Suitcase and unidentified bag (kitbag?)

Discussion in 'WW2 Militaria' started by Chef_Hendrix, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. Chef_Hendrix

    Chef_Hendrix Member

    Good Evening,

    I was recently gifted a few items which belonged to my Great Uncle.

    J.J. Benton RAF/FAA

    One of these items is a small suitcase which has had the various places my GU was at between 1943-1946 written on the inside. Would this have been a private purchase suitcase?


    The second item, I'm not sure about. If has his name stencilled on one side and what I think is "HMP C (H?) stamped on the inside. Is it a kitbag? I've had a look online and could not find a similar one. Any ideas?





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  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    How big is it ? It looks like a palliasse - Made in a prison workshop :)
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
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  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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  4. Chef_Hendrix

    Chef_Hendrix Member

    It's just over 6ft 2in, and when the top flap is folded down it's 5ft 6in. So probably not a kitbag!

    Just had a quick look and I think you may be right, it does resemble a palliasse.
  5. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    I have seen lots of variations on that pattern of suitcase. I have been told various theories about their acquisition:
    - issued at de-mob. (however a lot have what appear to be wartime notes, like yours),
    - or issued if travelling separately from the bulk of one's kit (e.g. sim. to 'hand luggage')
    - or private purchase via the NAAFI to service people only.

    I await the comment from the assembled jury.....
    They probably survive disproportionately as they are a handy repository for a veteran's ephemera.
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  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The one is certainly not a kit bag - they were made more of a canvas material about 3+ feet long and about 18" diameter with a draw string at the top. If you filled the one shown with personal kit you wouldnt be able to lift it.
    I have my fathers and the dimensions given are approximate from that - plus it has not only his name but his service number in case it gets lost

    Would it not be used somehow to make his hammock more comfortable - perhaps our naval experts can enlighten us

    Is there a makers name on the suitcase, or other marks of any description?

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  7. Chef_Hendrix

    Chef_Hendrix Member

    Happy that it is definitely not a kitbag! I just had seen nothing like it before and that was the closest resembling thing i could think of.

    I've had a look at the suitcase and can find no makers marks or anything else which may hold any further clues. The brush however has some markings and with the broad arrow stamp I assume was therefore issued. The size is approx 14" x 10" x 5"

    Looking at his service records my Great Uncle never actually served at sea with the RN. All his units were shore based or RNAS, so possibly more likely a palliasse as previously mentioned.

    DSC_1142.JPG DSC_1140.JPG
  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Not sure about the suitcase. It would have been difficult to store on a ship and as far as I know there was no difference in kit issue between sea going and shore. More likely to have been issued a canvas holdall. Could be a demob suitcase but RN ones tend to be green canvas covered.
    I am almost certain that what has been identified as a palliasse is in fact a mattress cover - almost the same thing.

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  9. Chef_Hendrix

    Chef_Hendrix Member

    He possibly may have picked it up whilst with the RAF before transferring to the RN. I guess with no markings and if it doesn't look familiar to anyone I suppose I will never know!

    Thanks everyone for the comments
  10. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    I've got a similar style suitcase - actually a quite small version but with those characteristic corner buffers and handle nevertheless - that was dad's. All I can remember when he gave it to me back in the 1970s is that he said he had it 'from the War'. He was a Sherman and Comet tank Driver but how it came to be issued to him or whether he bought it I can only guess.
    Not very helpful but will hopefully give some inspiration to others' comments. :)
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  11. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    If very small, your Dad's is likely to be a map/document case designed to fit in a standard size rack in an AFV - displacing the ammo, haversack, cooker, designated for that space. I have one with the maps of an unnamed Recce Corps Daimler Armoured Car commander.
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  12. Chef_Hendrix

    Chef_Hendrix Member

    A couple more items some of you may be interested in. I now have an old wallet which belonged to Jim. As you can see from the pictures it contains a wage packet slip from the late 40s, a photo of his Dad, my Great Grandad James Joseph Benton, a ticket to a dance at Eastchurch in 1944 and hidden(?) in the lining of the wallet was two pieces of newspaper cuttings and Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity from my Great Grandad from his time in the 2nd A&SH in the First World War.

    As for the newspaper cuttings I can't see anything relevant in either of them and they have been there a long time as they have imprinted onto the leather on the inside. I can only see one date and that is in part of an article which reads " Miss 1919". DSC_1153.JPG DSC_1155.JPG DSC_11541.jpg

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