In the early-to-mid 1930s, the British Army recognised the need to update it's standard service uniform which hadn't evolved much since the introduction of the 1902 pattern service dress three decades previously. A new mechanised style of warfare required a new type of soldier, with greater freedom of movement and the ability to carry new equipment. By 1937 the army was experimenting with what became known as Battledress, a two piece overall suit composed of a blouse and trousers. This would start to be widely issued from 1939 onwards in both a serge wool, and in a denim fabric as a working fatigue dress. Brian Jewell, the authoritative author on Battledress describes the denims in his 1981 book as 'an abomination, but surprisingly many soldiers were reluctant to give them up; they were often worn in battle, being much lighter than [serge] battledress for summer use'.
Many of these early jackets were issued to members of the Home Guard, initially called the Local Defense Volunteers (LDV). This was essentially a local militia made up of men too old to serve in the regular army of in reserved occupations. Their uniform would often include an arm band or sleeve patch, before being replaced later in the war by shoulder titles. This example features the sewn arm patch and a set of WW1 medal ribbons.
There are a couple of distinguishing features of the early 1937 pattern battledress blouses that would disappear in 1942 with the 'austerity pattern'. The large chest pockets are both pleated (a featured removed later to save on material), and the inside waist features three button holes to attach to the matching trousers (later versions would feature two). Beyond this, the denims always feature removable shank backed buttons to allow for easy cleaning, a feature missing on their serge cousins.
This is worn but in great condition. No major issues and very wearable.
- To tag
- Fits a perfect modern medium
- Pit to pit 22"
- Shoulder to shoulder 18"
- Shoulder to cuff 24"
- Collar to hem 21"