I have been relying on Australian sellers to add pieces of World War II Australian kit to my collection for a while now. Unfortunately since this year’s unpleasantness, it is now taking three or four times as long to ship from down under than it did before so this area of collecting has been put on the back burner a little. Happily a friend of mine has decided to clear out some of his stock of surplus webbing, including some nice Australian pieces.
The entrenching tool cover is designed to hold the head and helve of the two part ‘Sirhind’ type entrenching tool which had been reintroduced into Commonwealth service in World War II. The Australian cover copies the British design, which is itself an adaptation of the First World War pattern. The cover consists of a kidney shaped bag in which the head of the entrenching tool can be carried, with a pair of one inch friction buckles to allow it to be hung from the brace ends:
Note how the weave of the cover is much tighter that that of the webbing straps. These consist of a pair of loops to hold the helve across the top of the carrier, and a strap and buckle to tighten it all up and prevent items from falling out:
The rear of the carrier is plain, but a couple of points to note are the slightly striped appearence of the webbing, much like Indian webbing, but of finer quality, the rivets used to prevent the cover from splitting apart where the stitching ends to allow you to enter the entrenching tool head, and the two ink inspector’s marks:
The inside of the cover is lined with a coarse white cotton and stamped in distinctly Australian Style in purple with a D/|\D ownership mark and the details of the manufacturer, Harris Washers and Gaskets of Collingwood, New South Wales: