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wilkinson sword "bullet proof jacket"

Article about: i bought this tunic around 15 to 20 years ago from a junk shop in cornwall it wasnt untill i got home and found that it had definatly seen combat use......the hole in the centre of the back

  1. #1

    Default wilkinson sword "bullet proof jacket"

    i bought this tunic around 15 to 20 years ago from a junk shop in cornwall it wasnt untill i got home and found that it had definatly seen combat use......the hole in the centre of the back is from a chunk of shrapnal and the large tare up the back looks to be from were a feild medic slashed open the tunic to get to the wound only to find that it was lined with steel plates....the lineing is in tatters but you can see the blood stains (doesnt look like a hugh amount of blood so hopefully the jacket did its job and saved his life) i like to think that the wearer survived as if he had been killed this jacket most likely wouldnt have made it back to england
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  2. #2

    Default Re: wilkinson sword "bullet proof jacket"

    there is a feild dressing pocket and a gas mask hood pouch built into the lineing.......the whole tunic is very fragile and doesnt come out that often its also very heavy
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  3. #3

    Default Re: wilkinson sword "bullet proof jacket"

    the armour consists of lots of square steel plates sewn into a canvas lineing that covers the vital areas......the orriginal advert claims it could stop a pistol bullet at 20 yards and its weight isnt very noticeable...well they lied about the weight
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  4. #4

    Default Re: wilkinson sword "bullet proof jacket"

    Very nice item indeed. Not many of these around I think?

    Cheers, Ade.

  5. #5
    ?

    Default Re: wilkinson sword "bullet proof jacket"

    Interesting. Must be heavy and cumbersome. Thanks for posting.

  6. #6

    Default Re: wilkinson sword "bullet proof jacket"

    well the last one i saw was atleast 10 years ago.... and its not far off the weight of a modern kevlar vest with the ceramic plates in..i wouldnt like to run around a battlefeild in one for too long

  7. #7

    Default Re: wilkinson sword "bullet proof jacket"

    Lee

    Very interesting - as Ade says, very rare.

    Wilkinson started advertising "Secret Armour" in the Nineteenth Century - initially fitted with concealed chain mail.

    During WW1 this was replaced by the metal plates as in your example. This design was patented in 1916.

    Bullet proofing was also made for vehicles - they even produced an armoured sporran !

    They continued to provide armour plating in the 1920s including an order for the Royal Irish Constabulary's armoured vehicles.

    The bullet proofing was also sold in large quantities to Indian Maharajahs.

    In WW2 Wilkinson produced armoured clothing for aircrew - never officially adopted by the British but 13000 of them were supplied to the US 8th Air Force.

    Wilkinsons continued to produce armoured clothing post WW2 - supplying it to the Met police in the 1960s.

    They ceased making body armour in 1968 following the advent of lighter materials.

    This information comes from the two part history of Wilkinsons written by Robert Wilkinson Latham.

    Hope that it is of some interest.

    Regards

    Richie

  8. #8
    CMc
    CMc is offline
    ?

    Default Re: wilkinson sword "bullet proof jacket"

    That's a fascinating piece, I've never actually seen one of those although I seem to recall hearing about private purchase tunics with armour sewn into them. I suppose their rarity possibly stems from relatively few being sold, for one thing the weight would no doubt have seemed prohibitive (and quite probably would've been annoying in the field.), and no doubt some would've been skeptical of the benefits.

    The psychological reasons for an officer not wanting to be seen with armour are also interesting, at least to me, (although I am a student of psychology as well as a bit of a history bore!). When one reads the some of the accounts left behind by the young officers and NCOs of the Great War, such as the vast breed of well educated young public school or university graduates who chronicled their service in diaries, memoirs, or the famous 'war poems', for example, one of the themes common to seemingly everyone in command of troops is concern for the troops' wellbeing, and a desire to 'rough it out' with them and never ask them to do anything their commander is unwillng to do.

    (Certainly it's an experience friends and relatives who have been in charge of troops in more modern times have agreed with, and such sentiment even survives in non-military and non-combat settings, such as the humanitarian organisation I work with, where I've had teams under my command, albeit in much less dangerous circumstances.)

    Given the apparent power of that sentiment, I could imagine a young officer feeling that if his men must go into battle with only a 'tin hat' to protect them, then so must he, and shunning any additional protection that he could buy for himself.

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