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British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

Article about: Hi Guys, the "Denison smock" was the trade mark item along with the Red Beret of British Airborne forces in WW2. Worn by all Paratroopers, airlanding forces, glider pilots and by l

  1. #1

    Default British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

    Hi Guys, the "Denison smock" was the trade mark item along with the Red Beret of British Airborne forces in WW2. Worn by all Paratroopers, airlanding forces, glider pilots and by late 1944 by the Commandos too. Also worn by Free Polish and Free French airborne forces.

    Designed by Major Denison in 1941 and first produced in 1942. This is a so called second pattern smock produced from 1943 to 1945.

    The first pattern smock (these are actually collector terms and not official designations) featured:



    Lighter colours with camo patterns applied by hand
    Knitted woolen cuffs
    No snap fasteners to hold up the "ape tail" onto the back of the smock.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Default Re: British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

    Now in a little more detail.

    The smock was designed to be worn over the Battledress blouse, but under the equipement.

    The smock ranged from Size 1, the smallest, up to a Size 8, the largest.
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  3. #3
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    Default A used

    A "used" 1st Pattern .. 1942 dated .. Wareings Northampton production.

    G.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

    Hi Gary, those pics illustrates very well a typically used "1st pattern" smock. But the colours are still pretty good. As you know, they can fade out very badly.

    Very nice

    Cheers, Ade.

  5. #5
    ?

    Default Re: British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

    Ade,
    In "true light", the colours are not so bad.
    The photo was taken in indirect sunlight.

    BTW .. the smock is a size 5 ... which for the period was quite large (5 foot 9 to 5 foot 11).

    G.

  6. #6
    Pegasus
    ?

    Default Re: British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Hi Gary, those pics illustrates very well a typically used "1st pattern" smock. But the colours are still pretty good. As you know, they can fade out very badly.

    Very nice

    Cheers, Ade.
    Hey Guys, the 1st Pattern Denison Smocks were made with vegetable dyes that were designed to be "washed out" if the combatant was in occupied territory. This made the smock look like the traditional French farmers smock and allowed the wearer to blend in.

    Gives you some idea of the naive thinking of the British command - all other patterns were permanent dyes as you couldn't then be mistaken for a spy and shot !

    Hope this helps?

  7. #7

    Default Re: British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

    Hi, and welcome to the forum!

    I have never heard of this before? I would be very interested to know where this info came from?

    Cheers, Ade.

  8. #8
    Pegasus
    ?

    Default Re: British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

    Thanks for the welcome Adrian.

    I was in the Airborne forces (UK) for 15 years started mid 70's - and it was something that we just learned as we all wanted to know the history of Airborne Troops. Your question has made me rack my brains as to backing up the statement but I did find something that confirms what I say on another site:

    kamouflage.net — 1942 Denison smock camouflage

    It just seemed a logical thing to us as the smocks were used by SOE as well as Airborne.

    Here's some pics of my Denison - 1954 vintage -3rd Pattern and in perfect condiion unfortunately having to sell it.:
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

    Ade , just read this thread, and id like your opinion , My dad used to wear a para smock ,no insignia, that was given to him by his cousin who was a glider pilot in ww2, my dad wore it for yrs, to and from work, and then for fishing, OMG,,I think it eventually wore out and he binned it or gave it away, but as a kid i remember distinctly the where the top zip should have been was a crossed draw string with purpose stitched holes right to the top, that was how he got it.He wore it upto the late 70s when he became too ill to either work or fish anymore , he died in 1984 so i cant ask anyone any details as nearly all of my aunts ,uncles etc have passed,as well as mum , any ideas.cheers

  10. #10

    Default Re: British Airborne Forces Denison camo smock

    Hi Dave, never seen a Denison fitted with the style of closure you describe. Very odd.

    Cheers, Ade.

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