In the 1950s the British army introduced an update to their cotton ammunition bandoliers. The end of World War II had seen the MK 3 bandolier introduced with a light webbing carrying strap, the MK 3/1 added an extra row of cotton across the bottom edge to reinforce it. Originally issued to carry .303 ammunition, these bandoliers remained in service for the 7.62mm rounds as well. This example is typical of the post war bandoliers:The bandolier has five individual pockets, each secured with a brass wire hook, passed through a hole in the cotton and folded over to secure it:Each pocket would carry two five round chargers, giving a total of fifty rounds per bandolier. The webbing strap is 1 1/8″ wide herringbone twilled webbing:The reinforcing strap is clearly visible across the bottom:The bandolier has a number of stamps, this one dates the bandolier to 1967 and shows it is a MK 3/1:A stamp on the rear shows it was filled by Radway Green on 20th June 1967:There is also a random circular stamp which is poorly stamped so impossible to read:These bandoliers remained in service throughout the SLR era, the rounds being used to refill magazines during quiet periods. Here troops in the Falklands War can be seen with the disposable bandoliers slung over their chests:This account from the Falklands by Vince Bramley describes using these bandoliers:
The weight of the webbing was cutting into my shoulders, the bandoliers cutting into my neck. By resting the SLR on my webbing, I could reach up and pull then straps from my neck to help relieve the agony they gave me.
About three kilometres into the march, we stopped. I sat down quickly and swapped the bandolier straps over to my other shoulder, longing to rest for those vital five minutes we were given.
The sling issued for use with the Self Loading Rifle was an update of the design that had been in service with the British Army since before World War One. Although the basic design did not change, instead of pre-shrunken cotton webbing, the new sling used heavy duty woven nylon that was dyed a dark green:This material had a distinctive shine to it, making it easy to distinguish from the earlier patterns which had a Matt finish. The brass fittings at either end of the sling remained unchanged except they were now blackened rather than being left as plain brass, they were however still attached with a pair of brass rivets:Like most rifles, the SLR had a pair of sling swivels. One securely attached to the butt which could only move back and forth:And a second one towards the front of the rifle, just in front of the gas block, which was on a swivel so could rotate around the axis of the barrel:In Northern Ireland it became common to attach the sling to just the rear sling swivel of the SLR, the free end being strapped around the soldier’s wrist to prevent someone from snatching the rifle and trying to run off with it. Alistair Mackenzie was a soldier in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s with the Parachute Regiment and in his book ‘Pilgrim Days’ he remembers:
The primary weapon was the 7.62 SLR, and one end of the sling was attached to the butt of the rifle, with the other end attached to the holder’s wrist. This was to stop the weapon being snatched away in a melee.
This sling has the faintest indications of a black ink maker’s stamp on it, but it is too faint to read and doesn’t provide enough contrast for the camera to pick up.
The L4, like the Bren before it, had a dedicated spare parts wallet containing items that were used to clean the LMG and make simple field repairs to keep the weapon in action. The wallet was very similar to its predecessor, but with different pockets and contents to reflect the different needs of the L4. The wallet was made of webbing, pre-dyed green:The wallet rolls up and is secured with two staples and tabs:A number of pockets are inside the wallet to hold the various contents:Inside the wallet are a number of different accessories:Like the earlier Bren wallet, there is a pocket for the oil bottle:An un-flapped one for the pull-through:One pocket for the takedown tool:And one for the spare parts tin:The spare parts tin is now made of plastic rather than metal. The big change from the earlier design however, is that there is a pocket to carry the multi-piece cleaning rod:The L4 had a chromed barrel so no spare was carried and the spare barrel bag often ditched in favour of just the spares wallet, hence the need for a multi piece cleaning rod in the spares wallet to allow it to be maintained with just the smaller wallet.
The 1978 army pamphlet on the L4 lists the contents as:
Spare parts wallet
Top left – Combination tool
Centre – Oil can containing rifle oil
Top right – Pull through, flannelette and tube of graphite grease (if carried)
Bottom – Spare parts tin
Inside flap – Cleaning rod in two sections for cleaning the barrel and chamber.
Spare parts tin. This contains the following items:
Extractor, extractor stay and extractor spring.
Firing pin spring
In addition the following SLR spare parts may also be carried in the spare parts tin:
Extractor, extractor spring and extractor plunger