Haversack for Small Box Respirator : Lieutenant G L Dolan, 53 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: Western Front
Accession Number REL32946.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Brass, Canvas, Cotton webbing, Leather, String
Maker Waring and Gillow Ltd
Place made United Kingdom
Date made 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Canvas haversack designed to hold the British small box respirator. The haversack is roughly square-shaped and has a top flap opening, secured by two brass press studs. The numeral '3' in a circle is stamped in purple ink on the top of the flap. The underside of the flap is stamped with, '27', 'F', '[broad arrow symbol]' and the maker's details 'WARING & GILLOW LTD W.C. 1918'. The bottom section of the haversack is reinforced with a second layer of canvas. Above this are two brass D rings on each side which, together with a length of twine attached to the top of the haversack, enable it to be securely located around the wearer's body to prevent excess movement of the respirator.

The haversack has a cotton webbing carry strap with a brass buckle for adjustment. A brass stud halfway along the strap enables it to be secured, when not in use, to a leather tongue on the right hand side of the haversack. Internally, the haversack is spilt into two compartments by a canvas divider. The right compartment is slightly larger and designed to hold the respirator facemask and hose. The left compartment is designed to hold the respirator canister, and has a metal rack sewn in at its base which raises the canister for better air flow into the valve at the bottom of the canister. The haversack contains a small unused box of Glasso Anti-Dimming Composition.

History / Summary

Carried by Lieutenant G L Dolan DCM, 53 Battalion AIF. Born at Surrey Hills, Sydney in June 1894, George Leslie 'Les' Dolan was working as a shop assistant and serving in the militia with the 24th Infantry Regiment, when he enlisted in the AIF on 8 July 1915. 4905 Private Dolan embarked aboard HMAT A15 Star of England with 1 Battalion, 15th Reinforcements on 8 March 1916. After arriving in Egypt, he was transferred to the 53rd Battalion.

After a period of further training, Dolan embarked for France, arriving at the end of June 1916. He moved north with the 53rd Battalion, and entered the line near Fleurbaix in time to participate in the disastrous Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916. He was promoted to lance corporal a week later. Dolan was then promoted to temporary corporal in September, corporal in October, temporary sergeant in May 1917 and sergeant in July.

On 25 September 1917, the 53rd Battalion took part in the attack at Glencorse Wood, east of Ypres in Belgium. Dolan was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions during the fighting. He was selected for officer training and attended No. 5 Officer's Cadet Training Battalion at Cambridge, England.

Dolan rejoined his unit in June 1918 and a month later was Mentioned in Despatches for his actions during the attack on Morlancourt on 29 July 1918. Dolan was promoted to lieutenant on 1 September. After the war, Dolan married Ethel Dillon O'Brien Porter from Cambridge on 12 May 1919. On 8 August 1919 he embarked aboard HT Katoomba for his return to Australia. Dolan was discharged from the AIF on 17 November 1919. During the inter-war years, Dolan served with the 53rd Battalion (West Sydney Regiment ), Citizens Military Force (CMF).