Canadian Utility Pouches

Continuing my slow acquisition of Canadian made 37 Pattern webbing, today we are going to look at the Canadian made example of the Utility pouches. These pouches were issued as supplementary pouches for the carrying of additional ammunition and were sized to comfortably accept six Bren magazines, six 2” mortar bombs or anything else that a soldier could stuff inside. They were unit rather than personal issue items and as such were not to be blancoed. The design had been introduced in Britain in 1938 and featured a set of loops under the top flap for rifle grenade blank cartridges. This feature was very rapidly dropped form British manufacture, but interestingly the Canadians used it on their examples throughout the war. From the front, this pair look very similar to British construction but in the rich yellow shade of Canadian webbing:

The design consists of two large pouches, joined at the top by a webbing yoke and with a thinner steadying strap at their base, as can be seen on the reverse:

The extra depth of the pouches is very apparent in profile, also not the smooth snap fastener used to hold the top flap down. Again the quality of this fastener is excellent:

The three components of this set (the two pouches and yoke) are all made by Zephyr Loom and Textile but in different years and batches and this is seen by the difference in ink stamps and font styles used to mark the components:

Note also the ballistite cartridge loops that are visible on the underside of the top flaps and the large /|\ within a ‘C’ acceptance stamp for the Canadian military. The pouches could be worn in a number of ways, including one in front and one behind the body and with both on the front of the chest above the basic pouches. The fitting instructions gave this advice:

Utility Pouches- These are carried, filled, in regimental vehicles and are slung over the personal equipment when going into action. The front and rear pouch will be ready connected together by means of the yoke…The long narrow strap on the back of the front pouch which passes through the loop on the back of the rear pouch, is secured round the waist to hold the pouches in position. If necessary, the yoke will be adjusted to suit the physique of the wearer.     

Filled weights for the utility pouches with suggested loads were set out as follows:

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