WS88 Set Battery Pouch

The WS88 radio set was designed to fit into a pair of special pouches that were worn as part of the 1944 pattern webbing set by the radio operator in place of standard ammunition pouches. These pouches made it harder to spot a radio operator, a priority target for the enemy, and gave the radio operator easy access to his radio which was right in front of him on the chest. I have had a WS88 radio in my collection for a number of years, and the pouch which carries it. What I have been missing however was the other pouch in the set which carried the batteries for the radio. After a long hunt, an example finally came my way last year and it is this we are taking a look at today:

The pouch is very similar visually to an ammunition pouch, which was of course the intention, but dimensionally it is larger in all respects. The top flap that protects the batteries is secured by a quick release buckle on the front of the pouch:

The distinctive element of this pouch is a sewn slit on the right hand side that allows the cables that take the power to the main radio to pass through and attach to the radio in the opposite pouch:

The rear of the pouch has belt hooks and buckles to allow it to be worn on the 1944 pattern set:

Note the markings on the back which have a ZA stores code, indicating wireless equipment, and the letter ‘R’ indicating it is to be worn on the right side of the body:

The pouch has a single eyelet in the base to allow drainage, essential in jungle conditions where it is likely water will get into the pouch:

These pouches were introduced with the WS88 set at the very end of World War II, but they did not see issue until the post war period and this pouch is dated 1955:

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