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wdbikemad

THE Earliest and Rarest DPM Combat Smock....Beat This !!!!!

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I will post piccies within the next few days.........:D

 

I have just acquired a rare trial DPM combat smock / jacket that is dated 1966.....it is British, not foreign.......

 

The garment is in well-used condition although complete.....it is one of the trial garments made in limited numbers by SCRDE and tested by APRE during the mid-1960's as part of the plan to introduce DPM cammo throughout the British Army......

 

The garment is basically cut exactly the same as a 1959 pattern full-zip Denison smock.......BUT, not fitted with a crutch-flap, lower-side adjustment tabs or flannel-lined collar............and this is NOT a trial DPM para smock either as although cut as per the Denison it lacks most of the "para" features apart from the woolen cuffs.......the trial DPM para smocks were not introduced until nearly 10 years later with the initial design entering service during 1977......

 

However, the garment is fully-lined in green poplin (as per the later 68 pattern smock) with no internal pockets, has heavy wool knitted cuffs, is cut longer in the body than the Denison, and all pockets are flat-sewn and non-expanding and lined in poplin (there are no sleeve or pen pockets either).......all pocket flaps are press-stud fastened, plus the epaulettes..........the garment also has a permanently-attached DPM hood cut similar to a 52 pattern hood (lined) that has a drawcord and a stud-fastening at the front.........and when not in use the hood is rolled up and secured behind the collar by a DPM cloth strap secured by a press-stud........

 

The front-zipper is a typical "NZ" item in blackened brass on a green cloth tape....it is damaged but still works and has a DPM cloth puller attached to the zip-tag.......all press-studs are plain brass "Newey" doughnut fasteners as found on wartime Denisons..........

 

Fabric is heavy cotton-sateen and printed in a very early light-shade DPM (without "dots" to the pattern !!!) and looks to be almost "hand-printed" or early screen-printed suggesting trial........

 

Interestingly, the waist has a 60 pattern thick drawcord, the ends of which can be inserted from either the inside-front or through sewn slots on the outside front........

 

Frustratingly, the white-cloth label is largely unreadable, BUT, you can make out the size (5) plus the measurements, the word "combat" and the clear date "1966"....there appears to be no NSN or similar..........there are also traces of the original wearers name and number....

 

This IS a genuine ex-British item and most definitely trial...........I have had another in the past, almost the same but heavy fleece lined in a fabric similar to the British Korean middle parka...........

 

Photos will follow..........

 

It looks a bloody good garment, well designed and not dissimilar to the DPM para smock introduced 10 years later.....I just wonder why the army went for the 60 pattern smock in DPM and then followed by the 68 pattern........the 60 pattern not appearing until at least 1970............???:undecided:

Edited by wdbikemad

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efc9.jpg With credit to the images to the seller, I will add additional close-ups of details (such as the label) in due course.......:D I would really appreciate comments on this smock as it's going in the book !!!! Cheers, Steve (ps - also note the longer length than the Denison and the very early non-dotted DPM cammo print, brass wartime-style Newey press studs, etc)......The stated "Size 5" also suggests that this particular garment was made in a full size range, no doubt matching the 59 Denison sizes (upon which this garment was based) from a size 1 to 8...........

 

I also didn't realise until recently, but an old article in Soldier Magazine revealed that the SCRDE/APRE had their own workshops complete with around 40-odd staff that included tailors, cutters, etc, whom could manufacture in small quantities any trial garment or item of kit.....this may account for the garment being assembled using the older wartime non-plated Newey fasteners, these appearing in production garments in nickel plate from as early as '46 onwards....no doubt SCRDE/GDS (Garment Development Section) or APRE stocks were of earlier items.......

 

I might add that this wasn't cheap....(cost around £150) but on the scale of things I was prepared to go up to £250.........sole purpose was (and is) the forthcoming book, to ensure that I can write the best possible summary.........63 pattern DPM and green windproof suits are rare, but this item.........well, I think I got a bargain.......and for the greater good !!!

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Edited by wdbikemad

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Superb Steve - would love to see the close ups you mention espy label.

 

I wonder if this may have been a pre-cursor to the cold weather parka. As you say 60 pattern DPM was in wide circulation at this point and the 68 pattern is a world apart from this even though it was likely in development around this time. It is SO different from the 60 and 68 pattern it just seems to be a big jump from these two issues. The long length and integral hood point more towards a parka. Just a thought....

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Superb Steve - would love to see the close ups you mention espy label.

 

I wonder if this may have been a pre-cursor to the cold weather parka. As you say 60 pattern DPM was in wide circulation at this point and the 68 pattern is a world apart from this even though it was likely in development around this time. It is SO different from the 60 and 68 pattern it just seems to be a big jump from these two issues. The long length and integral hood point more towards a parka. Just a thought....

 

Thanks Jason....I did think "parka" due to the length and facility to shove the waist drawcords externally rather than internally, an important consideration in cold weather conditions..........plus, the similar garment I owned many years ago now that was almost identical but with a non-detachable fleecy parka lining...........

 

Yet from what I can see of the label, it is something (possibly spec or pattern numbers) followed by (possibly) "smock" and then definitely "Combat".........sizing is as per many 60-era garments with a numbered size followed by measurements......plus a 1966 date......infuriatingly, I cannot see anything else.....the label should also include the words "SCRDE", "GDS" or "APRE".......at this time never a manufacturers name because such garments were made "in-house" by the development teams........

 

But to all intents and puposes, this item is cut identically to a 59 pattern Denison, yet slightly longer in the body and full poplin-lined.....so a combat smock rather than a parka....?

 

This item also proves that DPM cammo was extant in it's initial form as early as '66, but not introduced into production combat clothing (60 pattern) until 1970.............

 

The plot thickens.....!!!!!:-D

 

I have a copy of a Soldier Magazine photo showing a similar smock being worn in the late-1960's by an APRE examiner supervising a clothing trial test...........

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Steve - I had thought that 60 pattern DPM was around from c.1966 onwards. I have a couple of 68 pattern DPM items dated 1971, and judging by the amount ot 60 pattern DPM produced, it must have been in circualtion for a few years prior to the 68 pattern in 1970/71...

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Steve - I had thought that 60 pattern DPM was around from c.1966 onwards. I have a couple of 68 pattern DPM items dated 1971, and judging by the amount ot 60 pattern DPM produced, it must have been in circualtion for a few years prior to the 68 pattern in 1970/71...

 

This area has always been a bone of contention Jason ! I am still searching for official references to DPM clothing, and the key to this would be to see a CG (combat clothing) NSN list first showing the DPM 60 pattern clothing listed under the unique NSN for the smock and trousers !!!!! I haven't seen/found anything to date.........we are looking at the period 1969 - 71 to cover all bases.....

 

But what is clear is that I have trawled through tons and tons of Army photos, including Soldier Magazine archives, and no DPM clothing appears in pictures until 1970 at the earliest........add to this official statements (from SCRDE) published in the same magazine as news items, confirming that DPM clothing was being introduced for the regular army from 1970-71 onwards, and the TA from 74-75 onwards............

 

It would seem that the first three contracts for DPM clothing (smocks and trousers) went to Cookson & Clegg and James Smith........they were sizeable contracts judging by the number of surviving garments all bearing the same contract numbers, and were for the existing (1964 modified) 1960 pattern gear........by 1971 the 68 pattern suit entered production and issue, replacing the interim 60 pattern DPM gear........but it should also be stated that the initial production of DPM 60 pattern gear that lasted for no less than an estimated 2 years (say 1969 - 71) was of such quantity to see the gear still stocked and on issue alongside the later 68 pattern clothing until at least the mid-late 1970's if photos are anything to go by........I have a photo of the Gloster's returning from a tour of NI during 1971 and many of the parade are wearing 60 pattern DPM combats, but mixed among them are early examples of 68 pattern gear....all indicative of the short production run and early replacement by the improved pattern....

 

Realistically however, it would seem highly likely that the then-current 6o pattern suit was made up in DPM fabric for trial purposes from the late-1960s onwards prior to production.........

 

It's so damn frustrating that the records of tests and trials are being so elusive.......I need a week off in the National Archives..

Edited by wdbikemad

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OK! So two types of DPM (60 and 68) introduced and circulation at essentially the same time...admittedly does sound typical of the MOD:D

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I saw it but didnt know what it was so passed,plus pretty much ANYTHING rare on not Hogspear sells goes for big money so didnt even keep it in my watch list.

 

Glad it went to a good home:laugh:

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OK! So two types of DPM (60 and 68) introduced and circulation at essentially the same time...admittedly does sound typical of the MOD:D

 

Almost Jason...! Initial production DPM 60 pattern, say (very) late 69 to (early) 71, 68 pattern (very late) 70 to early 71 onwards until modified circa 1976-77 (fabric composition and revised NSN's)..........modified 68 pattern production ended by 1984 (with trouser lining & belt loops modified around 81-82).......:D

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I saw it but didnt know what it was so passed,plus pretty much ANYTHING rare on not Hogspear sells goes for big money so didnt even keep it in my watch list.

 

Glad it went to a good home:laugh:

 

I only came across this by chance, and recognised it only by similarities to the trial fleece-lined garment I'd owned years ago (and stupidly parted with...:-()............I still think I got a bargain by setting my maximum limit after clearing such with 'er indoors.....and went for it...........after all, large size green 60 pattern smocks and 63 pattern windproofs seem to be going for far more.......I recently saw a mintish early size 5 DPM arctic windproof sell on Fleabay for £330......so on the scale of things, not a bad deal for rocking-horse.........

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Nice catch!I had it on my watch list in the vain hope that i was the only person who spotted it!Looks like it found a good home..Strange thing with Hogspear's stuff, relatively common items seem to sell for lots of money?..

 

so, when is this book coming out then?:D

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Nice catch!I had it on my watch list in the vain hope that i was the only person who spotted it!Looks like it found a good home..Strange thing with Hogspear's stuff, relatively common items seem to sell for lots of money?..

 

so, when is this book coming out then?:D

 

Hogspear seem to acquire much of their gear from household clearance, much of such being ex-officer stuff......and the majority seems untouched and definitely original.......I guess they attract the serious collector, and from my own experience their customer sales experience is bloody good........I guess you end up paying for a reputable seller......

 

The book text is now largely completed....that is just the basic text........I now need to add detail and specialist non-standard garments.........all of this takes time, and I need a spare week at least at the National Archives just to double-check certain details (and I have a leave-ban until the Olympics end at the expense of family and pleasure hols)....the main issue is juggling work (I am out between 5am and 7pm Monday to Friday in London, plus travel) and family.....we still have two teen girls at home who are in their own ways rather demanding (though have got shot of the two boys and other two girls who are now in their 20's/30's !!!).........plus we only got round to getting married (at last) less than two months ago........so enjoying life at present as newly-weds.....!

I spend my working day behind a screen and often the last thing I want to do when getting home is to spend more hours at a keyboard.....!!!!

 

Books take time.........my last book (British Forces Motor Cycles) took almost 3 years to write with a mate, both of us having to type everything up on a typewriter (no PC's back then) and find time to visit archives, etc.......no mean task......

 

I am hoping that the book will appear next year......but I won't compromise on putting my wife and the family commitments first.....:-D

Edited by wdbikemad

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Photo0540.jpg Some more images of the early prototype 1966 dated DPM smock....note the provision for the waist drawcord to exit from either the inside or outside front, the pocket detail showing the wartime-style unplated Newey-brand snap fasteners plus some unfaded early DPM cloth.......plus detail of the NZ-brand zipper and label.....although hard to read I can now just make out what I think is "SCRDE" before the 66 date..........also included is a side shot showing the sleeve design identical to the 59 pattern Denison smock.......

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I am still intrigued by this garment.......

 

Jason has suggested possible "parka"........but I remain undecided......it is cut almost the same as a 59 pattern Denison, but with the addition of poplin lining, hood and waist drawcord.......yet no "para" features such as rear crutch-flap or lower hem tightening tabs........but in appearance it looks a para smock, complete with the woolen cuffs....!

 

The very faded label appears to read "(Smock or Jacket)" followed by "Combat" with no indication of the word "Parka" or "Parachutist"........and I am certain that this smock can be seen in the recent post showing the short but wonderful Army Clothing Trials news reel......

 

Years ago now, I had a similar smock that was near-identical but lined throughout with a non-detachable synthetic fleece lining, identical to that found in British middle parkas...........this garment was dated mid-60s and SCRDE labelled......the designation on the label was simply "Smock"......

 

Parka ? Para Smock or Combat Smock....?? Either way, a rare item and as dated "1966" clearly one of the earliest trial DPM garments encountered. A study of the very light shade cammo print shows the "black" element of the print to be very crudely applied/printed.......

 

This one has got me stumped, and I can't find any reference to such a trial garment anywhere........I did once see a photo on the rear cover of an old copy of Soldier Magazine showing a tester at the APRE Farnborough wearing a very similar garment around 1969-70 whilst supervising a trial........but nothing else since....

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