Sam Browne Belt
Webley MkVI Holster & Ammunition Pouch
Holster has a Broad Arrow mark, the ammunition pouch has
the name G.A.Sims
Very Good Condition
The name Sam Browne comes from a British Army officer
of the same name, who served with the 2nd Punjab Irregular Cavalry.
In 1858 during a battle near Seeporah, Sam Browne charged a cannon as
it was being reloaded.
Browne was attacked by one of the cannon crew, suffering two devastating
cuts - one to his left knee and a second which severed his left arm at
the shoulder. Browne survived the attack but was left seriously disabled
by his injuries.
Even missing an arm Sam Browne continued to serve
in the British Army, but unable to control or draw his sword effectively,
took it upon himself
to modify his existing waist belt. The sword had traditionally hung from
a small metal clip on the waist belt, which was also referred to as a
but the scabbard tended to slide around a lot when soldiers charged at
This meant that the sword had to be steadied with the left arm before
being drawn, which reduced the effectiveness and element of surprise inherent
with charging at the enemy.
Sam Browne hit upon the idea of adding a second cross belt to the frog
which fixed diagonally over the right shoulder and held the sword scabbard
exactly in place so it could be easily drawn, but also made it much steadier
and reduced the amount of movement and sliding. The diagonal cross belt
hooked into the heavier waist belt with D-rings which were also used for
attaching various other uniform accessories. For instance Sam Browne also
carried a pistol holster on his right hip as well as a binocular case
with neck strap.
The Sam Browne belt caught on, with other cavalry officers
in the Indian Army soon following suit before it eventually became part
of the standard officer’s uniform. Imperial and Commonwealth troops
also later copied the rig during the Boer war and it wasn’t long
before it became standard issue.
While initially having practical benefits, another reason
for its popularity was that the belt also forced officers to suck in their
stomachs and stand more proudly and upright, which enhanced their military