S6 Respirator Haversack Mk 1

The S6 respirator we looked at here, came with at least three separate patterns of haversack during its service life; the earliest of which, the Mk1, is the subject of tonight’s blog post. This haversack is made of a dark green cotton in a distinctive ‘wedge shape’:imageThis cotton material was to prove difficult to decontaminate following an NBC incident so was later replaced with nylon based materials that were easier to clean. The haversack is attached to the body by a cross strap, that is adjustable with buckles:imageAnd press studs:imageIt was imagined that the mask could be worn slung by the side when not needed and on the chest for immediate action, much like the wartime service respirator. The haversack is prevented from ‘bouncing’ around by the use of a piece of string as a steadying strap, that is passed around the body and wrapped around a metal disc to hold it tight:imageIn reality this was rarely ever done, as explained by one old squaddie:

In theory the strap goes around the neck and there should be a cord stashed in a pocket on the R.H side that passes around the body and fastens onto the round “catch” on the left. The case is then resting on the chest…In practice if you wore it as per the book the first time you dived for cover you got a VERY sore chest…. So it usually got hung off the 58 pattern belt – on the left if I recall.

The flap of the haversack is secured by two press studs and a quick release fastener of the same design as that used on 58 pattern webbing:imageUnder the flap are two loops to hold securely NBC sundries:imageNote the original owner’s name and number marked in pen inside the haversack:imageAnd the manufacturer’s stamp indicating it was made in 1971:imageInside the haversack is a loop at the base for an anti-dimming kit and a pocket for a spare filter:imageThis haversack is one of three different S6 haversacks in my collection, the other patterns will be considered in due course. It is interesting to note that this is the smallest of all the haversacks and it is very difficult to get all the required pieces of equipment in- later cases were far better designed, presumably based on the experience with the Mk 1.


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