Royal Navy Kit Bag

Over the last few years we have looked at Army and RAF kitbags, however tonight we look at our first example of a Royal Navy kitbag. The RN kitbag is much larger than those used by other services, being made of a heavier duty webbing cotton fabric rather than the lightweight materials of its smaller cousins:imageThe neck of the kit bag has a series of metal eyelets and a permanently attached piece of cord to be threaded through them to draw the neck tight:imageIn February 1922 a brass bar fastener was introduced to help increase the security of these kit bags, it passed through the loops and could be secured with a padlock to reduce the risk of theft. A light canvas inner allows the inside to be drawn tight as well to help keep the contents clean and dry:imageThe base of the kit bag has a thick base seem around the edge:image
With a webbing handle in the centre, originally this stretched from seam to seam, but this shorter version seems to be a wartime economy:imageThe original owner has painted his rank ‘PO’ and initials ‘DAJ’ onto the base:imageNearly every sailor had one of these kit bags, and the 1937 Admiralty Manual of Seamanship explained:

A waterproof canvas bag will be issued to every boy on his leaving the training ship, with his name stamped on the bottom of the bag. He will retain the bag until it is worn out or until he leaves the service.

To stow the Kit in a Bag or Locker

The clothing is either folded up or rolled and tied up in handkerchiefs, care being taken that the white and blue clothing is placed in separate bundles; clothing not often worn being at the bottom.

Here we see a couple of sailors heading off on leave, with their kit bags slung on their shoulders:image

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