 7-inches prescribed by the L. of C. description, and is sewn to the body of the Frog about 1/8-inch higher than normal. All of these unusual features can be seen in the photo at right, where this example is compared to a "normal" 2nd issue Frog, and is shown on a 1909 dated Belt with the early style rivets. This form of rivet can also be seen on the 1908 dated Belt shown on the W.E. Pattern 1908 Belts page. Another unusual feature can be seen in the front view, far left. The stitching attaching the helve strap extends completely through the body of the Frog, instead of just through the rear layer of web. The thread matches that used elsewhere on the Frog, but the stitching itself is not as neatly done as that seen in the other seams.

List of Changes §15048, dated 22nd Nov., 1909, listed a number of "Modifications of patterns" to most items of W.E. Patt. '08. Two of these relate the the Frog. The first simply states that new production Frogs will be made with a 7-inch helve strap attached. The second entry refers modification of existing Frogs, and reads, "Frogs. - Tab to be sewn on back for helve carrier. One tab for each frog on charge to be demanded, and one sample frog for each unit to guide fitting. The first supplies of these tabs are only 5 inches in length and will be used up on frogs actually in use." As has been previously noted, 7-inch tabs are much less common than 5-inch ones, and the one on this particular example is even shorter at only 4 ½-inches. To us, this evidence, especially the early style rivets and the way the tab is sewn to the body,very strongly suggest that this is a 1st issue Frog that has been modified in accordance with §15048.

The maker's mark and date are long since worn away, with only a beginning "M" ("M.E. Co." or "M.W. & S. Ltd.", we can assume) still visible. However, it is well marked with "A.A.O.D." (Australian Army Ordnance Department), "V" (Victoria), and an issue date of 2|11, which makes it part of the first issue of W.E. Pattern 1908 in Australia. The 1st issue Frog, as well as the second Frog and Belt in the photo at right, are from the Graham Tweeddale Collection. Photos © Graham Tweeddale 2012.



Frog, 1st issue?

1st frog front1st frog rearAnother contender for the W.E. Patt. '08 Frog, 1st issue. This Frog does not have the early style rivets seen in the example above, but istread has typical British hose rivets. As such, it must be later production than the one shown above. However, no documentation has surfaced telling us when exactly the type of rivets was changed. It may well have been done prior to the addition of the helve strap, documented by §15048 in late 1909. If so, that raises the possibility of a 2nd type of the 1st issue Frog, one with the later hose rivets. Since many second issue Frogs have had their helve straps removed, care must be take to confirm that any particular Frog was, in fact, made without the strap. This example, although not maker marked or dated, shows no sign that a helve strap was ever attached, and thus may be an example of a first issue, second type Frog. On the other hand, we must note that whilst the first issue Frog was superseded by the second issue in late 1909, the Mills Equipment Company continued to make Frogs without the helve strap for use with their simplified Territorial Army equipment up to at least 1914, and as a Private Purchase item through at least 1917 . Since this example is War Department and broad arrow marked, it seems at least possible that a first issue, second type Frog actually was produced, and that this Frog is a surviving example. From the Steve Hewitt Collection, photos © Steve Hewitt 2009.



Frog, 2nd issue

2nd front2nd rearThe second issue Frog was introduced with List of Changes entry L. of C. §15048, dated 22nd November 1909. This Frog is identical to the first issue, except for the addition of a 1-inch wide brass tipped web strap on the rear. This strap is to secure the Helve holder, which was introduced with List of Changes entry L. of C. §14795, dated 17th May 1909, dated variously 24th August 1909 & 8th October 1909. According to L. of C. §15048, the helve holder strap is to be 7-inches long. The entry also notes that the first supply of straps were only 5-inches long, and that these were to be used for modifying first issue Frogs. In actual fact, only a very few Frogs with 7-inch straps have been noted.Most of them, including the one shown here, have 5-inch straps. This example is maker marked "M.E. Co." and dated 1913. From the Karkee Web Collection.



7 inchThe rear view of a well blancoed second issue Patt. '08 Frog with a 7-inch helve holder strap. This photo courtesy of World War Wonders.





Frog, Third issue, "Economy"

1918 front1918 rear1918 detailJust as with several other pieces of Patt. '08 equipment, a simplified "Economy" version of the Frog was issued late in the war. This Frog is the same as the second issue, except that the reinforcing rivets have been omitted. We have not located a List of Changes entry for this modification. This example is maker marked "M.E. Co." and dated 1918. From the Grant Napier Collection. Photos © Grant Napier 2009.





Frog, Fourth issue

1919 front1919 rearThe fourth issue Frog was introduced with List of Changes entry L. of C. §A171, dated 28th March 1924. This L. of C. entry served as both a pattern for new production and a guide for modification of existing Frogs. This design change followed the withdrawal from service of the Patt. '08 Intrenching tool and Helve by List of Changes entry L. of C. §25979,dated 6th September 1923. The change removed the helve holder strap from the rear of the Frog, since it was no longer needed. The example shown here is an "Economy" third issue Frog from which the helve holder strap has been removed in accordance with L. of C. A171. It is maker marked "M.E. Co." and dated 1919. From the Karkee Web Collection.




Frog, Territorial pattern

terry frontterry rearThis unusual Frog is very similar to the Patt. '08 first issue, except that it has no reinforcing rivets and the horizontal seam is only 2 ½-inches from the top, suggesting that it was intended for a Belt that was 2 or 2 ¼-inches wide. We have not seen any documentation for this type, but the speculation amongst collectors who have seen it is that it was intended for a Territorial Army unit that used a narrow Waist belt. KW would be grateful for any additional information about this type of Frog. It is maker marked "M.E. Co." and dated 1913. It is not broad arrow marked. From the Karkee Web Collection.




terry 12 frontterry 12 rearAnother Frog intended for a Belt that was 2 or 2 ¼-inches wide. Unlike the Frog above, this example does have reinforcing rivets on the sides of the upper loop. It is maker marked "M.E. Co." and dated 1912. It is not broad arrow marked. From the Adrian Gigg Collection, photos © Adrian Gigg 2017.