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 denison smock 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 a a rare size 1, and beyond that it's fully period patched with qualification wings, DZ flashes for Airborne Forces Depot and Sergeant stripes. The Depot was part of the training function for the Paras, so given the rank, likely this belonged to an instructor. The smock has been tailored slightly down the sides so it's certainly the most slender fitting one of these I've ever come across, making it a very wearable piece. All zips, studs etc work perfectly, though there is one tiny hold in the sleeve (as pictured).
- Tagged a size 1
- Fits from a modern medium
- Pit to pit 22"
- Shoulder to shoulder 20"
- Shoulder to cuff 24"
- Collar to hem 30"