Civil Defence Leather Anklets

As collectors we are probably all familiar with the webbing anklets worn by British and empire troops in World War Two and some may be aware that leather examples were produced for wear by the Home Guard. What far fewer collectors may realise is that there was a specific pattern of leather anklet produced for those working in Civil Defence. The need for. An anklet is perhaps obvious, those working in civil defence were often on bomb sites helping rescue people from beneath rubble, surrounded by protrusions and sharp edges that could easily snag on a trouser leg. An anklet helped protect the bottom of a pair of trousers or overalls and made it much safer for the man or woman on abomination site. Like the Home Guard, leather was used for the anklets, but a different design, shared with the ATS was used:imageWhilst the ATS version was made of a russet brown leather, this Civil Defence example is a much darker shade of brown, almost black in colour. This pair are unissued, still tied together as they were when they came from stores. It is interesting to note that the leather ties used to fasten them are missing, indicating that these were issued separately and not attached in the factory.

The leather used is of a thick grade and has a slight pebbled effect across its surface:imageThree pairs of holes are punched through to pass the leather securing laces through. These loops would then be inter threaded and passed through the brass eyelets and over the top strap to secure:imageThe securing strap consists of a leather tongue:imageAnd a corresponding brass buckle:imageIt was clearly expected that this area might suffer from more wear than the rest of the anklet and it is reinforced on the rear:imageThis pair of anklets was manufactured in 1942 and as well as the date and manufacturer’s initials, the /|\ War Department mark is stamped into the leather on the rear:imageThis pair are a tiny size 1, perhaps accounting for why they were never issued, which is indicated on the rear by a yellow paint stamp:imageIt seems the anklets were not universally worn, but here we can see a member of a stretcher party (rear, right on the stretcher bearers) wearing a pair:image

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