I have been slowly putting together an Indian 37 pattern webbing set for the last year or so and I have now picked up the last piece I was missing in the shape of a small pack. As is often the case with this hobby, I was given a tip off from another collector who knew I was after one and happened to spot it, in this case from the other side of the world. There is a very international theme to collecting militaria- the tip off came from a collector in the USA, the seller dispatched it from Greece and the haversack was made in India! Therefore many thanks to Mike, and please check out his excellent Facebook page on Empire uniforms here.
As we have discussed in previous posts Indian made 37 pattern webbing broadly follows the designs of the Mills Company who developed the original equipment set back in the UK. The official name for what collectors often call the small pack is a haversack, the fitting guide sets out its design:
Haversack- This consists of a rectangular bag of dimensions approximately 11 inches by 9 ½ inches by 4 inches:and has a flap secured by two small straps and buckles:The interior is longitudinally divided by means of a partition, which is in turn connected to the front of the bag by a small partition to form two front compartments of equal size. These compartments contain the water-bottle (in carrier) and rectangular mess tin:On the back of the haversack near the top two tabs are fitted for the attachment to the shoulder straps:and on the base two small buckles are fitted for attachment of the diagonal portion of the shoulder straps:Weather flaps are provided which fold in underneath the flaps.
As can be seen this pack is made of the distinctive Indian webbing that has a slightly ‘striped’ effect to it. The fabric is of a coarser weave as the cotton used in India was of a different variety to that in use elsewhere and this leads to the rougher texture. The brass fittings are slightly cruder than those made by Britain, Canada and Australia but still perfectly serviceable. The manufacturer’s details and the date, 1942, are stamped onto the front of the haversack, hidden under the top flap when it is closed:I am pleased to finally finish this set, although I am now looking for Indian made personal kit to fill the small pack! I am also working on putting together an Indian made set in pre-dyed jungle green, but that is another ongoing project…I have too many of those.