Continuing our detailed look at British Webbing sets, tonight we consider the 1944 pattern belt. This design by Mills Equipment Company drew upon the three section belts of the earlier 19 and 25 pattern sets, but added the grommets on the lower edge of the US webbing sets. This was the first time they had been used in a British design and the belt was in that respect ground breaking, allowing items to be easily slung from it by a wire hanger. The belt is made from a closely woven dark green cotton, with anodised fittings to help it survive in jungle conditions. As usual we turn to the fitting instructions for the official description of the belt:
Waistbelt- This is issued in two sizes, large and normal, having a maximum adjustment of 48 inches and 40 inches respectively. The normal size should fit 95 per cent. Of troops. It is made in three parts (two side pieces and an adjustment strap) and the webbing is two inches wide. A closing buckle of the “hook and loop” type is fitted to the front ends of the side pieces and a double hook on each rear end; a 1 inch link with gap is fitted diagonally to each side piece for attachment of the braces; loops are provided for the spare ends of the adjustment strap. Two 1-inch 3-bar buckles are fitted to the back piece for attachment of the inner braces. Grommets (i.e. eyelets with spur tooth washers) are fitted in the lower edge- four in each side piece and six centrally spaced in the adjustment strap; a 1-inch strap with snap fastener is fitted to the right hand side piece to secure the rifle when slung on the shoulder. The back part of the belt was supposed to be removable so the set could be worn without it to ease pressure on jungle sores if needed- whether this was ever done is hard to say. The belt was a complicated piece of webbing when compared with the 1937 pattern belt, however it was a well thought out piece of kit apart from the rifle strap that seems never to have been used, and remained in use for many years. The Iraqi army copied it almost exactly in tan webbing for one of their equipment sets.