World War Two Officer’s Travel Bag

Regular readers may recall we looked at some paperwork from a Major Norman Stevenson here who was in Simla in the Second World War. In addition to this paperwork I have a large photograph album from his time there and a couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to pick up his traveling bag:imageThe bag is made of a light green canvas, synonymous with officer’s personal equipment, with large leather reinforcements in the corners and a large leather flap that passes over the top of the bag, with a hole cut through for the handle to pass:imageThis then secures with three leather straps and metal buckles:imageThis side of the bag is stencilled with ‘Major N Stevenson R.A.O.C.’:imageThe opposite side has his name repeated, along with his service number and the words ‘wanted on voyage’ struck through with the words ‘CABIN’ stencilled below:imageAt this period, before long distance air travel, most long voyages were made by ship and two classes of baggage were taken on board. Most items went in the hold and would be inaccessible for the several weeks the journey could take. A small amount of baggage was permitted in the cabin for use on the voyage and this bag is marked as such. It would contain toiletries, a small selection of clothes and maybe a few personal items for the voyage.

The bag is surprisingly roomy, with a fibre board base to help support the contents:imageThese bags were not issued by the military, but purchased from independent sellers, despite this they had to meet certain regimental and army requirements and are fairly similar to one another. We end with a portrait of Major Stevenson himself, having safely made the journey out to India and settling into his office in Simla:18222539_10154515557498045_9059239345200474356_n

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