1940 Pattern Greatcoat

Nearly a year ago we looked at the 39 Pattern greatcoat here. Tonight we are looking at the successor to this design, the 1940 pattern. From the start it was clear that there were shortcomings with the 39 Pattern greatcoat, the main ones being the coat was too tight to be worn over equipment and that it used more material than desirable. From the front the great coat looks very similar to its predecessor:imageAlthough it is hard to tell without a direct comparison, the new pattern is 2” shorter than the 39 Pattern and a warmer lining was fitted. There are still two pockets with flaps:imageAnd a steeply stepped collar that is ¾” narrower than the 39 pattern coat and can button across in inclement weather:imageThe most striking change is that the brass buttons have been replaced with green ‘vegetable ivory’ (plastic!) buttons:imageInside the coat a printed white label gives manufacturer’s details , D Joseph, sizing and a date of 1945:imageThe size is repeated in white paint on the material itself:imageWhilst the lining of one of the pockets has a /|\ and WD mark and a ‘Z’ date code:imageThe ‘Z’ code again equates to 1945. Turning to the rear, a large vent has been added to the coat allowing it to expand over any equipment worn, giving a more comfortable fit:imageThe half belt at the back remains the same, except for plastic rather than brass buttons:imageA vent at the base of the back allows the coat to be unbuttoned for greater freedom of movement:imageDespite these greatcoats being to a new pattern, the old 39 Pattern was never withdrawn and the two were worn concurrently throughout the war. It has been suggested that the older pattern was relegated to Home Guard duty as they had less need to wear them over equipment, but I have not seen any evidence for this yet.tumblr_ndd27yqd271rfehtgo1_1280

2 thoughts on “1940 Pattern Greatcoat

  1. Hank Hanks

    I’ve been researching the different types of patterns the greatcoat’s had over the years (mostly just scouring the many ebay listings), but there are some things I don’t quite understand, maybe you can help me out?
    First off every wartime (1940 pattern) coat I’ve seen has had cuffs, except yours. I’ve also seen one 1951 pattern with cuffs.
    It also seems they came with many different kinds of buttons. Yours has plastic green ones, I’ve seen plastic black buttons, gold plastic buttons like mine has, and normal brass buttons.
    A strange thing I’ve noticed is that not all 1951 pattern coats have belts, when mine has one which can be fastened from the inside as well.
    I believe I’ve also seen coats where the back pleat isn’t sewn shut at the waist, but rather flows into the vent making it one giant pleat with the length of the coat.
    I also don’t understand why most postwar coats have the pocket stitching visible through the front, wrapping around the lowest button which is a bit unsightly. I’ve yet to find a wartime coat which has this.
    I also suppose lining differences, and the presence of an inner pocket are because of different contractors?

    Reply
    1. hatchfive Post author

      Interesting analysis, there are certainly different sorts of buttons available on 40 pattern greatcoats. Early ones do have brass buttons, whilst for reasons of saving strategic metal reserves these were superceeded by vegetable ivory/plastic examples. Various manufacturers used different buttons, presumably dependent on what stocks they were given so i don’t think any great conclusions can be drawn from the button type on the greatcoats. I must confess I have never owned a 51 pattern greatcoat so I can’t really comment on its design, but I think you are right in putting changes in design down to differnt contractors. Although sealed patterns were distributed to them, differences in individual manufacturing methods, shortages and pure bloodymindedness resulted in minor variations. Presumably as long as the changes were not detrimental to the utility of the garment and not too obvious the War Department were happy to accept them.

      Reply

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