B55 (EARLY)

1937 WHITE SETS

The tri-service white 1937 pattern set entered Royal Naval service in 1951, this white fabric version was intended to do away with white blancoed parade webbing yet ironically these sets were frequently covered in plimsole whitener to enhance their gleam which kind of defeated the object, WW2 white blanco had a slightly creamy matt finish quite unlike the stark glossy whites seen today, this pattern was replaced from the 1980s by very similarly styled nylon webbing.

The C.P.O. below wears the Queen's crown cap badge introduced in 1952 at the beginning of Her Majesty the Queen's reign, the long watch coat is seen with the white pistol set, on sentry duty the holster could be worn below the ammunition pouch but on parade it was always worn opposite.

The Webley .38 mark 4 and the similar Royal Enfield number 2 mark 1 revolvers were retired from Naval service in 1963, Browning high powered 9mm automatics have been continuously developed, the L9A1 version was adopted in 1963 and remains in service in 2015.

Shaped very much like a 1925 pattern R.A.F. holster this type had an external sleeve for a cleaning rod and has three rear brass hooks the top one to join beneath the ammunition pouch.

Identical in every way to the 37 pattern khaki ammunition pouch both versions could carry two 12 round packs of .38 ammunition and had a bottom sleeve fitted for a holster hook.

The white 37 belt never had rear brass buckles as braces were not worn with this set, otherwise the belt was the same as the earlier khaki version.

The long lace up white gaiters were only used by the Royal Navy whilst the other two services used the small short white anklets.

The rather splendid long white gaiters were also worn from the 1950s by the Royal Naval field gun teams that raced each year at the Royal tournament at Olympia in London from 1907 until 1999, teams from Portsmouth, Devonport, The Fleet Air Arm and until 1960 Chatham competed (I always cheered Pompey) Chatham are shown below with Devonport on the far track leading, guns were the venerable 12 pounders.

Naval rating on parade 1970s, in 1956 the white plastic topped cap was introduced the jean collar was joined to the waistcoat and a front zip was added onto the jumper.

The very fine FN 7.62mm Self Loading Rifle with its 20 round magazine was originally developed in Belgium and was license built by many nations with around two million being produced overall serving NATO well, the British made SLR was designated L1A1 and saw R.N. service from 1955 to 1994.

Once again identical to its khaki predecessor the bayonet frog was the only piece of rifle webbing developed for this pattern.

By the mid 1980s the small twin strap anklets used by the other services and termed short gaiters in Navy speak had replaced the long lace up variety on most R.N. parade grounds.

The latest real plastic webbing is called courlene, a belt similar in appearance to the canvas version above and a bayonet frog for the SA80 rifle are shown.

The troubled SA80 first entered service in 1987 and was manufactured until 1994, from the year 2000 some 20,000 examples were re-worked to correct faults becoming the SA80 model L85A2.

 

 

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