Spine Pad: Sapper Eric Keast Burke, 1 Australian Wireless Signal Squadron, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force

Place Middle East: Mesopotamia
Accession Number RELAWM03865
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Cotton
Location Main Bld: First World War Gallery: Sinai Palestine 1918: Final Battles
Maker Unknown
Date made Unknown
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Australian Army issued spine pad. The spine pad is constructed from two panels of cotton plain weave fabric. The two panels have been quilted vertically and at 45 degrees. The front edges have been slightly elongated and fold over the back to form a binding to the edges on both sides, top and bottom. At both sides on the lower half are 2 sets of three buttonholes. At the centre top is attached a collar band with button holes at both ends.

History / Summary

Associated with Corporal Eric Keast Burke, Australian Wireless Squadron. Spine pads were worn by all ranks in the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force during the summer months.

At the time, there was a theory that the spine and brain could be affected by the heat of the sun. There were reportedly over six hundred deaths from heatstroke in 1917 during the Mesopotamian Campaign. So spine pads, sun helmets and neck flaps were issued to help protect soldiers from the sun and reduce heatstroke.