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Equipment used by South African forces in WW1 varied greatly and can be analysed according to the various campaigns and theaters.

The Pattern 1903 Bandolier Equipment was used by South African Artillerymen in East Africa, Palestine and also by the South African batteries of the Royal Garrisson Artillery on the Western Front. Only the 50 round bandolier, water bottle and haversack were worn and used.

Large numbers of german leather equiment had been captured during the German South West African Campaign and these sets were used mainly by the machine gun elements of the South African Mounted Riflemen in German East Africa. This equipment is better known as the "Schutztruppen" or Mounted equiment.

Some sub-units in East Africa were issued with the Pattern 1908 Web Infantry Equipment but this was very limited ("A " Company of the 6th SAI). Most units used the 50 and 60 round bandoliers.

The Battalions of the Cape Corps were issued with Pattern 1908 Web Infantry Equipment and they used the equipment in both German East Africa and Palestine.

The South African Infantry regiments that fought on the Western Front were mainly issued with the Pattern 1914 Leather Infantry Equipment so they DID use and wear the "snake-buckle" belt.

Some photographic evidence exists of individual memebrs of these regiments wearing the Pattern 1908 Web Infantry Equipment.

I am fortunate to have complete sets or examples of these items in my collection.

Regards,

Will

Edited by sabrigade

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Sorry about that Jef,

I'm off to a great start misspelling you name.

Dave

Hello Dave,

I'm really impressed by your knowledge about these snake buckles.Thank you for sharing your knowledge. About the misspelling of my name, don't worry.

Kind regards from Flanders,

Jef

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Equipment used by South African forces in WW1 varied greatly and can be analysed according to the various campaigns and theaters.

The Pattern 1903 Bandolier Equipment was used by South African Artillerymen in East Africa, Palestine and also by the South African batteries of the Royal Garrisson Artillery on the Western Front. Only the 50 round bandolier, water bottle and haversack were worn and used.

Large numbers of german leather equiment had been captured during the German South West African Campaign and these sets were used mainly by the machine gun elements of the South African Mounted Riflemen in German East Africa. This equipment is better known as the "Schutztruppen" or Mounted equiment.

Some sub-units in East Africa were issued with the Pattern 1908 Web Infantry Equipment but this was very limited ("A " Company of the 6th SAI). Most units used the 50 and 60 round bandoliers.

The Battalions of the Cape Corps were issued with Pattern 1908 Web Infantry Equipment and they used the equipment in both German East Africa and Palestine.

The South African Infantry regiments that fought on the Western Front were mainly issued with the Pattern 1914 Leather Infantry Equipment so they DID use and wear the "snake-buckle" belt.

Some photographic evidence exists of individual memebrs of these regiments wearing the Pattern 1908 Web Infantry Equipment.

I am fortunate to have complete sets or examples of these items in my collection.

Regards,

Will

Hello Will,

Thank you for your answer about the snake buckle belt. Much appreciated.

Kind regards,

Jef

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Hello Gentlemen-

Thank you for a very interesting topic - very different to my usual readings.

"I am fortunate to have complete sets or examples of these items in my collection." - Come on now Will, don't tease, pictures please ...

regards

Thomas

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Hi Thomas,

I hope to be back in South Africa next week and will make it a seperate thread.

Regards,

Will

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Hi Jef,the snake buckle belts were traditionally worn by British Rifle Regiments since the Napoleonic wars.The belts were black leather and the buckles brass or white metal.I have a few pics from the Royal Green Jackets museum at Winchester you might find interesting,not the best quality though I'm afraid.I also picked up a a snake buckle belt recently to display with a KRRC tunic I have.You can see by the pics that it is almost identical to the belts shown in the RGJ museum,however,the belt is marked with what looks like police collar numbers and has an 'MP' stamp so I believe this to be a old Metropolitan Police belt from Greenwich Division,I hope this is of some interest,all the best,

Paul

First pic is of a KRRC Sargeants tunic from before WW1

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Hello Paul,

Thank you for the info and photographs. It seems a lot of gents are interested in this tiny snake.

Best regards, :beer:

Jef

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Thankyou Paul - nice to see the old Police belt. I think the date on it looks like 1906 ? Has re-issue PC's number , so must have seen a lot of service.

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You're welcome Mervyn,I couldn't make out the date but it looks like its seen a fair bit of service,cheers,

Paul

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You're welcome Mervyn,I couldn't make out the date but it looks like its seen a fair bit of service,cheers,

Paul

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Gentlemen,

1- As to the suggestion that the snake buckle would date back to the Vikings, I must disappoint you - the Vikings (c. 800-1100) had completely different types of clasps and buckles.

2- As to the "Why" of the design; the snake buckle was easy and cheap to produce and thus popular for a long period by many uniformed organisations.

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Gentlemen,

1- As to the suggestion that the snake buckle would date back to the Vikings, I must disappoint you - the Vikings (c. 800-1100) had completely different types of clasps and buckles.

2- As to the "Why" of the design; the snake buckle was easy and cheap to produce and thus popular for a long period by many uniformed organisations.

Dear Odulf,

Thank you for your answer. Concerning the "Why" of the design: If the manufacturers would have made a simple S hook-shaped piece of iron, it would be even more cheaper, but I was wondering why especially the figure of a snake? It feels oriental. And it was used world-wide, mostly by western forces.

I think this question will never be solved. The origins are fainted in the mist of time.

Kind regards,

Jef

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Hello. This is a snake buckle clasp on a gun belt which I acquired a couple of months ago at auction. It is different from any buckle I have been able to find on any other site including this one.The number on other side of the clasp appears to be 019. Can anyone identify this buckle and gun belt?

TIA

IMG_0023.jpg

snakebucklebelt003.jpg

snakebucklebelt001.jpg

snakebucklebelt002.jpg

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Hello Toondowndon,

Thank you for showing your snakebuckle. I immediately saw, your snake has a head and a tail, my snakes have two heads and no tail at all. A big difference and a question more to answer.

Kind regards from Flanders,

Jef

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If you look at the Guest Identification forum you will see a litle more information on the British snake bucle belts in its 19th century incarnations.

Peter

Edited by peter monahan

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Jef,

What a nice collection of snakes. Have you found any books on them yet? I'd like to learn more about Belgian use of snakes in their Military and by their fire brigades. Do you have any imagery?

I can tell you that your Snake 1 is the style most commonly used on the British 1914 Leather Pattern belt and it was also used by some Canadian troops in WW1. This same snake pattern was also used by some Australian, British, Canadian, and New Zealand troops during the Boer war.

You said that Snake 2 and 4 are plain backed. I have a snake similar to these, but I would say the back is flat, rather than plain. Some French snakes have plain backs, in other words the shape is there, just no features. I'll try and attach an image of my snake like your #2 & 4. All I know is that it was reported as WW1 era.

I have seen examples of 3 as British snakes, but the age of use is not known to me. Was your example dug from a battlefield?

post-10025-0-66539400-1326096327.jpg

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Jef,

As you can see I'm senile. I was on the first page of this thread and proceeded to admire your collection, oblivious to the point I had replied to you a year and a half ago! I didn't remember where I had first commented in the Club before. Have you collected any more snakes since the initial five? As you can see I still like your snakes and I still am looking for one like your number 3. Do you run across Belgian snake belts like number 5 very often? Have you determined if this was a WW1 era belt?

Dave

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