The India Pattern water bottle had been introduced into service in the nineteenth century and was a squatter and wider design than the standard kidney shaped bottles used by the British Army. It was originally made in enameled steel, but in 1900 the regulations were updated to make it from aluminium with a drab woolen cover. These bottles were sold in the UK for use by officers, however in India itself examples were produced for use by ordinary soldiers. Here a soldier in Mesopotamia in the Great War can be seen wearing one of these distinctive water bottles:
Today we are looking at an example that is believed to have been produced in India itself:
The bottle is made of aluminium and this has been covered with a woolen felt layer before everything is sewn into a cotton drill outer cover, the layers just visible at the shoulder where the fabric has worn away:
The bottle has a single spout at the top with a wooden bung in it:
This is made of some sort of hard wood, rather than cork, and is a firm fit into the spout. The bottle retains the kidney shape typical of British Empire bottles, allowing it to fit more comfortably around the curvature of the wearer’s hip:
It is very hard to date these bottles as they were manufactured for many decades, indeed there is some evidence that Bangladesh continued to manufacture and use them through into the 1960s and 1970s.
The seller of this bottle seemed to have found a large batch of them, some with specially manufactured webbing cradles that followed World War II Indian practice, but were shorter and wider to fit this shape of bottle, quite how they all turned up in the UK is a bit of a mystery, but it has been nice to add one to my collection.