Officers were concerned that troops take good care of the equipment His Majesty provided them, and so kit inspections were “another burden added to the already overloaded and disillusioned military infant class.” (1) At least, that was the reported view of the new 25th Battalion, Nova Scotia Regiment.
Soldiers were expected to keep their belongings in good order, and to produce them on short notice for kit inspection, with items arrayed on their beds in a specified layout.
Gaps in the kit were then obvious, and would have to be made good by the soldier, out of his own pocket, from the Quarter Master’s stores. The same Nova Scotia authority quoted above admits that some soldiers would borrow, or even “borrow,” items from another if they could do so undetected, in order to avoid an unsatisfactory kit inspection. (28)
Part of the kit was a holdall which contained a knife, fork and spoon, razor and shaving brush, a “housewife” or “hussif”(a sewing kit). In addition, the holdall contained a button plate — a flat piece of metal to be slid under a button during polishing, to protect the tunic or great coat from polish.
(1) Robert Clements. Merry Hell. The Story of the 25th Battalion (Nova Scotia Regiment) CEF 1914-1919. Ed. B.D. Tennyson. 2013. 27
1. Soldiers awaiting kit inspection at Camp Petawawa, from the archive of photographs belonging to Archie Wills at the University of Victoria, BC.
2. Detail from a photograph of the possessions of a British infantry soldier of 1916. The full photograph has a key to identify the items. Though not identical to a Canadian gunner’s kit, the basics are the same.
Copyright 2016. See “About this project.”