In the past we have looked at the RAF 25 pattern pistol set as a whole piece (see here), however we are now going to take the opportunity to look at the individual components in a bit more detail. Tonight we are looking at one of the harder parts of the set to track down, the haversack. Fitting instructions for the 1925 pattern webbing set have not been found yet, but the following description is from the 1919 pattern set, which has an almost identical haversack, differing only in that it has the ability to be worn on the shoulders as well as the ends of the shoulder braces:
This is a rectangular shaped bag having gusseted sides:The lid is closed by two ¾ inch straps and buckles:and on each side a 1 inch buckle is provided to which the end of the braces, which extend below the belt on the left side of the equipment, are attached:Clearly then the Mills Equipment Company just took an existing design off the shelf for the RAF and modified it to meet their customer’s needs, making it in blue-grey rather than tan webbing. The haversack is a ‘wedge; shape, with a wider bottom, tapering in at the top. Under the flap of the haversack is the Air Ministry crown mark, the date of manufacture (1935) and the maker’s stamp of MECo:The reverse of the haversack has the original airmen’s number of 508535:This number was allocated to a Lemuel Samuel Reeson, who was born in Yarmouth in 1908 and awarded the British Empire Medal in 1962 when he held the rank of Chief Technician. From his age and rank it would seem the RAF was his career for much of his life. unfortunately I have been unable to find anything further on him. I have yet to find a packing list for the haversack, however based on similar packing lists for the army or RN, I would guess that the haversack would contain the washroll, rations for the day, a spare pair of socks, gloves etc. These haversacks are not common, but do come up from time to time, and World War Wonders currently have one for sale for £25 that just needs a strap repairing.