The British Army has long created bespoke pieces of equipment for troops with specialist roles. Where once cavalry had their own equipment optimised for warfare on horseback, by the Second World War tank crew had also received specialist clothing and equipment designed to help them fight as easily as possible in the tight confines of the inter-war tank. One area that needed to be addressed was that of side arms and their carriage. If a tank were to be hit and the crew forced to bail out, they would need some form of personal protection. The standard British Army revolver was chosen to fulfil this need, but the standard holsters worn on the belt were not ideal as they had a habit of catching on every protrusion going.
To get around this, a new ‘tankers’ holster was introduced that was worn low on the upper thigh and strapped to the leg in an attempt to prevent it snagging. This holster was still not ideal and many were modified by shortening the top strap so it rested closer to the hip and removing the securing strap so it hung lose. This unofficial modification was to become a standard type in 1943 and new holsters started being manufactured in this style. The official title for the holster, in British Army nomenclature is Case, Pistol, web, RAC, MkII. The modified pattern continued to be worn and produced after the war and my example is one from this post-war production:
The holster is made of standard webbing with an open top, the revolver being secured by a strap that fastened with a Newey Stud:The stud here is in black- during the war this had been brass, but this was altered in the late 40s or early 50s to a black bonderised fastener. On the body of the holster are six loops for additional ammunition, removing the need to carry an ammunition pouch:And a tube to hold a cleaning rod:The printed stores details and manufacturer’s information date the case to 1955, produced by CW&S Ltd (?) :
Apart from being able to hold six rounds of ammunition, one does wonder what benefit there was in continuing manufacture of the MkII holster as there was very little difference in its eventual position between the RAC holster and a standard 37 pattern example. A far more detailed history of the holster can be found as ever on Karkee Web.