Eton College OTC Water Bottle Carrier

The inter-war years were lean times for the Mills Equipment Company. Their usually purchaser- the British Army- had millions of surplus sets of 1908 webbing in stores and so were unlikely to need any new webbing orders for some time. Although there were sales to the RAF and the Royal Navy, the company was still looking for any potential markets it could. Overseas sales helped the company through these hard times as did small commercial orders to bespoke units. The Officer Training Corps of the various British public schools were markets for Mill’s products. British public schools often had officer training corps for the boys and these units were equipped out of the College funds rather than form the War Office. Although the orders were small, Mills was happy to supply items of off the shelf webbing and today we are looking at a water bottle carrier that was owned by Eton College Officer Training Corps between the wars:

The most obvious detail is that the fittings are made of white metal rather than brass and this can be seen in the buckles used to hold the carrier to the rest of the web set:

The white metal is also used for the tips to the securing straps, but not for the press stud which is made of brass:

We can identify the carrier’s origin quite nicely as it has been marked on the inside with Eton College’s initials in black ink:

There is also a rack number of ‘36’ stamped on the inside:

The carrier can be seen here in a 1940 image of a member of the Eton College Officer Training Corps, the cadet wearing a commercial pattern of webbing with white metal fittings and a water bottle carrier identical to this example:

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