The Wireless Set No. 19 Homepage


The Satchel Signals


By Chris Bisaillion, VE3CBK
Whiskeytown Wireless Collection
1324 Old Carp Road
Kanata, Ontario, CANADA K2K 1X7

The Satchel Signals (also known as Satchels Signal, Satchel Signal and Satchels Signals) was a small bag similar to the haversack but having one closing strap. It was generally used to carry headsets for many types of Wireless Sets (see figure 1). Before 1937, Satchel Signals were made from leather.

There were two types of “Satchel Signals No. 1”, 1937 Pattern, designated ZA 6292 (see figure 2). The first was a webbing bag with a liner. The shoulder strap could be removed leaving the metal loops on the side of the bag. The shoulder strap used on this pattern was identical to the standard 1937 Pattern strap known as Brace, Right, Web Equipment (W.E.) 1937, size long (55 inches). Removing the shoulder strap allowed for installation in vehicles.

Several vehicle towage diagrams clearly illustrate this. These satchels were made by Zephyr Loom and Textiles Ltd. (ZL&T Ltd) of Peterborough, Ontario in 1942,43,44 (see figure 3) and by Montreal Suspender and Umbrella Ltd. (MS&U Ltd) in 1940 (see figure 4).

The second type was a canvas bag with a shoulder strap that could not be removed. These were made by NDJ (Company name unknown) and J.E. Lortie Co. (JELCO) of Montreal, Quebec in 1942,43 (see figure 5).

The most recent documentation found was a drawing dated 1984 from Valcom Ltd. in Guelph, Ontario (much too large to reproduce here). This Satchel Signals was given multiple designations ZA 6292, VC-81-00064 and NATO Stock Number (NSN) 5820-21-108-3059.

Another pattern was the “Satchel Signal No. C1”, designated ZA/CAN 2120 (figure 7) and (figure 8).  The only reference found to date for this pattern is in the list of items for the Wireless Sets Canadian No.29. This satchel has a reversed closing strap that is attached to the bottom half of the satchel instead of the cover (see figure 9). The tongue of the closing strap is terminated with a compressed metal fitting instead of a riveted fitting. No manufacturer's name is shown on this satchel.

A US-made Satchel Signal, for a US-built Wireless Set No. 19, is shown in figure 10. It is very similar to the Satchel Signal No. C1 which suggests that the Satchel Signal No. C1 may have been made by a US company for Canadian use.  This company may have been the American Leather Products Corp of Indianapolis, Indiana as listed in “Tabular List of Replaceable Parts for the Wireless Set No. 19 – Mark II”.

British manufactured Satchel Signals were also made by various companies such as MECo (Mills Equipment Co.) 1951 (see figure 11), James Hodge Co., Bagcraft (1945), and E.I.T.C. (1942). Both designations ZA 6292 and ZA 27294 have been found. These British-manufactured Satchel Signals have been found in beige and dark green colours.

Another style exists with an unusual two-tone mix of dark green and beige, manufactured by MvO, believed to be manufactured in The Netherlands for the Dutch Army (see figure 12).

The fittings on the various types of Satchel Signals vary in composition, for example, plain brass and painted steel fittings in brown, green or black.

The Satchel Signal is becoming more and more difficult to locate in good, or better condition. This is primarily due to their appeal as a carry-all to post-war generations.

The author wishes to thank Mr. Ed Storey for his contribution to this research, including his review of this article.

Note: This article previously appeared in Military Artifact, Vol. 3, Issue 1.