Welcome to Bisley, the famous rifle ranges. During the years leading up to war, depots such as Bisley, and many others up and down the country, were used as training depots, preparing soldiers for service overseas. These depots are still used for this purpose today.
Interpreter: I’m wearing the 1908 Pattern webbing equipment, which means in marching order I’m self-sufficient both on manoeuvres and for battle.
On the front, the pouches: carry 100 rounds, .303 calibre ammunition.
On the side here is a small pack, important bit of kit. You keep your personals in here. So you’ve got your tins of bully beef, cheese, hardtack biscuit. Also any postcards, letters from home, chocolate if you’re lucky. A spare pair of socks, important when the weather’s not as nice as it is today.
On the side I have firstly the entrenching tool handle. This connects to your entrenching tool about the back of the soldier. This is a crude shovel, so if you’re exposed out in the open, a soldier could take cover by digging a hole in placement.
Also upon the side is your bayonet – 17 inches of cold steel attaches on to your rifle. Handy, as you can imagine, for close-quarter work.
On the back is your large pack. And here you’ve got your greatcoat, which is a long woollen coat for night time. Keeps you comfortable, it’s long, it’s thick, it’s made of wool. A good bit of kit. Also inside, you can carry more of your personals. Spare socks again, spare shirt, maybe a bit of chocolate sent from home.
Hanging down is your mess tin, an important bit of kit. You’ve got to keep it clean because you eat out of it, you drink out of it. You haven’t got anything else. You can also even shave out of it. If it’s found to be unclean, you’re put on a charge.
To the side, the water bottle: carries a pint and a half of water. So, on a day like this, a very important bit of kit. But, on a day like this also, you’ve got to drink it quickly because this water soon turns into a brown tepid liquid.