Australian Produced Map Case

The Australians produced a wide range of webbing products during World War II, most copied directly from British designs. One of these was the map case, based very closely on the pre-economy pattern produced in the United Kingdom:

It is perhaps instructive to lay this Australian produced example next to a British version of the same pattern and the similarities and differences become apparent. Here the Australian example is on the left and the British on the right. The Australian example is almost identical, but the buckles to secure the carrying strap are closer to the map case body than in the UK version:

Both have a fibre back board made of tufnel, with brass clips to hold the celluloid inner sheet. The top cover is secured with stitching in the Australian version rather than brass rivets used in the British made example:

Note also how the manufacturer’s mark is stamped in black ink on the back of the case, here by CG Hartley and Co:

Looking under the top cover we can see that both the cases have celluloid sheets inside to go over the maps and protect them, sadly the Australian example has degraded badly over the years and shrunk and warped:

Under the top cover of both cases are loops to hold chinagraph pencils and a rectangular celulloid protractor:

These map cases were used extensively in the Far East by both the Australians and other commonwealth countries during both the war and through into the Vietnam war. They seem to be easily available on the surplus market and even shipped from Australia they are very affordable.

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