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Parachute First Aid Packets


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I made this up a few years ago for a militaria display. It got a lot of attention due to the unique way it shows the contents of a Paratrooper First Aid Kit. The outer material is heavy, clear vinyl from the transparent strorage case for a comforter my wife bought. I cut out the pouch pieces, including the tie straps from this material. I ironed three sides of the pouch together, on a low heat setting. I then sewed the straps on the sides. Lastly, I inserted the contents and ironed the pouch closed. The words FIRST AID on the pouch was printed on clear, transparency material, cut out and ironed onto the pouch before filling. The syrette box is a repop. along with the instructions, but the rest are original pieces. I hope you find this interesting.



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Bob, great job on the see thru first aid packet!


Here is one of my original Airborne First Aid packets that I picked up at the Louisville JAG Militaria Show this past September.








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I have seen many pictures of this packet first aid kit, parachute being used but have not uncovered any info on it. The packet ties to the parachute harness and has a zipper and marked "first aid" on side. I have come to the conclusion this is British as I have only seen pics of it in use from the ETO and MTO and NO US military publications mention it or picture it, they only mention or show the typical parachute packet that is hermetically sealed. The book Gear Up shows many US pilots wearing them all from the ETO, the book Geromino pictures this kit on page 83? Can anyone identify this kit exactly? This is a picture from the net showing the kit in bottom right.



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Johan is correct in his ID. Now the million dollar question, is it an original? The reason I ask is that the one on the viewer's left sure isn't!

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Johan Willaert

The following description is my personal view of the subject and is based on my collecting experience. I will stand corrected if anyone finds flaws in my text....


The Parachute First Aid Packet (Medical Department N° 9778500) was issued to every parachute wearer during WW2.

This pouch did NOT replace the standard first aid packet issued to every GI. It was an extra piece of equipment containing a Wound Dressing, Morphine Syrette and Tourniquet, and sometimes a note on how to use the Tourniquet and Morphine.

In addition to Aircrew and Paratroopers, the packet was issued to every member of the US Assault Forces (infantry, crewmembers of DD tanks, etc) for Operation OVERLORD; the Normandy Invasion.


The pouch was made of rubberised fabric that could be tied to any equipment by means of the attached straps.

First Pattern pouches were equipped with a zipper and marked FIRST AID in large letters on the front.




Above photo's courtesy of Rick Larson


These were superseded by a heat-sealed pouch that was to be torn open before use.

This second pattern came in both light and green od and is the pattern most collectors want for their Normandy and later impressions.


Today this has become one of the most sought after items in US Militaria and they are very expensive (original and complete ones go as high as $1000 US Dollar and up!!) and therefore a lot of reproductions exist as well.

I saw the first reproduction in Normandy in 1984 during the 40th D-Day Anniversary, but the quality was bad. The quality of these reproductions has improved ever since!!


Two original pouches:


An early tan OD (right) and later greener (left) original pouch!


Original Contents:




The pouch is made of a sort of rubberized canvas material to which two straps are sewn. At the pouch are two notches at the upper and lower part to facilitate ripping it apart. The space above the notch on the upper side is ALWAYS bigger than the one on the lower side. Only at the best quality reproductions this is also the case.

Apparently the most difficult thing to reproduce is the lettering “FIRST AID”. I have never seen a reproduction with the right type of lettering!! The words 'First Aid' should be well aligned and crisp. On almost every reproduction the lettering is not crisp and most of the times it's rather blurry....

The letter type is a sort of “Times New Roman” and has serifs. On the greener types, the serif is missing on the right underside of the “F” and on the underside of the second leg of the “R” (look at the picture).



Clean crisp lettering on the original pouch on the left with a blurry stamping on the reproduction pouch on the right!


During the production of the pouch, 4 dots, where the two straps were fastened, were printed together with the lettering. These dots are missing at bad quality reproductions; the reproductions of better quality do have them, but usually they are too big!! These dots are positioned in a way that when the straps are sewn on the pouch, you can ALWAYS see 2 dots at the place of attachment; either one dot on each side of the strap or two on the left or the right of the strap depending on the place of attachment of the strap.


In the next picture of a reproduction pouch, look at he dots before the strap was sewn on it. Note how the dots are too large on the reproduction pouch!




The strap was secured with a “zig zag” stitch”.

Here a picture of an original pouch below and a better quality reproduction on top. On both the dots are visible, as it should be.





After reading the above, you can identify the LEFT pouch in the following picture as an original, while the right one is about the best quality of reproduction you can find on the market these days. Both are unissued.




Here a picture of two reproductions on the left and on the right an original pouch.




Pay attention to the difference in distance between the notches and the edge upper and lower part of the pouch.


After some (re-enactment) usage it is very difficult to keep them apart.

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Johan Willaert

And then there are some oddities:


In September 2006, the following pouch was sold at the JAG Show in the US. It had the crisp lettering but the straps are sewn in a different way and the dots are replaced with narrow lines.... It looks however 100% original...






The French book D-Day Paratroopers, The Americans, list another model pouch on page 100. Next to the standard contents, it also has Wound Tablets.

Until recently these were considered reproductions by most collectors as these pouches were never encountered in the hands of WW2 vets, BUT at least two of these have been dug up in Holland, and are relics from the Market Garden Jump!

Note the block letters and method of stitching of the straps....




Dug up pouches from Holland!





Feel free to add any info or corrections to this thread!!!!


Please show your pouches and add to this discussion... Maybe someone has other variations??



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I had an AB 1st aid packet for a couple of years and always wondered if it was original because it had block letters. I saw a couple like it at the SOS show a few years ago that the guy said came out of a vets basement. This is the photo of mine which is identical to the ones found in Holland.



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I have one of the original types with the zipper. It was issued to my father in law. He was a ball turret gunner on a B-24 in the CBI theater. I've never seen another like it. Thanks for the info.

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You and I have discussed mine before. However, I thought I would post it here because I feel although it has the small dots, the lettering is crisp, but the lettering is different to those shown above. The top of this packet has been cut to remove the morphine.




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I would also like to add that in a AAF technical order 00-30-145 feb. 17 1943 indicated that the B-4 emergency kit be supplemented by the first aid packet parachute 9778500.This of course adds a carlisle bandage,morphine syrette and tourniquet for use in conjunction with the parachute first aid kit frying pan insert type B-4 #9710600 which does not include any of the above mentioned items.

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Some pics of my father in laws first aid pouch. It saw him through 42 combat missions, including bailing out of his Liberator after the fuel tanks had been hit and the plane ran out of gas!!


First pic showing size compared to M1924 pouch.








Here is a picture of the pouch with the 3 Rupee's included in his survival kit.



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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Wild Ranger

What is the correct dimension (inch x inch) of the original pouch? I think that most reproductions have wrong dimensions-they are to big. Can anybody measure the original pouch from his collection and put the dimensions here on forum?

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I hope that I might add a few examples that I have come across over the years. I have 3 in all, the first is the standard issue that I recieved from a C-47 pilot, the second is the early zipper type that had the straps removed, and the last is what I assume is a modified variation of the first. All three were obtained directly from vets and have not been fooled with. I'd be interested in knowing if anyone has seen or heard of any other modified examples like mine.







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This is the modified example. By the way, it had been opened, but the contents were still intact. I'm very interested in getting feed back on this example. Thanks Jon






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JDC,very interesting indeed it looks like they removed the tie tapes and added flaps for a quick release type.It looks like the kit works in the same manner as before but snaps around parachute harness instead of tied.I have a copy of TO that talks about sewing the kit to harness to prevent loss.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi gents,


Could you comment this para packet? I want to suggest nothing so I do not write on what occasion it was exhibited and where. Thank you very much in advance for possible comments.




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General Apathy



Hi Everyone, Last night I agreed to part with one of my First-Aid pouches to a friend, so I figured that I would take some photos of it to keep. Funnily this morning I open the forum site and First-Aid pouches have jumped to the top of the list again. So I have included a front and rear shot of the pouch, a couple of things are worth looking at. The front and rear are two different shades of material, and the stitching on the side to hold the tapes runs the full length of the pouch and not just on the straps, also you can see how the seal around the pouch is not perfectly in line with the side edges. I bought this back in the 1970's in France it had been opened very roughly and only has the bandage and the tourniquet inside. The material has stiffened with age, and also faded some-what.


Cheers ( Lewis )

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  • 5 months later...

Here is my small contribution to that post. This one was dug up three weeks ago in a US foxhole in Normandy. It was found in a 115th Rgt, 29th division battlefield. The gerrman paratroopers launched a terrific night attack against 1st Bn 115th's front during the night of July 10-11, North of St Lo.


The foxhole also contained a 29er steel helmet, mess can, ammo belt, bayonet, hand grenades and a TNT block and many buttons and small parts of what had been... An assault vest!


As you can notice, the first aid had been opened and the tourniquet was still inside.











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Here is an interesting photo: two 29er's (probably) resting in a foxhole. I took it from Joseph Ewing's history book "29 Let's go", published in 1947. This photo shows a para first aid packet attached to the first aid. I find it interesting to illustrate my previous post. Don't know if the photo was taken june or july 44. If some of you had a better repro of this photo, I would be glad to see it!







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  • 3 months later...

I bought an First Aid Kit, Parachutist last week, looks original, but there's an BUT: It has inside an bandage packet, but with the cellophane on it. On the pictures which are shown in this topic I see it too, but only in opened Aid Kits. Does anyone feel/hear cracking when you touch your unopened Aid Kit?


2nd question: Does the rubber material always have to be thick rubber?



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  • 9 months later...

I just picked this up at an auction and am very happy with it. I had been opened but the contents were not disturbed or missing any items. From what I have seen, the block style lettered kits seem to contain wound tablets.


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