A few weeks back I covered the 40 Pattern Haversack. When I bought the haversack it came with a 37 pattern shoulder brace as a shoulder strap that I took off and didn’t pay much attention to initially (obviously too excited by the haversack!). when I did get around to looking at it, I realised it was a little more interesting than I had first thought.
During the Second World War a number of changes were made to items of 37 pattern webbing to allow smaller manufacturers to produce them and to save time and resources in their manufacture and this shoulder brace exhibits some of these features:
The first economy measure is that the tips of the brace have steel tips, rather than the typical brass version. Steel is less durable than brass as it is subject to rusting, however brass was a strategic supply needed for munitions so the shorter life of the shoulder brace was clearly thought to be a price worth paying (plus it is still in good condition 80 years later):
The second change is to move from a single, reduction woven strap to one made up of three parts. The two 1″ portions are sewn to a 2 inch piece of webbing, rather than being one piece:
The ends of the 2″ piece are then folded and sewn around the 1″ piece to shape the shoulder flare:
This then allowed other manufacturers, who lacked Mills reduction weaving looms to manufacture the braces, essential for increasing output in wartime.