For most of its life the Vickers gun used fabric belts reinforced with thin metal strips rivetted on. Whilst reasonably robust, there was always the possibility that the belts could become damaged in the field and so spare metal strips, rivets and a pair of pliers to set the rivets were supplied. These pliers were made of metal and had a flat spring between the handles to keep the jaws apart. The spring is missing on this example:
The head of the pliers has a male and female part that when squeezed together push the rivet halves together and expand them to make a solid connection:
Just below the female part of the plier jaws can be seen a manufacturer’s mark:
Although a little hard to make out, I believe this says they were made by Timmins and Sons. The arms of the pliers have a small piece of metal that is all that remains of the original flat spring:
The War Office in 1940 gave this guidance on using the pliers to repair belts:
Are issued for the repair of .303-in. and .5-in. belts and should be used as instructed below.
Remove the damaged strips and eyelets.
If a long strip requires fitting, first join the two faces of the strip by placing an eyelet in the hold of the dished end and inserting the punch of the tool into the unopened end of the eyelet, the opened end to rest upon the die, and gently press the handles together. Reverse the punch and repeat the operation. Keep the strip horizontal, and with the punch of the tool as the centre, move the handles of the tool backward and forward in a circular direction until the head of the eyelet is correctly shaped.
Put the strips into position on the belt, insert the eyelets, and repeat the above operation.
Short strips are fitted in a similar manner except that they do not require to be joined at one end before being placed on the belt.
Care must be taken to press the eyelets as far through the strips as possible before using the tool.