Shell Dressing Haversack

The shell dressing haversack was a small webbing satchel issued to troops to carry shell dressings in in the field to allow stretcher bearers to perform first aid on casualties before they were passed back down the line to the Royal Army Medical Corps. These bags had originated in the First World War, where the edges had been bound in leather and the securing straps made of leather with brass buckles. By the Second World War this design had been updated to a completely web based design:imageThe satchel is a simple design, with a pair of weather flaps and a box type top flap to protect the shell dressings from the elements:imageThe lid itself is secured with two web straps and a pair of brass Twigg buckles:imageAlthough the main body of the bag is made of woven cotton webbing, the carry strap is of a lighter weave, sewn to the rear of the haversack:imageA brass buckle allows the length of the strap to be adjusted, in the same manner as the respirator haversacks of the period:imageThe front of the haversack has a large red Geneva cross on a white circle to indicate that the contents are for medical use:imageThe designation “Shell Dressings” is stencilled on the front, together with the number ‘2’:imageThe markings inside indicate that this haversack was made by M&Co in 1942:imageThe haversack would hold a dozen of the standard shell dressings and can be seen being carried in the field by medical personnel:imageThese packs lasted in service for decades and even today they lurk in various reservist units as a haversack for general first aid supplies during exercises.

I do not currently have enough shell dressings to fill this pack, however it does serve as a useful place to keep all my other medical related equipment.

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