Indian Made Lewis Pouch Yoke

Following on from last week’s post on the South African Lewis gun pouch, tonight we are looking at an example of the Indian yoke strap for those pouches:imageIt is not uncommon for webbing to become mismatched and in service no one cares where a piece of equipment comes from as long as it does the job it’s supposed to. With supply problems and equipment moving around I would not be surprised if this strap has been with the pouches for many years. The strap is made of the distinctive soft and slightly stripy Indian made webbing. Large brass chapes are fitted to each end of the strap to prevent the ends from fraying:imageThe ends of this strap thread through the large buckles at the top of each pouch:imageA pair of pouches is held together by one strap, so two straps are needed for a full set of four pouches. The straps themselves are made from two pieces of webbing sewn together to double the thickness:imageThis adds strength to the yoke as the pouches would have been very heavy when carrying full Lewis magazines, the double thickness reducing the chances of the yoke splitting under the weight. The yoke has the typical Indian acceptance marks, the C/|\ code coming from the Cawnpore depot where the strap was approved for military service:imageIt is hard to date this strap, I believe the ’42’ on the end of the stamp being a stores code rather than a date, but like the pouches I suspect it was manufactured quite early in the Second World War. Interestingly I have come across British made Lewis ammunition pouches and straps, South African made pouches and Indian made yoke straps, but I do not recall seeing Indian made pouches or South African made yoke straps- perhaps a reader can confirm if they do indeed exist?

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