Collectible 1958 Pattern Web Equipment
1958 Pattern Web Equipment (also known as '58 Webbing' or P58 Webbing) was a modular based personal equipment system issued to the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom from the 1950's up until the mid 90's. It replaced the 1937 Pattern Web Equipment that had served the UK's Armed Forces through the Second World War and the first decade of the Cold War. It was in turn gradually replaced in the 1990's by the current issue '95 Pattern Personal Load Carrying Equipment (PLCE). Although replaced, the belt in particular seems to survive as an unofficial form of dress (replacing the general issue Working Belt) by older soldiers when worn with Combat Soldier 95 clothing.
A general issue of 1958 Pattern webbing consisted of a belt, yoke, ammunition pouches (left, with provision for an SLR bayonet, and right, with a pouch to the rear for the ENERGA rifle grenade adapter), a water bottle pouch (also able to be fitted with a mug while containing the water bottle), a pair of kidney pouches (for the storage of personal items - underwear and socks, washing and shaving kit, boot cleaning items, twenty-four-hour ration and any other items that the user may need to have secured), a poncho roll and a large pack. The standard webbing could be altered to take additional pieces of needed components, an example of which is the attachment of a sleeping bag or kip mat and blanket and torch.
There were a number of ancillary pouches available for specialist tasks, e.g. pistol holster to hold the issue Browning Hi-Power, compass pouch.
All components in the system are made from a sturdy and tight-woven canvas fabric in a dark olive green. The metal fittings are aluminium, anodized dark green.
In its basic and standard configuration, each of the belt-mounted components is secured to the belt by a pair of double hooks (one double hook only in the case of the compass pouch) at the rear, hooked over the belt above and below, with the ends of the hooks further retained in canvas pockets on the inside face of the belt. However, variations are to be found - including water bottle pouches and ammunition pouches for non-standard personal weapons fitted with a canvas loop into which the belt is threaded, rather than the metal hooks. This method of attachment allows the pouch to be moved around the belt for the comfort of the user, for example when sitting for long periods.
Several of the individual components evolved over the lifetime of the 1958 Pattern system. There were three iterations of the standard (SLR) ammunition pouches, and two of the water-bottle pouch, poncho roll and yoke.