Indian Made Leather Jerkin

The leather jerkin was frequently and popularly used as an additional layer of warm clothing in the European theatre during World War 2. This however was not its primary purpose; it was actually designed as a protective layer to prevent damage to a soldier’s uniform when doing heavy work such as using artillery or fixing engines. Tonight we are looking at an Indian made jerkin which is very much designed as purely work wear. My thanks go to Andrew Dearlove for tipping me off to this one on eBay. The jerkin is made of leather like its UK equivalent:imageWhere it differs is the lack of any sort of lining, hence the lack of any thermal properties:imageNote how the jerkin is made of a number of odd pieces of leather, again copying the UK version. The leather is simple machine sewn together like cloth. The collar of the jerkin is reinforced and a leather loop is stitched in to allow it to be hung up:imageThe armpits on the jerkin have extra crescents of leather to help reinforce a weaker area:imageThe original buttons on this jerkin were missing so I have replaced them with the removable plastic buttons used on denims and other clothing requiring them to be removable, these match a photograph of an example in the Imperial War Museum:imageAccording to Brayley’s Khaki Drill and Jungle Green the buttons were held on by a leather thong originally, these however have small brass split rings:imageThis jerkin is quite a bit smaller than my British example, but they did come in a variety of sizes and many Indians were smaller than European soldiers due to the poor diet and conditions in the country during the first half of the twentieth century. Despite this, the jerkin is still perfectly useable, even for someone 6’ tall like myself:

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