Last Saturday I attended the Yorkshire Wartime Experience. As well as a fun day re-enacting I had time to wander around the various dealers stalls. Needless to say many of the prices made me wince and items which I would consider common and cheap were demanding prices two or three times what they were even two or three years ago. Despite this I did pick up a few nice bits, including this unusual pair of Packs, Strap, Supporting:Unlike most items of 1937 pattern equipment, these are not made of webbing but rather of cotton duck canvas. These were made in the early years of the Second World War in place of the more typical webbing examples, presumably as an economy measure. There doesn’t seem to have been an official designation for this variant, but Karkee Web has coined the term ‘Ersatz 37 pattern’ which seems as good a description as any! The straps have a rubber core, and the canvas is folded back on itself and sewn together down the centre:The ends of the straps have the standard brass tips:Whilst the opposite end has a brass 1” buckle:This is secured by folding the end of the canvas back and tucking it under before sewing the whole set together:These straps are dated 1941, with one made by Bagcraft:And the other by PM:One of the straps has a soldier’s number stamped on:The number, 22846681, is in the range used by the Royal Engineers. Admitedly one number is not a representative sample, but this suggests that perhaps these substitute straps were issued to second line troops, rather than the infantry who received teh standard webbing versions. These straps were never very common when they were produced and are not easy to find now, sadly many of them, despite looking nearly new, are very stiff and brittle as the rubber within has perished over the years. These aren’t too bad and as they were the first pair I have come across in the flesh in all my time collecting I was very pleased to add them to my collection. Shoulder braces and ‘L’ straps are also available in this ‘ersatz’ material.