British Army Webbing Tool Bag

By far the most common tool bags used by the British Army in the Second World War were those made of leather. This pattern was not exclusive, however, and a number of webbing tool bags were also available for service and the two patterns seem to have been used interchangeably. The tool bag itself is made of webbing, stiffened with fibreboard and is rectangular in shape with two large handles to allow it to be carried:

The bag has a large top flap that is secured by a suitcase style latch that could be locked if required to prevent items from being filched:

The bag itself was open inside and could carry a variety of tools depending on the role of the person using it. In my case it just has my different /|\ marked tools in it for safe keeping:

The weight of these tools is quite considerable and so the handles pass under the bottom of the bag to help support the weight, with eight brass studs on the bottom to help lift the base up and away from the ground to stop damp seeping into the base of the tool bag:

The markings on the bag are not very distinct, but can be seen on the lip of the bag and show it was made by MECo in 1945:

These tool bags were used in a variety of locations. Every armoured vehicle and lorry would have had a tool bag with some basic equipment to facilitate roadside repairs and the bags were also used by the RAF to hold tools for aircraft maintenance as well as members of the mechanical trades such as the RAOC and REME. Post war they were a useful tool bag so they were used extensively in the civilian world and many were used until they fell apart making them rather scarcer than you might expect.


  1. Quite similar to ones I used.
    We originally had personal tool boxes but those were withdrawn in favour of large tool cabinets on wheels that could be signed out and rolled to the A/C under maintenance, and smaller ones of different sizes for specific trades or jobs not needing an entire board, even ‘line pouches’ with just a flashlight/screwdriver/panel opening tool you wore around your waist. On the F5, ours included a gun ‘overcenter’ tool in case the cylinder needed a little persuasion to turn into position.
    There were tool bags included in some boards to cart the ones you needed to the A/C or inside in the case of larger ones and reduce the chances for loss or damage, some were just soft canvas bags but others looked similar to the one shown, although later on they would carry a stack of foam filled plastic trays with cutouts for each individual tool to easily spot a missing one.

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