One of the biggest improvements introduced with the 58 pattern webbing set was the yoke. This was padded with foam rubber inside to improve the comfort to the wearer and had a large surface area that spread the weight over the shoulders rather than cutting into them:The fitting instructions offer the following description:
This item consists basically of a wide ‘V’-shaped assembly of webbing, padded with sponge rubber. To the free end of each arm of the ‘V’ is attached to a 1 inch front strap with length adjuster; these straps connect ultimately to the metal links on the top rear of each ammunition pouch. To the edge of the apex of the ‘V’ are attached two adjustable-length, 1 inch rear straps, terminating in fittings with ‘C’ hooks which ultimately connect to the rear of the waist belt. To the outer side of the padded apex of the ‘V’ is attached a wide strap, with spigot and metal link and left and right straps, with quick-release links and tongue, for attachment of the pick handle, or the shovel handle.One change made to the yoke after this description was written was to add a set of webbing loops to the flares to pass the large pack straps through to prevent them slipping off the shoulders and this distinguishes the second pattern:To attach the yoke to the rest of the web set, the manual advised:
- To attach the yoke to the belt, insert the four ‘C’ clips on the two back straps into the pockets on the belt, ensuring that they are upright and inside the two metal rings on the belt which take the cape carrier.
- Do not adjust the back straps at this stage.
- The front straps will in due course be attached to the ‘D’ rings at the top of the ammunition pouches.
These yokes were produced throughout the life of the 58 pattern webbing and examples can be found with dates ranging from the late 1950s, through to the mid-1990s. This particular piece dates for the middle of production in 1983:The yoke was generally regarded as one of the best features of the 58 pattern set and its loss was lamented by the infantryman who seems to have regarded the design issued with PLCE as somewhat inferior.