During the early years of the Second World War the Australian Army soldier was issued with a pair of woolen anklets for use in the field rather than the webbing examples issued to British forces. These were made of woolen cloth in a brown-green and were worn over the boots to protect the ankles and foot. A number of variations can be found, although most seem to have fastened up with three buttons and three button holes. Here we see two variations:
These are unissued examples, and came with the buttons attached to the button holes with cotton. There are two variations here, some with metal buttons and some with plastic:
The buttons are loose to allow them to be sewn on at the correct position to fit different sized ankles. The inside of the anklets is lined with cotton drill to help strengthen the anklet and prevent them from wearing out so quickly:
The two different anklets have differing makers marks, one is a sewn in label and the other is an ink stamp:
The anklets were used in the desert until the mid war period and then by the Volunteer Defence Corps for the rest of the war. Here an Australian soldier can be seen wearing the anklets behind the Bren gunner in the Western Desert:
For a while, in the 1890s, the French issued a similar pair of anklets, made from what was called greatcoat cloth in a shade of grey and which also had buttons on the side. Aside from the color, there were leather reinforcing strips front and back. They were replaced by leather anklets lacing up the front.
If I’d seen these (the Australian ones) in a photo, I would have assumed they were canvas rather than wool.