Web Infantry Equipment, Pattern 1937


After their Pattern 1908 design, Mills’ rapidly moved to a “back-adjustment” system. This placed the respective halves of the “belt” buckle on left and right Cartridge carriers, the whole connected-up by a Strap, back adjustment. The successfully trialled No. 3 Equipment followed this design, but for Pattern 1937 W.E., the Belt reverted to traditional form, a design first seen in the Cavalry trials belt of 1913.  The Army did rather like a Belt, feeling a soldier was “naked” without one, most especially when Walking Out. Whereas the likes of Patts. ’13 and ’25 had provided a plain Belt, parsimony saw to it that the Patt. ’37 Belt would have a dual purpose. In this, it was identical to the Patt. ’25 Belt, adjustable, but now had angled buckle chapes added to the rear of the Belt.

Made from “flat-loop belting”, 2.25 inches wide, L. of C. §B1623 only listed Large and Small, but the 1939 pamphlet listed an Extra Large. This mismatch in documentation was only corrected in 1941, when L. of C. §B4510 finally added it to the V.A.O.S. This late addition meant a wartime 5000 series code was allocated, which was rationalised by L. of C. §C4686, in 1951. Even then, the Army got it wrong and made it “Extra Long”, requiring another correction by L. of C. §C4938. In what could be the earliest example of idiotic Political Correctness, L. of C. §C3641, approved 15 Dec 1948, changed the “small” size to a Belt, waist, W.E., Patt. ‘37, normal. Can’t have their soldiery being subjected to sizism!

Stores Ref. A1/AA 5014 Belt, waist, W.E. Patt. 37, extra large, 56-in.
Stores Ref. CN/AA 0194 Web Equipment, Patt. ’37, Belt, waist, extra large

Stores Ref. A1/AA 0227 Belt, waist, W.E. Patt. 37, large, 50-in.
Stores Ref. CN/AA 0227 Web Equipment, Patt. ’37, Belt, waist, large

Stores Ref. A1/AA 0228 Belt, waist, W.E. Patt. 37, small, 44-in.
Stores Ref. CN/AA 0228 Web Equipment, Patt. ’37, Belt, waist, small

39 out39 belt inA typical example of the first issue Belt, waist, W.E. Patt. '37, as introduced in L. of C. §B1623, dated 8th June 1938. It is made of 2 1/4-inch wide "flat loop" belted webbing, with brass fittings. It is fitted with a "hook and loop" military buckle of the type first introduced in 1919, and at the rear has two angles 1-inch buckles chapes. The Belt is adjusted by securing two double end hooks, each mounted on a brass tab, into the "flat loops" integrally woven into the inside, and there is a brass slide on each end to control the folded portions. This example is maker marked "M.E. Co.", dated 1939, and is size marked "L".



sewn loopThis belt example shows some of the manufacturing economy measures mentioned on the Components Introduction page. It is made of plain belting, with the adjustment loops made in a separate strip sewn to the inside. All of the fittings are brass, and the brass tabs are still there at the ends of the belt. It is maker marked "MATTINSON BROS / STOCKPORT", dated 1943, and is size marked "S". From the Allen Prior Collection. Photographs © Allen Prior 2009.




45 out45 inThis late war production example, from the same maker as the belt shown just above, shows a different subset of the manufacturing economy measures mentioned on the Components Introduction page. The fittings are still brass, but the brass tabs at the ends are gone, and the smaller double hooks are sewn directly to the ends of the Belt. The brass slides have also gone, and been replaced by webbing ones. The belt is made of flat-loop belting. Amongst British manufacturers, only M.E. Co and M.W. & S. had the capability to weave this type of fabric, which suggests that the maker was working as a sub-supplier to one of these two firms. It is maker marked "MATTINSON BROS / STOCKPORT", dated 1945, and is size marked "L".



3 front3 rearAnother wartime (presumably, anyway) ersatz variation. It is made of three short pieces of belting sewn together. The fittings are brass, and whilst it is not maker marked or dated, it, like the Mattinsson made example shown just above, is made of flat-loop belting. From the Nick Wall Collection. Photographs © Nick Wall 2009.




3 det out3 det inDetail views of the three-piece belt shown above, showing the way the sections of belting are sewn together.




43 belt out43 inNo one here at Karkee Web is quite sure what to do with this one. In general it resembles an "economy" Patt. '37 Belt, with brass fittings, small double hooks are sewn directly to the ends of the Belt, and web slides. But it has no rear buckled chapes at all. Neither the List of Changes nor the Army Council Instructions seem to address this type. It seems most likely that it is some sort of equipment belt: one suggestion is that it is the belt portion of the harness for the Ackpack Flamethrower, which is does more-or-less resemble. Karkee Web would very much appreciate any information on this Belt, which is maker marked "M.E. Co.", dated 1943, and size marked "L".