Economy Respirator Haversack

Today we have an interesting variation of the haversack for the World War II General Service Respirator. This haversack differs from most examples in being made of heavy weight canvas and having a simplified design:

The haversack has simple holes in the base for air to enter the respirator’s canister, rather than the brass grilles more commonly seen:

The internals are also simplified, with no pockets for anti gas ointment and eyeshields, instead just a pair of compartments for the canister and face piece of the mask:

The fittings on the haversack are made of iron rather than brass, so the D-rings for the steadying cord are now rusty:

The shoulder strap is sewn at one end:

Whilst the other end has a simple wire D-loop and friction buckle to adjust the length:

All this begs the question who were these bags made for. It has been suggested that they were private purchase items, economy versions for the home front or perhaps the Home Guard. Whilst their intended users is not clear, this particular example seems to have been used by a serviceman as he has inked his number under the top flap:

The date and manufacturer’s initials are stamped at the very bottom of the interior, and although it is hard to make out there is also a /|\ mark after the date 1940:

This would suggest a government contract at least, so if not the military then at least someone like the GPO. If anyone can provide definitive answers on this haversack, please comment below.

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