The earliest bulk production date for AA/AFxxxx equipment is February 1945, and the first production run by Martin Wright and Sons Ltd (MW&S) was initially used by Airborne troops in Norway in early May 1945, and soon after in Operation Oboe in Borneo in mid 1945, where 75,000 Australian troops were landed in controversial mopping up operations – the so called “stepping stone to nowhere” operation. This production run saw the Allied forces through to the closing stages of the war.
At least one A.F.0210. strap marked 1945 is known to exist. This strap, shown below, is date stamped A.C. 1945. (A.C. are the manufacturers, Associated Cutters). Most straps are merely stamped A.F.0210, as there is little room on the 17mm width for either the name of the manufacturer, or the date.
This strap is still in regular use by the fourth owner of the WWW IWC shown below, which was originally issued to the first owner, with the strap in 1948.
It is shown below with another A.F.0210. strap, and a later 6B/321 strap, which is a single ply strap, with virtually identical hardware, but in stainless steel not brass.
Images courtesy Tom Mates.