What was the 6B/321 strap?
Most probably the unstamped strap commonly seen on unmarked compasses that were issued to SOE/Commando/Parachute troops towards the end of WW2. The strap is single thickness pull through webbing with a shouldered stainless steel buckle and loops. The design of the buckle is very similar to the shouldered brass buckle used on AF0210 straps from 1945, and early versions of the strap used brass hardware.
The AF0210 strap (unstamped), is also found on this compass.
The Vocabulary of Royal Air Force Equipment, Air Publication 1086, Section 6B lists the Mark 7 watch, with a leather strap, and a fabric strap as accessories. Is this the fabric strap? Here are extracts from the 16 July 1963 version of the Vocabulary.
The Mark 7 6B/159 watch was re-cased in 1956 and was still in service for a long period of time.
The Aircraft Navigation Instruments and Equipment items were numbered sequentially as items were added to the Vocabulary, and below is a table indicating the approximate dates of the numbering of various items of equipment. Full versions of the Vocabulary are currently difficult to find.
|159||Mark 7 watch||1940|
|169||Strap wrist leather||1940|
|234||Mark 8 watch||1942|
|321||Strap Wrist fabric||1945|
|346||Mark 11 watch||1948|
|2 prefix added||1954|
|2593||Compass survival wrist type||1954|
|2594||Strap wrist watch GS||1954|
|2617||Strap watch nylon||1954|
The 6B/321 fabric strap uses our AF0210 buckles until stainless steel buckles become available.
Two original 6B/321 straps with brass hardware, and fabric widths of 15mm and 16mm are shown below and the length is about 250mm for the un-shortened strap, with the cut end dipped in dope to prevent fraying.