Army & Navy - EQUIPMENT: Peacetime Luxury

Samuel James Browne entered Britain's Indian Army in 1840 as a 16-year-old ensign. He soldiered for his Queen through the next 39 years. In the Sepoy Mutiny he led a desperate charge against rebel artillery at Sirpura, lost his left arm and won the cherished Victoria Cross. Later campaigns earned him fame, knighthood, full general's rank, honorable retirement.

Soldiers knew the name of Sir Samuel James Browne, not for any of these solid accomplishments, but for his casual invention, some time in the 1870s, of a handy leather uniform belt. As a...

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