KIT AND CLOTHING ISSUED TO
THE BRITISH ARMY DURING WW2
“Uniforms and Kit” issued to our British Soldiers during the Second World War.
No. 4 Mk. II Spike Bayonet
The most common bayonet associated with the No.4 Lee-Enfield Rifle; is the No. 4 Mk. II “Spike” bayonet.
This bayonet was a simplified version of the Mk. 1 bayonet (the type with the cruciform blade flukes) which reduced the cost in manufacture of it’s predecessor. The bayonet blade was 8 inches in length and it was forged in one complete unit with the socket head, making for a very strong – yet simple manufacturing process.
The bayonet was produced for Britain by the Scottish firm ‘Singer’, however the Long Branch firm of Canada and American versions made by ‘Savage Stevens Co.’ were issued to the British Forces. In all, over 3 million bayonets were manufactured by all producers and it was by far the most economical of all bayonets to be used by the Commonwealth.
S.M.L.E. No.1 Mk.111*
The S.M.L.E. (Short – Magazine Lee-Enfield) rifle equipped the British Army during the Great War, however it was superceded early in the Second World War by the No.4 Lee-Enfield rifle as the front line weapon. Despite this, the No.1 Mk111* saw notable service with the B.E.F (British Expeditionary Force) in France during 1940; as well as North Africa. It was later relegated to Home Guard duties, once stocks of the No.4 were sufficient.
1907 Pattern Bayonet with Scabbard
This bayonet was patented in 1907 (hence the title of 1907 Pattern) after a series of trials of various bayonet types. There is a clear influence upon this pattern of bayonet with regards to the Japanese Arisaka Type 30 bayonet, bearing in mind that all British made bayonets after 1913 were manufactured without the characteristic “hooked quillion”. The initial production started in January 1908 and had the curved Quillion (as did the Ariska bayonet). The company “Enfield” was by far the most prolific producer of this bayonet, however a large quantity was also produced by companies – Wilkinson, Sanderson and Chapman. Examples by Vickers and Mole were also produced, however not in as great a number as the previous manufacturers and these bayonets are now becoming quite collectable. Initial scabbards had a hidden chape but this was changed in 1908 to the external chape normally seen. The “button” or frog stud on the scabbard which protrudes and prevents the scabbard from pushing through the bayonet frog had three variations. On this example pictured, it shows the “tear drop” shaped button. The other two types of scabbard button were both round in shape, yet one size was larger than the other. The tear drop frog stud is more associated with pre-World War 1 and early First World War pattern, however in 1915 the round shaped alteration frog stud was approved and by 1916 the British were producing their scabbards with the “round” shape . When the No. 4 Lee-Enfield rifle was adopted by the British Army as their front line weapon in 1941, the No. 1 Mk 111 rifles with their 1907 pattern bayonet was relegated to Home Defence and other non frontline units. Howver, there were still many examples in use by the 8th Army in the Western Desert and 1907 pattern bayonets were also being produced for Naval issue up until 1944.
P14 (Rifle, .303 Pattern 1914)
Of British design and manufacture, this weapon is commonly referred to in collector circles – simply as the ‘P14’. Developed during the First World War, the rifle was very accurate and had an excellant sighting system. Henceforth, it was often favoured as a ‘sniper’ rifle. However it never replaced the S.M.L.E. No.1 Mk111 as the principal infantry weapon. It is more commonly known for the fact that it was out-sourced to the U.S.A for manufacture and sent to England under lend lease. It was relegated to the Home Guard and this is where the P14 received it’s association as being the rifle of “Dad’s Army”.
Rifle No.4 Mark 1
Although the S.M.L.E. No.1 Mk111 was an excellant rifle, it’s manufacturing process was very time consuming and demanded much machining and hand fitting. It was also fitted with open “V” sights, which some say were hard to master. This eventually led to a desire to simplify the manufacturing process and move the sights more rearward, so that they were closer to the eye. Earlier experiments (namely the Mk.5 & Mk.6) led to the adoption of the rear “peep” sights, so as to improve the marksmanship of infantry soldiers in combat. Although the No.4 was first issued (in limited numbers) in late 1939, it was officially adopted in February of 1941. Some of the old ‘Territorial’ soldiers preferred their trusted No.1 Mk.111, but the No.4 proved itself in action and became popular amongst the troops. It is easily recognizable by the protrusion of the barrel at the very end of the weapon. This necessitated the re-design of the bayonet which took on a number of forms; however it is the simply “spike” bayonet which is most common.
if you can assist with any information regarding this item.
World War 2 Soap Holder
A metal Soap Holder from the Second World War. Manufactured from aluminium, this holder provided a recepticle to protect the soap from attracting dirt and contaminants; as well as preventing the soap from soiling other items when stowed whilst in a ‘wet’ condition. This item was purchased from England and may have been utilised by Naval personnel, however this is merely conjecture and certainly could have been issued to any branch of the services. As this style of soap holder may also have been procured by other dominions within the British Commonwealth, it has been included in the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand kits. Image courtesy of the
Soap Holder Manufacture Date
Close up image of the manufacture details of the aluminium World War Two Soap Holder. Stamped ‘W.S.I’ – the soap holder bears the stamping of 1945 and a Government Broad Arrow. It is believed that the other letters and numerals may be patent details, however this is not confirmed. .
World War Two Soap
A cake of Soap from the Second World War. Manufactured by “W V W & Co.” – it bears the script ‘PERSEVERANDO – VINCES’ as well as the Government Broad Arrow. This item was purchased from England and came in the metal soap holder, which is also listed in this inventory. As it also may have been procured by other dominions within the British Commonwealth, it has been included in the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand kits.
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Pattern 37 Binocular Case
This Pattern 37 Binocular Case of Canadian manufacture (Zephyr Loom & Textile Limited or Z.L & T) was undoubtably issued to British troops during World War Two. The binocular case consists of a rigid shell, covered in khaki cotton webbing and secured by way of a single clip stud fastener. The binocular case is fitted with a single buckled fitted to both sides, so as to enable a standard Pattern 37 shoulder strap to be adhered. This then allows the binocular case to be carried as a seperate unit. Or alternatively, it may be secured to a set of pattern 37 webbing and be carried as a part of a kit. Much of this type of kit could still be found as surplus equipment in during the period 2000 to 2010; but is slowly starting to ‘dry up’ in terms of availability.
Pattern 37 Binocular Case (Inside View)
Inside view of the Pattern 37 Binocular Case, showing the manufacture stamping Z.L & T Ltd. of the company “Zephyr Loom & Textiles Limited”. The date of manufacture is shown, being 1943 and the government broad arrow inside a letter “C” to denote Canadian manufacture. Of note is the felt liner on the inside (at the bottom) of the carrier, so as to provide some cushioning and protection to the lenses of the binoculars, when in storage. Here the 1″ shoulder strap (brace) can be seen, which allows the individual to carry and discard the item as a single unit.
English Bristle Brush
This warranted bristle brush, made by ‘H.B & Co.’ was purchased in England during 2005. The date of manufacture is stamped ‘1940’. In the absence of any residue shoe polish (boot polish) or other leather type dressing; the possibility that it may be a brush used for the polishing of footwear – may be ruled out. It is possible that this brush may have been used for the removal of “lint” and dust from uniforms. Perhaps of the type used by an officer or ‘batman’ to a Commissioned Officer; to maintain the appearance of tunics, trousers etc. I would be interested to view any comments by other collectors from England or elsewhere, on this issue. As this item may have been issued (or purchased) by any other member of the British Commonwealth, it has been included amongst the kit for other nationalities. (Image courtesy of the Kokoda Historical Collection)
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