Personal Effects Pouch

Heavy canvas bag used for shipping personal effects of deceased military personnel to Army Effects Bureau in Kansas City, Mo. The Dispatch Card goes into the pocket beneath the handle, along with the Pouch List which shows names of men who owned the effects. Front side of the pouch shows its individual serial number, which identifies the pouch, and the web tape, threaded through steel loops, used to seal the top. A sealed lock (missing in the example shown above) is used to safeguard contents. The bag may be opened for inspection and re-sealed. The example shown above is marked U.S. War Department Registered Personal Effects Pouch No. 2358.

To speed the safe delivery of personal effects recovered from soldiers killed in action, two new shipping containers have been designed by the Quartermaster Corps. They are the War Department Registered Personal Effects Pouch, and the Individual Personal Effects Bag.
They will be used by oversea Graves Registration companies for shipping the Effects QM at Kansas City, Mo. The pouch is made of heavy waterproof OD canvas and is 24″ long, 22½” wide, and has a reinforced bottom 4½” wide. A flap cover, with eyelets which fit over steel loops, closes the top, and a triple-reinforced handle is provided for carrying. A 1″ wide web tape slops through the steel loops, and a padlock is inserted in a leather hasp fastener on the tape.

Inside the pocket positioned on the back, is QMC Form 1032, Dispatch Card, showing address of the Effects QM Depot and the pouch’s serial number. The date, time dispatched, signature of the receiving and dispatching officers, and the organization originating the shipment are also entered on the card. QMC Form 1031, listing the deceased personnel to whom the effects belong, goes in the pocket too.
The Individual Personnel Effects Bag, made of water-resistant OD canvas with a set-in bottom, is 10½” wide and 8¾” deep. Stitched on the outside of the bag is a form completely identifying the soldier to whom the items belonged, and listing nearest relative, address and other information, fos use of Effects QM.
About one hundred of these bags closed by a drawstring and sealed with lead seals, go into a Personal Effects Pouch. A pouch is shipped whenever filled, or on the first of each month. Lead seals for the pouch als also provided, because the locks used can be opened by any other pouch key. Seals for the pouch are fixed on a wire loop which slips through a hole in the lock.

Hand delivery. Whenever a pouch shows signs of tampering, the seal is broken and the pouch opened for examination. Then it’s re-sealed. Pouches are delivered by hand, so responsibility can be fixed at all times.
A list of pouch serial numbers in any one shipment is turned in at the base section by the person who deliveres the pouches from a forward area.
The NCO in charge of the burial or searchig party in the Graves Registration company is responsible for checking and identifying personal effects and or sending them to his CO. The officer, in turn makes out duplicate lists of each group of items, one of which goes into the personal effects bag. In transit, the pouches containing the bags are handled only by Graves Registration Service officers or others especially designated by the Theater Quartermaster.
All GI property is salvaged from personal effects before they are packed for shipment. All letters, diaries, photographs, and other documents which might contain classified information are censored at the base section before being sent on to the United States.

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This article is written with information provided from the original publications in the Quartermaster Training Service Journal, dated between 1942 and 1945.


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