Continuing our occasional series of posts looking at the elements of the 1944 pattern webbing set, tonight we turn to the basic pouches. A pair of these was worn on the front of the chest and carried the soldiers ammunition, Bren magazines and grenades. The pouches are clearly inspired by those used on the 37 pattern webbing, but are deeper and will now hold three rather than two Bren Magazines. The height of the fastened flap is also adjustable, again based on experience with Sten Gun magazines which had been too tall for the pouches on 37 Pattern Webbing. The following description comes from the fitting instructions:
Basic Pouch, Left- The internal dimensions are approximately 4 ½ inches by 3 inches by 9 ½ inches deep. On the back, two 2-inch wire hooks are provided for connecting to the waistbelt, a tapered chape with 1-inch 4-bar buckle for the braces and two vertical webbing loops for the haversack straps; the hooded flap is fitted with the staple portion of a quick release fastener which can be fitted to either of the two links on the front of the pouch. The normal method of closure is to use the bottom link; the alternative method is for use when longer items are carried in the pouch. The left-hand side has loops as an alternative method of carrying the No. 4, 5 and 7 bayonet. Basic pouch, Right- Exactly the same as the left pouch except that bayonet loops are not fitted on the side.
As can be seen the pouches are made of pre-shrunk green died cotton webbing, with anodised aluminium fittings typical of this set of webbing. They are clearly visible in most photographs of soldiers fighting in the jungle campaigns of Malaya and Borneo; in this image a Ghurkha is wearing them in Borneo in 1965, the Ghurkha’s short stature makes the pouches look particularly large: