Pattern '08 entrenching tool Mk. II ( with Mk. II helve) and pattern '37 cover
This entrenching tool set is actually a mess of different nomenclatures - the head is a pattern '08 Mk. II head, the helve is a pattern 'Implement, entrenching, Patt. ’37, helve, Mark II - with bayonet adaptor and the carrier I believe is a post war manufacture - date is not readable apart from 194[?].
The pattern 1937 webbing set were actually to have no entrenching tool, but in 1939 the British army adopted the Danish M/1870 entrenching tool (Den Linnemannske Spade) - The Linnemann entrenching tool for use with the patt. '37 webbing. The small shovel, incorrectly known as a "German" invention, was designed by the Danish officer Mads Johan Buch Linnemann (1830-1889) during the Germano-Danish war of 1864. In British service it was designated Implement, entrenching, 1939 pattern.
Apparently the army was not satisfied with the Linnemann tool and reintroduced the Pattern '08 entrenching tool and designated it Implement, entrenching, 1937 pattern. (It was the Mk II Variant that was reintroduced). One wonders why the '08 tool was re-introduced, but the need for a pick-like entrenching implement might have turned the army away from the Linnemann tool - the Linnemann tool did not agree with anything but the lightest soil.
In 1944 the helve was altered. It was now to have a metal replica of the No. 4 Rifle barrel on its narrow end. When you attached the No. 4 bayonet, the set-up could function as a mine probe - or a hand-to-hand weapon. Whatever the situation might call for.
The entrenching tool head is dated 1944 and the helve is dated 1945.