Officer’s Camp Bed

Officers had a large range of folding camp equipment available to them, both sold by various large department stores and supplied by the government. There were several patterns in use simultaneously, depending on where you bought it from and your budget, but they all had to be robust enough for life on campaign and able to fold down easily for transport. Today we are looking at one example of the folding officer’s camp cot or bed. This version is made with a folding wooden frame and a canvas bed portion:

This camp bed has had leather reinforcements set into the canvas at points where the wood passes through it, there is a possibility that it was actually made in India as I have seen similar designs marked up with Indian Army acceptance marks, but this example does not have any manufacturer’s marks or acceptance marks on it.

The design will be familiar to anyone who has used modern British Army folding camp beds and consists of scissor like legs, two folding side struts and removable end struts that tension the whole bed together, although this example is a lot easier to assemble than the modern aluminium and nylon versions.

The original owner of the camp bed has stencilled his name onto one of the legs:

The fittings that hold all the wooden parts together are made of iron, originally painted black, but now a little rusty:

The bed folds down into a compact package that makes it suitable for storage and transport. It is a little floppy like this, so would originally have been secured with some straps. Since taking this photo I have found out a couple of webbing straps to help hold it all together:

Sadly, after eighty years, the canvas on this bed is rather fragile sk I don’t want to risk putting any weight on it so it is for display only.

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