A British classic, and one of the most recognisable piece of vintage clothing! The denison smock's history lies in the early part of WW2. Having seen the success of the German's airborne forces in Norway, Churchill ordered Britain's parachute regiment to be formed and expanded quickly. Initially the British copied the German parachute oversmock, called a knockensack, but soon developed their own large overfitting garment known as a denison smock. The first iteration was introduced in 1942, and whilst there would be small changes, remained largely unchanged into the late 50s.
In 1959 the Parachute Regiment issued a new specification, known as the '59 pattern'. This retained many of the features of the WW2 garment, but now included a full length zip, and made the size substantially more suited to wearing. The camouflage would change from the earthy toned brushstrokes, to a yellow/tan led colour, with green and brown strokes. This iteration, and the various variants of camo in which it was produced would be used by the Paras until replacement with DPM in the late 70s.
This example here is an extremely rare mint 'one wash' example. In an era of austerity, when the British would maximise the return of investment on every piece of kit, finding an unused example a Denison is practically unheard of. The camouflage is much much darker than on every used example I've seen, and the cotton is thick and almost stiff. The size label is clear and unwashed, the lightning zip is even still stiff from under-use! But my favourite is the mirroring of the camo pattern on the back - not unusual to find on 59 pattern Denison smocks and always pleasing to see.
- Tagged a size 3
- Fits from a modern medium to XL depending upon desired fit
- Pit to pit 26" (if you've never had a denison, these fit very broad across the chest)
- Shoulder to shoulder 20"
- Shoulder to cuff 25"
- Collar to hem 31"