Tonight we have one of my favourite finds of the year so far, apologies to some of you who may already have seen some pictures of it on the Warrelics Forum and the WW1 and WW2 Re-enacting Facebook sites, but I am rather pleased with this. As you may recall a few weeks back we looked at the 1940 pattern Cavalry Webbing ammunition pouches (here), tonight we are going to look at the shoulder braces that go with this set:
The official description of the shoulder braces from the original fitting instructions is,
These are interchangeable for left or right shoulder, but not fore and aft. They are integrally woven with wide portions for the shoulders and are one standard length overall (53 ins). Two web loops are sewn to each brace to receive the straps with the keyway fitting.
It is these loops that distinguish this shoulder brace from its much more common 37 pattern cousin:
As can be seen from the inside face of the brace, these were made by MECo in 1940:
This picture from the official manual shows the shoulder braces being worn, and you can just make out the keyway straps passing through them to secure to the haversack and water bottle:
Unfortunately my braces have got the dried on remains of glue from some purpose now long forgotten. However they are incredibly rare and Karkeeweb describes them here as ‘practically unavailable on the collector’s market’. I’m not sure how rare they actually are, but I have never seen another pair for sale. I got very lucky with these as they were misidentified as being a 37 pattern variant, which again highlights that, as a collector, putting the time in to research and know your subject will always pay dividends. I have now got three bits of 1940 pattern webbing; the cartridge carriers, shoulder braces and water bottle carrier: