The design of the large pack we are looking at tonight served two different webbing sets faithfully for over 50 years, with troops in both world wars making use of it. The large pack was introduced as part of the 08 webbing and was designed to carry all those items that a soldier did not need immediately in the field. The pack was worn on the back, either by attaching it to a pair of 2” buckles on the 08 pattern cross straps, or using L-Straps on the 37 pattern equipment. Whilst designed to be used during transit and carried in unit transport where possible, it was used in the field on occasion as it had a much larger capacity than the small packs issued with both sets:The following description comes form the fitting instructions:
Pack (1908 Pattern)- This consists of a rectangular sack, the dimensions being approximately 15 inches by 13 inches by 4 ½ inches:It is open at the top and is closed by a cover secured by two narrow straps and buckles:Weather flaps are provided which fold down under the cover:Two web loops are fitted to the bottom of the pack, through which the supporting straps are passed:A short 2-inch tab is fixed to each of the upper corners on the side nearest to the wearer’s back, also small buckles to which the upper ends of the supporting straps are secured:The pack could also be set up and used as a rucksack, the illustrations below demonstrates how the supporting straps are set up for this:
This method of carriage had been used informally by troops in India for many years, but was formally recognised and listed in the fitting instructions for the 37 pattern webbing system. As the straps are thin and would dig in, it was common to hook them under the 2” twigg buckle on 08 webbing to increase the comfort level:This pack is dated 1942 and marked ‘CP’ which indicates it was made by Caoutchouc Products Ltd:The 1937 pattern fitting instructions list the following contents for the large pack: Greatcoat, Cap Comforter, Holdall containing Laces, Comb, Toothbrush. Razor and Case, Shaving Brush, Housewife, Socks, Soap & Towel. Additional or alternative contents could include: Ground Sheet, Waterproof Cape, Jerkin, Denims, Gas Cape (when not carried on Haversack), Underwear (vest and underpants), spare Shirt, PT kit (vest, shorts, plimsolls), Gloves/Mittens, Boot cleaning kit (Polish/Dubbin, Brushes). This should weigh 11lbs 1oz according to the fitting instructions; in reality many of these items of small kit would be carried in the small pack instead and other items stowed in the large pack as required.