We have looked at various aspects of the WS36 MkIII radio set over the last few months, including looking at a reconstruction of a radio operator here. One component I used in that reconstruction, but haven’t looked at in detail yet is the officer’s headset for the radio. Two different headsets were produced for the radio, a standard set and an officer’s set with a clip on microphone. I don’t have an example of the standard headset yet, however we can look at the officer’s set in detail today. The manual for the radio includes a helpful diagram of the headset and its component parts:
The headset attached to the main radio using a multiple pin rubber plug that helps keep moisture out and aids the sets use in tropical conditions where corrosion is a continual problem with electronic components:
The headset itself has a webbing cradle to go over the head and this supports the two earpieces, with a wire brace passing around the back of the head to hold them in the correct orientation over the ears:
What makes this headset specifically of the officer’s pattern is the microphone which is positioned part way down the cable and has a large spring clip that allows it to be attached to the collar of a man’s shirt so it is next to his mouth but hands free so he can make notes, look at maps etc.:
I am unsure which of the two headsets is the rarer, however any items relating to the Mk III version of the WS38 set are scarce so it is nice to have this headset to accompany my radio, and the hunt for the standard version continues!
Might the low profile headset and microphone also have, either deliberately or serendipitously, helped lower the ‘sniper bait’ an officer’s equipment had a tendency to add ?
I’ve read that some ditched their pistols and carried a rifle in hopes of a sniper’s first cursory glance skipping over them.
Given the already shortened lifespan of a junior officer in front line combat, every little bit helps 🙂
The US at least got around it a little by issuing Lt’s and 2Lt’s rifles or carbines and providing a lot more troops with sidearms to help with that aspect.