Post War Vinyl Jerkin

A pet peeve of myself, and many other re-enactors, is the use of post war vinyl jerkins by those portraying wartime units. These vinyl jerkins are distinctly different to their leather counterparts and look shiny, even from tens of yards away. Having said all that, they are an interesting item of cloting in their own right and have a place in a post war collection- just please not for wartime impressions!

The vinyl jerkin was introduced in the immediate post war period and was presumably an attempt to save money as vinyl would have been cheaper than leather. The cut and design of the jerkin however is identical to that used as early as World War 1:

The jerkin fastens up the fiont with four dark brown plastic buttons:

Note the distinct look of the vinyl which has a different texture and look to genuine leather. The jerkin retained the same woollen lining as the earlier pattern and the button holes have the vinyl folded back through and sewn to reinforce this vulnerable area:

Further reinforcement is sewn under each arm where there is danger of splitting when the wearer moves his arms:

A single white label is sewn in with sizing and a year of manufacure, here 1961:

These jerkins remained in service for many years, right through until the 1980s with self propelled gun crews, however they seem not to have been very popular by this point:

We still had them on the G1098 for (Abbot) Gun Batteries as ‘loaders jerkin’. Some were wartime dates most were 50s as they wore out. I never saw one in use as they were deemed ‘unfashionable’, such an opinion probably put about by the BQMS as ‘Stores are for storing’. It lives on in the ‘Jerkin protective combat’ which I still have and is still on issue but deemed just as unfashionable! Probably due to the efficient laundry system today (you always get something back) and the quick resupply chain that negates make do and mend to some degree.

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