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The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2
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Author:  6 Commando [ Sun Feb 26, 2012 19:16 pm ]
Post subject:  The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

I'm writing this thread as it's a major question which often comes up on the forum. Perhaps one of the moderators will see fit to pin this topic as a reference for others. It's been a topic of research for me and where possible it is supported with photographs and extracts from regulations.

The information below excludes R.N. Commando and similar units.

Webbing

The Royal Navy entered WW2 with two sets of webbing, 1908 pattern for those ratings armed with rifles and 1919 pattern for those armed with pistols. These were worn with long, calf length leggings fastened with laces and either one buckle at the top, or two buckles one at the top and one at the bottom, the latter being the earlier pattern, introduced just after WW1 and the single buckle variant being issued from the mid 1930s, both patterns can be seen being used in WW2.

Image
Above; men of a boarding party armed with pistols and 1919 pattern webbing equipment belts, pouches and holsters.

Image
Above; a small landing party, the Petty Officer is armed with 1919 equipment while the other ratings wear 1908 pattern equipment.

It was only towards the end of the war that 1937 pattern equipment including the short anklets started to be issued on a very limited basis for parade and shore/landing party use, mainly in the far east, notably in the occupation of Hong Kong in 1945 and by commonwealth Navies.

Image
Above; men of the R.C.N wearing 1937 pattern webbing belts and long Navy leggings.

Image
Above; men of the R.N. involved in the occupation of Hong Kong, 1945. Note the mix of long leggings and anklets and the use of only one basic pouch.


Blanco

Blanco is another area often questioned when wearing webbing in R.N. uniform. The official regulations state that dirty webbing should be scrubbed clean then blancoed with 'khaki' blanco, no number or further information is given. It is to be noted that blancoing is only expected if webbing becomes dirty, so it would be fair to assume that newly issued webbing was worn bare until it needed cleaning.

Apart from 'khaki' there is evidence of light green blanco being used on naval equipment, notable in some colour film of the period and blanco on ex-naval stocks of 1908 webbing sold off post war.

For parade use webbing was worn in khaki or green, if judged by extant photos which show a light grey in black and white photography of the period. Again it was only towards the end of the war that webbing began to be whitened for parade and once again this first seems to appear in the far east where the army too were liberally whitening equipment once a muddy faded green for concealment in the jungle.

Image
Aove; King George VI presenting the King's Colour to the R.C.N. Note the shade of the webbing, ratings armed with rifles wearing 1908 belts and the Petty Officer escort for the colour wearing a 1919 pattern belt and cutlass.

Image
Above; Mountbatten inspecting an R.N. honour guard in 1945, note PO nearest camera wearing whitened 1908 belt, the rest in 1937 pattern belts. Also note officer in leather leggings.

Image
Above; Admiral's inspection, 1945, with whitened leggings, slings and 1908 belts.

Author:  LeMaitre [ Sun Feb 26, 2012 19:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

The khaki blanco is normally seen as No.64.
The green could be 'web blanco' or 'Standard Shade' which became No.97.
Pegasus Militaria are doing reproductions if you need some.
http://www.blancoandbull.com/blanco-history/

Author:  6 Commando [ Sun Feb 26, 2012 19:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

Thanks Le Maitre but a group I'm part of has had some made up in the original 'cakes', sorted for blanco.

There's no information to state those were the actual colours used by the Navy but it'd be a safe guess that the khaki was No. 64, the Navy green colour is lighter and more yellow than No. 97, not sure exactly what it was but it might have been a Naval contract colour, there were of course colours other than 97 and KG3 available as the British Army started to use post war depending on location, regiment, company, whether the sun was out or not, etc. :P

Author:  LeMaitre [ Sun Feb 26, 2012 20:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

Lighter and more green than No.97 sounds like No.103?

Author:  Nigel A [ Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

Thanks for putting these photos up, Simon: very helpful!

Re '08 patt. webbing for shore/landing parties: presumably ratings wore 'musketry order' (belt, cross straps, cartridge carriers and bayonet)? I've seen the 1940 RN webbing pages on Karkee Web, showing a rating in full '08 marching kit, but suppose they wouldn't have used or needed to wear that very often?

Author:  6 Commando [ Mon Feb 27, 2012 21:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

From photos of the time it would seem musketry or battle order was worn (sometimes with just the water bottle).

To be honest I would say it depends on the I've attached a shot of two men who appear to have haversack and water bottle attached to their 1908 pattern webbing at the hips but nothing on their backs.

Another example are photos of full battle order being used in the landings in Hong Kong, albeit 1937 pattern equipment. Notice helmets being worn but rating's caps kept close, attached to the back of the small packs.

The reoccupation of Hong Kong is an interesting case as R.N. and Commonwealth forces were involved, some officers and men went ashore in Navy whites, some in KD, some with 1919 and 1908 pattern, some with 1937 pattern and you see Stens, Thompsons, Lanchesters and SMLEs, it's so late in the war there's a real hotch potch, some equipment was probably issued specifically for the operation where naval stocks of 1908 pattern were not sufficient.

Image

Image

Author:  6 Commando [ Mon Feb 27, 2012 22:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

LeMaitre wrote:
Lighter and more green than No.97 sounds like No.103?


More of a yellow shade, less green, more a spring green than the watered down mushy pea green of No. 97. :P A good illustration is the cutlass frog here on Karkee Web http://www.karkeeweb.com/patterns/1919/ ... cut_1.html

Looking at it I agree it could well be 103.

For reenactment purposes I intend to blanco a pair of Naval leggings in No. 97, although not quite the right shade it'll allow me to use blancoed 1908 pattern (so treated as it's mainly for Army portrayals) in an R.N. setting too.

Author:  SteveCobden [ Tue Feb 28, 2012 16:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

Just to add, there did officially exist 1919 pattern with accoutrements for rifle equipment, though I have not come across any photos of it being worn outside of the manual

Author:  Monty Stubble [ Tue Feb 28, 2012 20:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

Anyone got a cutlass?

Author:  The_Commander [ Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

No but id like one, and a frog to go with it.

Author:  LeMaitre [ Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

Which is the correct pattern cutlass for WW2?
There is a repro 1804 pattern but I would think that too early?

Author:  Mike Penver [ Wed Feb 29, 2012 18:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

LeMaitre wrote:
Which is the correct pattern cutlass for WW2?
There is a repro 1804 pattern but I would think that too early?

The 1887 pattern I believe. Last used in WW2 boarding the Altmark.

Sorry, there's also an 1889 and a 1900 pattern both have 28in blades.

Author:  Navy Rate [ Wed Feb 29, 2012 20:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

Monty Stubble wrote:
Anyone got a cutlass?


I've got a reproduction Enfield Rifle Pattern 1859 Cutlass Bayonet for Victorian period reenactment.

http://www.atlantacutlery.com/p-1538-en ... yonet.aspx

Author:  Monty Stubble [ Tue Mar 06, 2012 19:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

Must be like hen's teeth. Been searchiong for one but not so much as a sniff!

Author:  FoxcommandoRN [ Sun Apr 15, 2012 15:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

I made me own

Author:  Monty Stubble [ Thu Apr 19, 2012 20:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Royal Navy and Webbing in WW2

Lets see a phot then

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