In 1940 the British adopted the ‘bucket’ or sleeve type of water bottle carrier as a simpler and more lean way of manufacturing when compared to the skeleton carriers produced up until this time. Whilst MECo and MW&S produced full height water bottle sleeves from the start, many other companies were involved in their manufacture and some of these companies produced sleeve carriers that were shorter than the water bottle and left up to 1” of the bottle clear at the top of the carrier:
This pattern was produced in the early days of the sleeve water bottle carrier and as the war progressed the design was dropped in favour of a full sleeve. By shortening the height of the sleeve, the tabs holding the buckles had to be lengthened accordingly to ensure the bottle hung at the correct position on the equipment:
The three patterns of water bottle carrier- full height sleeve, shortened sleeve and skeleton- were all used interchangeably and men were issued with them dependent purely on what was in stores at the time so in photographs all three can be seen throughout the whole war, however after the end of the conflict the sleeve pattern was dropped in favour of the skeleton carrier once more. This was probably due to the difficulty in removing the bottle form the sleeve carrier, although the shortened pattern is slightly easier to use as there is more of the bottle free to grip.
If you would like to find out more about 1937 pattern webbing, its history and variants, please check out my book here.