By Tom Cockle
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The entrenching tool and carrier were not issued. Officers were issued with a binocular case, compass pouch, holster, pistol ammunition pouch, and an officer’s small ‘valise’ haversack. The 2nd Echelon were issued with the new webbing in mid-1940 while stationed in England, the 1st and 3rd Echelons in late 1940 in Egypt, and 2nd NZ Div retained it throughout the war. The British-made webbing was a light tan colour and the original issue was made by the Mills Equipment Company. In Italy some units camouflaged the webbing with green blotches.
His blouse bears only his rank, medal ribbons and national title. At the declaration of war in 1939 Fountaine was a 25-year-old infantry lieutenant in the Territorial Force who volunteered to serve overseas. Initially a platoon commander in C Coy, 20th Bn, he was promoted to captain, and led the company in Greece and on Crete, where he recommended Charles Upham for his first VC. Fountaine was wounded and captured when his battalion was overrun at Belhamed in November 1941, but was later rescued, and was awarded the Military Cross for his actions during the campaign.
The right-hand man wearing the SD cap has a pre-war pattern of US shirt with a placket front. (Barry O’Sullivan Collection) long-strap Royal Tank Regiment holster to sit higher at the waist. His heating of tinned ‘M&V’ stew over a ‘Benghazi cooker’ has attracted the unit mascot, ‘Major Major’. This white Australian Bull Terrier had been with the unit since it left New Zealand in 1940, but he would die from sickness in Italy in December 1944. E3: Sergeant, 28th (Maori) Battalion; Gothic Line, July 1944 Casually dressed for warm weather, this NCO is wearing an American-made OD flannel shirt and New Zealand BD trousers, with one of the knitted caps sent out by the NZ National Patriotic Fund Board.