No10 Signals Haversack

The standard wartime WS38 set was carried in a webbing cradle that was attached to the chest of the wearer. This worked fine in the field and the radio was easily accessible for use, it was however very exposed to the weather and rather bulky as the batteries and accessories had to be housed in a separate satchel. Late in the war the army began developing an update to the WS38 MK II set, the MK III set and to accompany this they developed a manpack carrier for it that housed all the components for the radio in a single pack that could be worn on the back. Today these backs are fairly scarce but I have recently been able to add one to my collection and tonight we are going to have a look at it. As I do not currently own a MK III set, my MK II is standing in- please be aware that this is incorrect, but it does serve to illustrate how the pack works rather nicely. I have seen this pack described on line as the signals satchel No 10 (although I am unsure if this is the official designation).

From the outside, at first glance, the pack merely looks like an enlarged 37 pattern haversack, made of pre shrunk cotton webbing:

It shares the same attachment points as the standard haversack on the rear which allow a pair of 37 pattern L-straps to be attached:

Delving further however some key points can be noted. On the left hand side of the pack is an opening to allow the wires for headphones and microphone to be passed out of the pack. Beneath this there are six press studs:

These allow the whole bottom corner of the pack to be opened up:

This is where the battery for the radio sits and this opening allows the battery to be quickly changed without the need to open the pack or even take it off the back if you have a helper. The radio pack’s stores code ZA26516 is stamped on the underside of the top flap:

Note also the two press studs. These allow one side of the flap to be folded diagonally across and secured:

This allows the aerial to stick out of the top of the pack, but with the main part of the radio protected from the weather:

Under the top flap a pair of weather flaps are fitted, secured with a top strap and buckle:

Inside the pack is space to carry the radio, headphones and microphone. Two small pockets are fitted at front and back, as best I can determine the rear one holds an aerial broken down into small lengths and the front one an instruction card, much like that used on the WS88 set:

I am unsure if these packs did see service during World War II, if they did it would have been right at the very end of the conflict as they were introduced in 1945 along with the MK III radio. I am now going to have to keep my eyes open for the later pattern of radio to go with this pack…

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