Denison Smock Mk 1, Parachute & Sas Issue, Ww2, Arnhem / D Day. Original For SaleThis appears, by wiki description to be a MK1 Denison Smock. The label reads: "Smock Denim, Airborne Troops'. It was worn by a Paratrooper during the invasions of World War 2. Here's what we've found out about it:
TheDenison smockwas a coverall jacket issued toSpecial Operations Executive(SOE) agents, theParachute Regiment, theGlider Pilot Regiment,Air Landing Regiments,Air Observation PostSquadrons, and otherCommonwealthairborne units, to wear over theirBattle Dressuniform during theSecond World War.
The smock was initially worn over the paratrooper's webbing equipment, but under his parachute pack and harness, as its primary purpose was to prevent the wearer's equipment from snagging while emplaned or during a jump. It was equally useful for camouflage and as a wind-proof garment that provided a method of carrying ammunition or equipment. Contemporary photographs show that airborne troops preferred to wear the smocks under their webbing once they had landed.
The smock replaced an expedient first issue that had been directly copied in 1940 from theGerman sack").This first "smock" was designed to be stepped into and pulled up over the body like a set of overalls which had had the legs removed from mid-thigh.The new Denison smock was put on and removed by pulling over the head: the collar zipped open as far as the chest, making it a truesmockstyle. The zipper was covered by a cloth flap, which had no buttons or other method to fasten it down. Introduced in 1942, the "Airborne Smock Denison Camouflage" bore a camouflage pattern designed by aMajorDenison, a member of a camouflage unit under the command of eminent stage designerOliver Messel.]An alternative name was the "Smock Denison Airborne Troops".
The Denison was a popular garment among officers who could acquire them—Company Sergeant MajorCC Martin, DCM, MM ofThe Queen's Own Rifles of Canadamentioned in his memoirBattle Diarythat senior officers and sergeants major of his battalion wore the Denison universally.
The smock was made from loose-fitting, yellowish-sand coloured, heavyweighttwillmaterial, allegedly hand-painted with broad, mop like brushes using non-colourfast dyes in broad pea green and dark brown stripes, or "brush-strokes". With use the base colour faded to a sandy buff, and the overlaid shades gained a blended appearance. The colours of the 1st pattern smock were thought to best suit the wearer to the North African and Italian theatres. It had a half length zip fastener made of steel, knitted woollen cuffs, four external pockets that secured with brass snaps (two on the chest and two below the waist), two internal pockets on the chest, and epaulettes that secured with plastic battle dress buttons. The inside of the collar was lined with soft khaki flannel (or in senior officer's smocks, Angora wool). A “beaver tail” fastened beneath the crotch from the back to the front of the smock - which kept it from riding up during a parachute descent. When not used, the tail would hang down behind the wearer's knees, hence the nickname "men with tails", given by the Arabs in North Africa in 1942. The smock was styled as a very loose garment, since it would be worn overBattle Dress, but it could be adjusted to some extent with tightening tabs on both sides of the lower part of the smock.
The smock was most commonly associated with British and Commonwealthairborne units, and theSpecial Air ServiceRegiment, afterD-Day, but its initial use was by members of theSpecial Operations Executive(SOE), parachuted or landed intoenemy territorybetween 1941 and 1944. In the early smocks the colours were meant to be impermanent and wash out, leaving the garment looking like a typical French artisan or labourer’schemise, and thus, hopefully, aiding the wearer'sEscape and Evasionchances. As the newly formed Airborne Forces expanded, so the need for smocks grew, meaning that they were by now screen printed for easier production.For use by Airborne troops, the Denison was worn over the battledress and under the webbing, with a sleeveless green denim over-smock being worn over the ensemble to prevent rigging lines snagging in the webbing and causing a 'chute malfunction. This sleeveless smock had a long external zipper (often removed and used to make the half-zip Denisons full zip), a monkey tail that press studded to the outside front of the over-smock and two elasticated open pockets on the lower front which were to hold grenades for use whilst in the air or immediately upon landing. After a successful parachute landing fall, the over-smock was discarded.
There is a reserve on this item, There is no buy it now, however, a serious offer, baring in mind therarity of this antique may be considered. We hope it goes to a good home :-)
Due to the value of the item, it will be sent by courier only. (But can also be picked up from our store location)Happy offerding, and good luck!
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