For many years I have used a pair of reproduction 1908 Pattern cartridge carriers on my 1908 Pattern webbing set, originals being difficult to track down and rarely cheap. Last year I had the opportunity to purchase an original right hand cartridge carrier for the set at a fairly cheap price. As ever, this came with a catch, and the carrier was missing the brass tip to one strap and more annoyingly was covered in thick green paint, having been used as a film prop by a costume house at some point. Four months of careful work removing the majority of the paint from the front has left me with a rough, but serviceable cartridge carrier and one that will fill a gap until a better example comes along.
The 1908 pattern cartridge carrier has five separate pockets, each of which can hold three chargers of five rounds for a total of 75 rounds of ammunition:
Each of these pockets is internally divided into three compartments:
As the depth of the pouch can change so dramatically depending on how much ammunition is carried, the pocket has two male press studs to ensure the lid is held securely regardless of the number of chargers carried:
To secure the carrier to the belt, both ends have a set of brass C-hooks:
These are accompanied by straps of thin webbing that are sewn above the lower row of pockets, pass around the back of the carrier and back up to secure with a press stud to the front of the carrier:
The 1908 pattern set was praised for its balance, which came from the figure 8 of straps in a complete set. Looking at the rear of the cartridge carriers, the 2″ wide tab to secure items to the bottom of the set can be seen hanging down, as can a strap running at 45 degrees that connects to the supporting straps on the pack:
The remnants of the green paint are much more visible here- I focused on cleaning the front and the areas that would be seen when the carrier was being worn! A buckle is fitted at the top of the carrier to allow it to be attached to the braces of the set:
This cartridge carrier is rough, and I only have the right hand example so far, but it has been very nice to replace my replica with a real example at long last and the quality of the webbing is far superior to the modern replicas, being thicker and better woven…now to find the left hand example!