44 Pattern Shoulder Braces

One of the most innovative features of the new 1944 pattern webbing set was the shoulder braces which were a departure from anything Mills had made before. These braces incorporated much wider sections where they passed over the shoulders, and the braces split into two at the rear to allow attachment to the belt in four places, rather than the two on the 37 pattern set, to better distribute the weight:imageThe braces are made from lightweight pre-dyed green cotton webbing, with anodised metal fittings to minimise corrosion in the jungle. As ever we turn to the fitting instructions issued by the War Office when the set was introduced:

Braces (pair)- These have shoulder sections made of webbing 3-inches wide, imagewith 1-inch wide front straps to connect to the basic pouches;  imagetwo 1-inch straps are sewn to the rear ends of the shoulder sections and stitched where they cross; imagewhen fitted these are attached to the diagonals on the side pieces of the belt and are adjustable by the 3-bar buckles. imageThe other two 1-inch straps which are not sewn where they cross are for attachment to the buckles on the back of the waistbelt. imageThe illustration from the fitting instructions shows how they worked in practice:44 pattern strapsThese were a major improvement over anything that had come before and illustrate a move more towards the ‘yoke’ style of straps used on 58 pattern and PLCE equipment in the post war period.

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