RAF 37 Pattern Large Pack

In 1942 the RAF stopped purchasing new 1925 Pattern webbing and moved over to using the same 1937 Pattern webbing as the Army and Navy. This made a lot of sense in wartime when there was little point in producing three different patterns of webbing for the three services when one would do. Of course it could not be as simple as that, and the RAF insisted on having its 1937 Pattern webbing pre-dyed in blue-grey and it is an example of the large pack from that set we are considering today:

Although the blue-grey large pack was only produced and used with the 1937 Pattern set, the design itself dated back to the much earlier 1908 pattern webbing. The pack is a large rectangular design with a large top flap secured by a pair of straps and buckles:

On the rear are fixings to allow a pair of L-Straps to be attached:

Under the top flap are a pair of weather flaps, each with an eyelet to allow a piece of string to be used to secure the weather flaps together over the contents:

These consist of a pair of angled 2″ straps, with an angled 1″ buckle at their base:

And a pair of loops on the base:

A pair of supporting straps are threaded through the loops at the bottom so their buckles are at the base, next to the loops. They are then crossed over one another and secured to the small buckles at the top of the pack. The L-Straps are attached to the broad tabs at the top of the pack, with the thin part of the L-Strap attaching to the buckle of the supporting strap at the bottom- its harder to explain that assemble!

Under the top flap is the pack’s markings, in this case dating it to 1944:

Note the Air Ministry store’s code above. The RAF would continue to use its blue-grey webbing for many decades after the Second World War and these packs were more often issued for men transiting between stations and needing to carry a lot of equipment, rather than for field work.

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