1939 Pattern Entrenching Tool

The 1937 pattern webbing did not initially have an entrenching tool issued with it. By 1939 however, it was clear that some form of digging implement would be needed for quickly making a shell scrape to get under cover. Although the two part entrenching tool would be reintroduced later in the war, the initial design was a short, wooden handled spade of the Linneman pattern- the original design having been developed by a Danish officer of the same name:

The design was a very heavy duty one, with the head secured by multiple rivets and a rear piece that made it very strong for use when digging heavy soil:

The blade itself was painted half way down its length and had a contoured blade to make it easier to dig:

The handle was shaped to narrow along the shaft and have a slight bulb at the end to allow it to fit into the hand comfortably:

The date of 1940, together with a /|\ mark and the maker’s name of ‘Brades’ is stamped into the metal work:

The handle is also marked with some numbers and letters although whether these are a soldier’s service number or a rack number is not entirely clear:

The 1939 pattern entrenching tool was a solid, functional design but had some important drawbacks. The lack of a pick ace or mattock end made it difficult to use in light soils and when worn on the belt in its carrier, the handle hung down a long way and was clearly awkward:

The design was quickly dropped and the old two part Sirhind style of entrenching tool reintroduced. In 1941 it was reduced to a training store and the design was officially withdrawn in 1947. Today the tool is rare, and the cover even more so. I will be on the lookout for the cover to go with this tool, but it is nice to have at least picked up the tool to start off the set.

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