Rare pair of WW1 1908 Webbing

Rare pair of WW1 1908 Webbing "Economy Issue" Cartridge Carriers

Code: 56341


A very rare pair of WW1 1908 Webbing "Economy Issue" Cartridge Carriers only made from 1915 until 1917.

During WW1 as an economy measure to save on brass and assembly, from 1915 until 1917 a version of the 1908 Pattern Webbing Cartridge Carriers was instituted whereby the two piece brass press closure buttons of the standard Cartridge Carriers was replaced by a simple brass stud and “buttonhole” closure mechanism.

These were first produced in 1915 at the height of the materiel crisis for the British Army and production ended in 1917 since by this date the British manufacturing crisis was over.

Aside from the closure mechanism the economy version of the 1908 Cartridge Carriers is identical to the standard ones, a fact which makes them very difficult to recognise in period photographs unless one has a close up image of the soldier.

My last image in this listing is just such an image. It is dated October 1916 and shows British infantry on the Somme. All three of the soldiers in the image are equipped with Economy Issue Cartridge Carriers, this most easily recognisable on the soldier nearest the camera who has his bottom front pouch unfastened showing the flap has no closure button but a buttonhole instead.

This pair are in good service used condition with all studs and flap closures fully functioning. At some time, they have had one coat of Blanco however this has for the most part worn off leaving them with a near “unblancoed” looking finish overall.

The left side Cartridge Carrier has had one of its studs period depot replaced, this a common occurrence at the time as the economy studs’ fixings were a known weak spot, that of course only adding to their rarity today.

Both Cartridge Carriers are devoid of any markings, however as mentioned they can only have been made between 1915 and 1917.

Finding just one Economy Issue 1908 Webbing Cartridge Carrier is very difficult, finding a good matching pair is a near impossibility.