The WW1 Tommy – Kit Lesson 5 (1918)

1918 Tommy's Kit (1)

So here is the last tutorial in the series depicting the equipment and uniforms used by the British army during the Great War.

We shall now look at 1918 and in particular the equipment typically used by a Lewis Light Machine Gunner of the 20th (Service) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.

By 1918 20 DLI were part of 124 Brigade, 41st Division. Landing in France in May 1916 they entered the trenches at Armentieres fighting in the Ypres salient and the Somme before returning to Ypres to fight in the battle of Messines and the battle on the Menin road.

In November 1917 they moved to Italy and fought at the Piave river.

In March 1918 they returned to France first fighting on the Somme and finishing the war in the Ypres salient.

1918 Tommy's Kit (1)
1918 Tommy’s Kit (1)

Here we have a 1902 Service dress jacket with cloth Durham slip on titles.

A leather jerkin as preferred my Machine gunners as not as cumbersome as a greatcoat and a set of 1914 pattern leather equipment in pistol order.

Missing from the picture is the Small Box Respirator and PH hood carried as a back up.

1918 Tommy's Kit (2)
1918 Tommy’s Kit (2)

Here we can see a MK V Mills bomb introduced in 1915 and a 36 Mills bomb introduced in 1918.

Also a mk vi Webley as favoured by machine gun crews as it’s less cumbersome than a rifle.

1918 Tommy's Kit (3)
1918 Tommy’s Kit (3)

Various letters and postcards as sent by soldiers from the front.

These were provided free by many charitable organisations to encourage the writing of letters home.

Also of note is a Temperance card.

1918 Tommy's Kit (4)
1918 Tommy’s Kit (4)

Cloth slip on shoulder title.

Two types were available printed and embroidered. Printed were issued from 1915 and embroidered from June 1916.

1918 Tommy's Kit (5)
1918 Tommy’s Kit (5)

Sat on a pair of fingerless gloves are six Mk2 .455 rounds for the webley service revolver.

This was the most common .455 round issued from 1898 until 1939.

They were carried loose in the 1914 pattern ammunition pouch.

Also of note is a small tin of Matlock-Armstrong ear defenders as issued to artillery gunners and a prized item.

1918 Tommy's Kit (6)
1918 Tommy’s Kit (6)

A soft cap with DLI cap badge is shown on top of the haversack carried on the back.

Inside is the mk vii rain cape issued from May 1917.

On top is a pair of wire cutters and of note is the intrenching tool handle in the bayonet frog.

1918 Tommy's Kit (7)
1918 Tommy’s Kit (7)

Profile showing the difference between the mk v Mills bomb on the left and the No 36 Mills bomb on the right.

The No 36 was introduced in May 1918 and stayed in British use until 1972.

1918 Tommy's Kit (8)
1918 Tommy’s Kit (8)

Mallock-Armstrong ear defenders as issued to Artillery gunners, highly sought after by machine gunners and tank crews.

1918 Tommy's Kit (9)
1918 Tommy’s Kit (9)

Contents of the Mallock-Armstrong ear defender tin.