Australian 1937 Pattern Basic Pouch

Although the Australians would go on to develop a distinctive and much larger basic pouch as part of their 1937 Pattern webbing equipment, initial production was of pouches to the same dimensions as the rest of the Empire and although scarce in the UK, these earlier standard size pouches are not as desirable as the later, larger designs so fetch a more reasonable price on the collector’s market. Production of the pouches seems to have started in 1941 or 1942, although it is hard to draw any conclusions from the pouches themselves as frequently the markings have worn away like many other items of Australian made webbing. The pouch itself is made with the distinctive, slightly ‘stripy’ webbing often seen on Australian produced web equipment:

This pouch is a Mk II 37 pattern pouch and is fractionally smaller than the Mk III so won’t fit Sten gun magazines in it with the lid secured. The lid of the pouch fastens with a single, smooth, brass snap fastener. Australia used textured snaps until around 1943 so this pouch presumably dates from after 1943:

The underside of the female snap is marked ‘Made in Australia’:

The front corners are stitched on the exterior of the pouch, rather than the interior, giving a distinctive lip to the front edge of the lid:

On the rear of the pouch there are two brass C-Hooks to attach it to the belt and the usual buckle at the top:

The pouch is marked D/|\D to indicate Australian Army property and there was a manufacturer’s stamp but that has worn off to the point of being illegible:

Webbing production in Australia was spread out across a number of different factories and this fantastic image shows the interior of the Ruskin Motor Bodies Ltd. Factory during the war with production of 37 pattern webbing in full swing and men and women hard at work making different items of webbing. Women are stitching together the pieces of webbing, whilst the man at the front left seems to be attaching press studs:

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