The end of the Second world War left Canada with large stocks of 1937 Pattern web equipment. Stocks of equipment were sold off as surplus or gifted to European Allies and by 1949 Canada was involved in user trials of new types of Canadian and American equipment. The Korean War ended the proposed Americanisation of the Canadian Army and Canada embarked on wide ranging program of modernisation based primarily on Canadian designs.
In 1951 a new pattern of web equipment was approved for the Canadian Army, known as Web Equipment 1951 Pattern (WE'51) . In concept it was similar to the 1937 Pattern, however many features were drawn from American web designs. It was made in a tightly woven green (Olive Drab No. 7) cotton web with oxidised blackened brass fittings. Three rows of eyelets were provided on the belt for the attachment of equipment items.
WE'51 was still in production after the introduction of WE'64 and was used by the Regular Force well into the late 1960s. It was on issue to the Reserves until the adoption of Web Equipment 1982 Pattern.
With the exception of the pistol holster, brace and brace attachment, WE'51 was not whitened for use by Provost.
Although WE'51 was in production during the Korean War, it was not issued to troops in Korea in any quantity until late 1953, by which time the major fighting was over.
WE'51 is still issued to prisoners in the Military Prison in Edmonton as it is difficult and time consuming to clean and maintain.
The basic set of 1951 Pattern Equipment for soldiers armed with a rifle or submachinegun consisted of:
pair of Braces
pair of Ammunition Pouches
Mess Tins and Mess Tin Carrier
Canteen, Canteen Cup and Carrier
Bayonet Frog and Bayonet
Left side of the basic set showing from left to right: Ammunition Pouch set in the upper position, Messtin Carrier and Bayonet.
Right side of the basic set showing from left to right: Canteen and Carrier and Ammunition Pouch set in the lower position.
Although the general design and the buckle was similar to the WE'37, the American influence is evident in the three rows of eyelets. The top and bottom rows were for the securing of equipment. The center row was for adjusting the size.
Typical manufacturer's markings on a large size waistbelt made by T.I.L. (Textile Industries Limited) in 1965.
The location and pattern of the rear buckles for attaching the braces were identical to those on the WE'37 waistbelt.
The pattern of the brace was similar to that of the WE'37 brace but were made of much thinner web. These were issued in a set consisting of a left (top) and right brace.
WE'51 Ammunition Pouch
The Ammunition or Basic Pouch was slightly larger than the 1937 Pattern and was designed to hold Rifle, Bren or Sten magazines, grenades or 2 inch mortar bombs.
Rear view of the Ammunition Pouch. The belt was run through either of the pairs of loops, allowing the pouch to be worn high or low on the belt.
The Ammunition Pouch in place on the waistbelt, with the brace attached.
Detail of the method of attaching the brace.
WE'51 Water Bottle (Canteen) And Carrier
WE'51 Canteen Carrier. The design of the carrier is based on the American M1910 Canteen Cover. The distinguishing features are the snap fasteners and the tab and buckles on the sides for attaching the ends of the Braces. Photographic evidence indicates that in a few instances the WE'37 Water Bottle was worn in the WE'51 Carrier, possibly by Reserve troops.
Rear view showing the wire clip attachments and the manufacturer's markings.
WE'51 canteen. American designed, Canadian manufactured, used until the early 1960s.
Rear view of the Canteen showing the manufacturer's markings. Made by ESSCO in May 1960.
Bottom view showning a Canadian Military Inspection Services acceptance stamp.
The American military developed a plastic form of canteen during the Second World war with a limited degree of success. Canada developed and approved a Canadian Pattern in 1960. This pattern was copied by the U.S. and introduced into American service in 1962. The Canadian Plastic Canteen was also issued with WE'64 and WE'82 equipment.
Early Canadian production canteen dated 1960.
WE'51 Messtins And Carrier
Rectangular messtins of Second World War pattern were carried in a new pattern of carrier. As with the Canteen Carrier, tabs and buckles were fitted on the sides for attaching the ends of the Braces. A Knife, Fork and Spoon (KFS) Set was carried inside the messtins or stuffed between the messtins and the inside of the carrier. The KFS was normally wrapped in a ration or messtin bag or a rag to prevent rattling.
Rear view showing the wire hook for attachment to the waistbelt.
Top flap open, revealing the messtins.
This very late manufacture messtin carrier exhibits some of the features of the WE'64 web, ie: plastic buckles and tab, but has the wire hook belt attachment of WE'51.
Rear view of the late pattern messtin carrier.
Flap open showing the manufacturer's markings indicating that this piece of equipment was made well after the adoption of WE'64.
Messtins and Knife, Fork and Spoon (KFS) Set. The KFS set is C/Arrow marked and made by SILCO in 1952.
WE'51 Bayonet Frog
The WE'51 Bayonet Frog was similar to that issued with WE'37 but the web material was dark green rather than khaki. During the service life of WE'51 two patterns of bayonet were issued, the No4 for the No.4 Lee Enfield Rifle and the C1 for the FN C1 Rifle. Both patterns of bayonet scabbard fit the WE'51 frog nicely, needing no modification.
A No4 Mk II bayonet for the No4 Mk1* (Lee Enfield)rifle .
The C1 bayonet for the FN C1 rifle adopted in 1955.
WE'51 Set for Officers And Certain NCOs
The basic set issued to officers and certain soldiers armed with the pistol consisted of:
pair of Braces
pair of Brace Attachments
A Canteen Carrier and Messtin Carrier were added as required. Officers armed with a submachinegun usually added one or more Ammunition Pouches to their equipment in order to carry spare magazines.
View of the method of attaching the compass case and brace attachment to the waistbelt.
View of the method of attaching the pistol holster to the waistbelt.
WE'51 Binocular Case
The Binocular Case was similar to the WE'37 case and could either be worn on the belt or slung by means of a strap attached to buckles on the sides.
WE'51 Compass Case
The compass case was similar to the 1937 Pattern case and was stiffened and lined with felt to protect the compass from damage.
Rear view of the compass case illustrating the loops for attaching to the Waistbelt.
Interior view of the compass case showing the felt padding.
Typical Prismatic Compass of the period.
WE'51 Brace Attachment
Front and rear view of the Brace Attachment. Issued in pairs, the Brace Attachment was identical to the WE'37 Brace Attachment except for the colour of the material. Brace Attachments were popularly known by the troops as "cheaters".
WE'51 Pistol Holster
1951 Pattern holster for the Browning Hi Power pistol.
Related Equipment Items
WE'51 Gas Mask Carriers
Several patterns and variations of gas masks and carriers were issued with WE'51. Both the GS Pattern Respirator and the Light Respirator of Second World War vintage appear to have been worn concurrently, the Light Respirator eventually replacing the GS Pattern. All of the patterns have pockets for storing items such as anti-fogging paste, matted yarn waste, cleaning rags, cap and cannister plugs and a chemical detection and treatment kit.
Front and back views of the WE'51 Pattern Carrier for the Light Respirator.
The Light Respirator Carrier as worn on the waistbelt. A sling was provided which could be clipped to the rings on the sides of the Carrier allowing the Respirator to be worn by itself.
Front and back views of the second pattern of Carrier. This was based on an American design and was very successful. With modifications, this general pattern is still in use. The sling is permanently attached.
Canadian Pattern X57A Entrenching Tool Carrier
The Experimental Canadian Pattern X57A Entrenching Tool Carrier was a close copy of the U.S. M1956 Intrenching Tool Carrier. The Canadian Carrier even duplicated the attachment points for the U.S. bayonet scabbard. The version adopted by Canada omitted these fittings and had a different pattern of snap fastener.
WE'51 Entrenching Tool and Carrier
The WE'51 Entrenching Tool Carrier.
WE'51 Small Pack
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