Canadian Provost Corps Reenacting

Reenacting Web


Our 2ic wearing an original 5th Div sergeants battledress jacket and British trousers. Note the late pattern chevrons. The pistol lanyard slide is centered just at the top of the pocket seam.

Web Equipment

Whitened webbing was in universal use by Provost and Commonwealth military police as of mid to late 1942. Various methods of whitening were tried, including painting and bleaching, but the only authorized method of whitening webbing was by the use of white web cleanser or "Blanco". Blanco is a British trade name for a series of caked web dressings availible in various shades of khaki, green and brown, as well as white. The Canadian equivalents were made by Capo Polishes Ltd, Hamilton. In it's caked form it was applied to the web with a damp rag or sponge. It produces a slightly dusty matte finish and unless the webbing is absolutely clean before the initial coat, the finish will be uneven and rub off on clothing.

For reenactor purposes we decided not to use original blanco and tried a number of methods of whitening web. Painted web cracks and takes a lot of upkeep. White shoe polish was tried and discarded as it cracks and disintegrates. Acrylic artists gesso was chosen as the Company's approved method of whitening web for wear. It is inexpensive, very easy to apply, relativly stable and waterproof, and fast drying. It approximates the original blanco finish of web fairly well. It can be applied with a paintbrush and thinned with water. Gesso is availible from most artists supply stores and has a fairly long shelf life, but should be used within 2 years. Various brands may produce different results so the application and use must be tested on a piece of web.

Web equipment should be free of dirt and grease. On the waistbelt, the buckles and keepers should be removed and the belt laid flat. The front and edges of the waistbelt are whitened using gesso on a paint brush or rag. Ensure that the finish is even. Several coats may be required, but ensure the excess is removed before drying. The areas around the back buckles can be whitened with a small paint brush. Drying time for an initial coat of gesso is usually 10 - 15 minutes but it may not be absolutely set for 24 hours. When the waistbelt is dry, the now highly polished brass buckles and keepers are put back on and the belt is fitted to your waist. Either be wearing your uniform jacket and trousers or allow for the the thickness of them when adjusting the belt. The remaining web pieces are whitened in a similar manner, and brass fittings are polished. The method of assembly should be as follows:

Waistbelt adjusted to waist.

Brace attachment and brace fitted and sized. The tail end of the brace at the rear buckle should be a maximum of 2" long.

Revolver case is centered over the brace attachment.

Ammunition pouch fitted on the opposite side of the belt.

Final touch up of polish stains etc. can be done with a small paintbrush after the web is assembled.

For examples of whitened web equipment, click HERE to go to the Second World War Provost Webbing page.

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