Army issue vests for the Second World War are really quite scarce and although I have half a dozen different examples of the underpants, it has taken until now for me to pick up an example of the vest. A number of variations of the vest exist, some with buttons around the neck hole to make the easier to put on and many seem to have been made of wool. This example however is a simple v-neck design made of white aertex cotton:The neck is ‘V’ shaped and bound with white tape:There would originally have been a label sewn into the neck but this has been removed, possibly it was scratching the wearer’s neck and he felt it would be better taken out.
The inside of the vest has a black ink stamp with a WD /|\ mark and a date letter of ‘M’:The letter ‘M’ equates to 1944 so the vest can be dated to that year. The design of the vest includes a cut away at the seam on each side, presumably to help make it easier to put on and remove the garment and to improve its comfort:As well as an item of underwear, vests were also used for PT:
I went to Fort George on the Moray Firth along the coast from Inverness; also the home of the famous Seaforth Highlanders Regiment. It was a bleak place to be in the month of November and in winter, particularly when running along the beach in a vest and shorts as part of the training schedule at that time early in the cold mornings.
Sadly this vest is a very small size and so I cannot try it for comfort, it is however an interesting and surprisingly scarce piece of wartime personal clothing.