British Army Heavy Rescue Pack

Today we are looking at a particularly large webbing pack that was issued in the early Cold War era to hold heavy rescue gear:

Like a lot of post-war webbing, this is made in pre-dyed green webbing. It would have held supplies such as a rescue axe, rope and a blanket for a casualty. It is about 50% bigger than a standard 1908 style large pack. The two straps along the left hand side of the pack are undone to allow it to be folded out:

Note the use of leather to reinforce the seams. The central portion has a large pocket and securing strap:

Logic would suggest that this is where the blanket would be stowed, offering extra padding to the back where it was worn against the body. Loops are fitted to the inside of the two flaps that fold over this and would have housed the actual rescue tools and equipment:

The pack has the standard straps and buckles to allow a pair of 37-Pattern style L-Straps to be attached to allow it to be worn with a set of webbing:

This pack is one of three I owned at one point and the markings show that they were made in 1963 and 1964 by MWS and LSM and were given standard stores codes and at least some had /|\ markings on them:

I have struggled to find many specifics about these packs, including the packing list and images of them in use. My suspicion is that many of them were strategic reserves in case of the Cold War going hot and so were probably stored just in case before being sold off as surplus after the fall of the USSR. Much of the post war Civil Defence kit was released onto the collectors market in the late 1990s as the country scaled down from the Cold War. If anyone can shed further light on the use and contents of these packs please comment below.

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