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Para Smock 84 pattern

Article about: Another recent addition, post 84 version para smock -with FA pouch n rear of left arm- with signs of multiple missing/removed insignia, DZ patch and Wings on right arm, Union jack and Brigad

  1. #11

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    I was in Para Regt mid-1980s to mid 1990s.

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    LABEL:

    I can't speak for 2(?) sqn RAF Regiment but I can guarantee that our storeman would have rejected this Smock for exchange - it's not made by "Cookson & Clegg". Cookson & Clegg made the '59(?) patt Dennisons, too, possibly some of the earlier half zip Mk1 and Mk2. I think the other genuine DPM Para Smock manufacturer to British ABF and RAF Regt was "HE Textiles". They also made the later Dennisons as well as DPM SAS windproofs.

    The vast majority of DPM Smocks in the marketplace are made by other government contractors, usually to exact specifications, even with a contract number printed on the label. These were NOT made to be sold to the MoD.

    When you think about it, the MoD needed only enough Smocks for 5 Ab Bde (which later became 16 AA Bde), 2(?) sqn RAF Regt and their reserve units. The number of Smocks made for shops likely outnumbered the number of men in these units!

    Stocks would run low then the MoD would place another order (surely, a small order - we seemed to have supply problems ALL the time I was in service). In contrast, the "non-genuine" Smocks made for the civvie market could be in production near constantly.

    This looks like one of those. Compton Webb certainly made genuine kit but not Smocks to 5 Ab Bde or 16 AA Bde, in my time. Unless it was they who made the distinctive trials dark shade DPM Para Smock that exceedingly few men received (early 1990s). (I've NEVER seen any since, not even in photographs)

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    FLAG BADGE:

    At no time did we wear the small Union Flag on the left shoulder, though I'd seen some guys had unofficially sew them onto windproofs when they'd been on overseas attachments. I left service early 1995.

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    CHEST "WINGS" VELCRO PATCH:

    I GUARANTEE that the position is 100% WRONG for foreign parachute wings. Wrong shape for Army pilot wings. And why would they need to be velcro attached?

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    APJI BADGE:

    This went in place of standard wings on the right shoulder, NEVER on the chest. The course ceased being run, I think, in the late 1980s.

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    SHIELD BADGE, LEFT ARM:

    If Airborne, it surely can only be the 16 AA badge. But it's positioned wrong - too low. That's because of the flag badge.

    The trick (with the Pegasus) was to sew it or have it sewn so that you could still just about use the pocket.

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    SIZE:

    I think it's the smallest possible size available, for a Para Smock. The person who wore it must have been TINY. If anything, we tended to wear our Smocks a size bigger - which with a Para Smock means VERY baggy. Some almost down to the knees for what we considered "Fallschirmjager style" - that had it's benefits when in the field but was OTT in barracks...

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    CONCLUSION:

    I think you have a red herring. I'm sorry...

    Do RAF pilot wings match the velcro chest patch? If not, it's Walt or it's badged for foreign use. The Dutch Army and Marines (RNMC) wore DPM. I think they wear their parachute wings on the chest but their wings are a different shape to the British ones and not a match to the velcro.

    It's plausible that it belonged to a support arms person who'd been briefly attached to 16 AA. Badges on, badges off, as they passed through various units. Or badges on, badges off, as the Smock changed owners.

    Probably a female soldier, given the size. There have been cases of women who'd done a civvie sports parachuting course naively and illegally sewing parachute wings to their uniforms...


    I can only assume that a non-Airborne serviceman/woman bought the Smock from Silvermans, Du Bora or the like and it changed hands many times, requiring re-badging each time.

    Otherwise, I'm wondering if it belonged to a cadet or seasoned Walt. Ideal for posing in when fishing, laserquest, etc.

    I met one such Walt in one of the main streets of Wimbledon. All the correct Airborne badges on a SAS windproof - plus red "combined operations" badges, red "cdo dagger" and Cpl stripes. Suspicious, I spoke to him and he knew blokes I knew in the unit he claimed to have been in. Later turned out that he'd been a failed recruit who was "on the radar" and has since been making himself scarce for reasons most people could well understand...


  2. #12

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    I think this is a genuine issue para smock from the late 80s. I can't comment on what was in any particular QM store, but I have done some research into contract numbers and can pin them down fairly accurately. I have seen para smocks made by H E Textiles, James Smith and Co, F Fryer and Co and Wm Brownlee and Co up to about the Falklands War, then by Cookson and Clegg, J Compton Sons and Webb, Dashmore Clothing and Supercraft Garments from the 80s until the early 90s when maker names were dropped from labels. All these had contract numbers from the official sequence which fall within the correct timeframe for their type of garment. The only alternative explanation for this that I can think of is that makers of private purchase garments used spurious contract numbers in the correct format that they somehow knew wouldn't clash with bona fide government contracts. For me that's stretching credibility too far.

    Prior to the issue of para smocks, Denisons were being made by H E Textiles, Cookson and Clegg, BMC and James Smith and Co. I don't know how the scale of issue worked, but Royal Marines certainly got para smocks as well as the paras and airborne RAOC, RE etc. and I think there was sufficient scope for contracts to go to several makers, which in any case would have been MOD policy to avoid accusations of favouritism. Which is not to say there are no commercial para smocks out there - they just aren't labelled with contract numbers apart from the occasional fantasy one.

    As for the small sizes, here's a link to a Size 01 (not mine) on another forum with a pre-1979 contract number. 01 is actually 160/88; 160/96 is old Size 02.
    Pre metric para smock... Ghurka issue? - Clothing/uniforms - HMVF - Historic Military Vehicles Forum

  3. #13

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    I had chosen to ignore the previous post, it is an official issue and though has traces of lots of badges there is nothing than cannot be explained.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

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