Posted 21 July 2012 - 11:13 PM
Hello, Paul -
The rarest by far piece of P-15 equipment is the helve holder. A friend told me that even Australian museums lack examples. Additionally, I've never seen any of the narrow equipment straps that secured the large pack.
The next rarest piece is the bayonet frog. The same friend was fortunate to find one for his own collection, but I haven't been able to acquire an example. I expect that if I ever obtain one I'll have to pay dearly for it.
The remaining pieces of the P-15 set still can be found, although at higher and higher prices. The most common pieces are canteen carriers, cases of which seem to have survived.
For a long time many collectors were convinced that P-15 equipment was not worn on the Western Front. However, I've examined the remains of several P-15 sets that were unearthed on the Somme, so some of the P-15 equipment was worn in France into mid-to-late 1916. I doubt that it remained in use after that.
To answer Chris, I don't recall seeing any photographs of P-15 equipment being worn in France. Someone should ask Dominique at Le Tommy if any of the collection of photgraphs of Australian soldiers that he acquired included any images of soldiers wearing P-15 equipment.
This information is based upon my personal observations, and I could be wrong. [Perhaps a crate of P-15 helve holders will be found somewhere!] Anyway, I hope that this information will be of some use.