The 37 pattern haversack was far larger in capacity than its predecessors. There had been a gradual increase in size from the 08 pattern model, which was very shallow in depth, through the larger but wedge shaped haversacks of the 19 and 25 pattern sets to the much squarer 37 pattern version. This haversack was introduced with the rest of the webbing set in 1938 and the fitting instructions described it as:
Haversack- This consists of a rectangular bag of dimensions approximately 11 inches by 9 ½ inches by 4 inches,
and has a flap secured by two small straps and buckles.
The interior is longitudinally divided by means of a partition, which is in turn connected to the front of the bag by a small partition, to form two front compartments of equal size. These compartments contain the water bottle (in carrier) and rectangular mess tin.
On the back of the haversack near the top two tabs are fitted for attachment of the shoulder straps
and on the base two small buckles are fitted for the attachment of the diagonal portion of the shoulder straps.
Weather flaps are provided which fold underneath the flaps.
The haversack would be produced throughout the war and in all corners of the empire (we have previously covered Indian and South African variants). This example however is of British manufacture and the stamps on the underside of the top flap indicate it was manufactured by Bass Smeaton in 1941:
In service the waterbottle was soon removed from the haversack and hung from the brace ends to free up more space in the haversack for personal kit. The pack is small, despite being an improvement on its predecessors, but a surprisingly large amount of kit can be carried. Contents of course varied based on personal preference, timeframe and standard operating procedure. Whilst on the recent Monty’s Men trip the contents of my haversack were:
- Woollen jumper
- . Cap comforter
- . Woollen gloves
- . Spare socks
- . Mess tins
- . Emergency ration tin
- . Tea tin
- . Washroll with soap, razor, spare laces etc.
- . Towel
- . Hussif sewing kit
- . Mirror
- . Candle
- . Knife, fork and spoon
- . Waterproof cape (under top flap)
- . Tin mug (attached to outside)