During operations in the jungle in World War Two, men tried to carry the minimum amount of kit possible, one essential they could not do without though was water and this was carried in the standard British Army enamelled kidney shaped waterbottles in a webbing carrier attached to their 37 pattern webbing. We have looked at the Indian made waterbottle carrier before, but this example is made of pre-dyed green webbing:As can be seen, the webbing was clearly dyed in two separate batches as the various components are in differing shades of green:Note also the stitching in a contrasting colour- some webbing was dyed after it had been manufactured, but in those cases the stitching becomes dyed the same colour as the rest of the webbing. The waterbottle carrier is typically Indian and is secured by a brass buckle at the top, rather than a press stud:The inside of the webbing is stamped with the manufacturer’s initials ‘KEF’ and a date of 1945, the dark colour of the webbing makes this a little tricky to see:The scale of the webbing industry in India during the Second World War can be hard to comprehend, this account form the 1946 history of the Supply Services in India gives some idea of the output of these manufacturers:
In November 1941, large scale orders for the manufacture of Webbing (Personal) Equipment sets were placed. This store required 33 widths and thicknesses of Webbing and 19 different types of brass Components. One of these components called for 20 production operations. To cope with this activity webbing looms had to be built and three quasi-Government Fabricating Factories were started. 5,700,000 Sets of Webbing Equipment were produced. These required 843,600,000 Brass Components.
Some of you might have realised that this is the second waterbottle carrier I have bought (the other can be seen in the post on the cartridge carriers here), this is because it was typical to wear two carriers on active service, one for your waterbottle and one for your mess tin, the oval Indian made aluminium mess tin fitting nicely into the carrier: