The earlier 1903 webbing had much more leather items, it was not as practical or popular as the 1908 webbing,but remained in service with 2nd Line TF and other home service units.
The small pack was carried by the soldier either on the left hand side hanging from the belt. Inside the pack was normally carried all his personal items like Hard rations, washing kit, rifle cleaning kit, spare socks and writing equipment.
Over 3,000,000 tons of food was sent from Britain to the soldiers fighting in France and Belgium during the Great War. Soldiers were critical of the quantity and the quality of food they received. The bulk of their diet in the trenches was bully beef (canned corned beef, good quality mead), bread and biscuits. Hard tack biscuits were basically inedible when dry, rock hard tooth breakers, they needed soaked in water to make a porridge, or in meat juice to bulk out meals.
Don't believe us? Try it for yourself, here's a recipe for Hard Tack. Remember do not try to bite through them when dry, you will break your teeth!
Hard Tack biscuits
Mix the flour, water and salt together, and make sure the mixture is fairly dry.
Then roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness, and shape it into a rectangle. Cut it into 3×3 inch squares, and poke holes in both sides.
Place on an un-greased baking sheet, and cook for 30 minutes per side at 190 C
When it’s done, you’ll want to let it dry and harden for a few days, just out in the open. When it has the consistency of a brick, it’s fully cured.
Then simply store it in an airtight container or bucket. To prepare for eating, soak it in water or milk for about 15 minutes, and then fry in a mess tin. It should keep for oh...a century or so.