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Did your fathers / grandfathers (WWII Gen) wear leather jackets?

FedoraFan112390

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Brooklyn, NY
What was their view of them?

Asking because I’ve seen a photo of my step grandpa (b. 1917-1998) wearing a brown leather jacket in the early 90s and it surprised me. He’s the only one of that generation I’ve seen wearing one in a social situation.
 

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BloodEagle

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My dad was in the RAF early 1960s and got given/handed down a WW2 era Irvin, which he did used to wear when I was a kid - I'm sure he still has it somewhere but what condition it would be in I have no idea.

My grandfather was a mechanic who used to have/tinker with a variety motorcycles in, I suppose, the 30s and 40s and Ive got a few of pictures of him wearing some kind of leather jackets on his bikes, Ill have to dig them out and see if theres any way to work out what they were.

When I started wanting and eventually wearing leather jackets at the age of about 16 I was big into rock music, and my dads (and, by extension, my grandfather's) view of that particular type of leather jacket worn with my then cascading head of unkempt hair was not especially favourable.
 

GHT

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New Forest
When I started wanting and eventually wearing leather jackets at the age of about 16 I was big into rock music, and my dads (and, by extension, my grandfather's) view of that particular type of leather jacket worn with my then cascading head of unkempt hair was not especially favourable.
longhair.jpg
Look down this list of classical musicians and tell me: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/latest/conductor-hair/ Why are long haired conductors described as Bohemian?
But if you are a leather jacket wearing, young biker with long hair, at best you are a yob, but usually it's far more disparaging?
 

dudewuttheheck

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My grandfather on my mom's side served in the pacific theater of WWII. However, he was not a pilot. He was a mechanic for the F4U Corsair.

As far as I know, he did not wear a leather jacket. He did tell me how him and his buddies learned how to catch fish with grenades, but no leather jacket info.
 

Worf

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5,043
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Troy, New York, USA
A few of my uncles on my Mom's side served in WWII. Afterwards the last thing they wanted was anything that reminded them of their service. They kept uniforms in the closet but never wore any gear. Everyone of my brother's generation wore M-65 Jackets though...

Worf
 

AeroFan_07

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Iowa
Very interesting thread idea, I had something similar floating around in my head the past few days, but could not think what to call it. You nailed it Worf!

As it turns out, my grandparents managed to miss WWi and WWiI being born around 1909, and my parents were born in the early 40's so missed WWII active duty as well. They would have been in jr & sr high by the late 50's.

None of my parents, or grandparents wore or had a favorable view of anything leather. My parent's would not allow me to wear a leather jacket until college, but turns out this had nothing to do with image or thier personal desires - it was due to the fact that even as a senior in High School I was still 5' 7" tall and about ~ 115 lbs. I had a lot of growing to do! they wanted me to fit into one for more than a few years.

My stepdad had some old zip-up "roughout" brown jacket from when he was probably a teenager, stuffed into a box that one day as a teenager I found, being nosy I guess. My mom caught me checking it out and it dissappeared. So, yeah, I think they didn't have a good view of these jackets overall.
 

jacketjunkie

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2,149
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Germany
My great-grandfather on my father‘s side served in WWII but whatever leather jacket he may have worn at the time, would for good reasons today only be socially acceptable in a Matrix movie, if at all. :D

(On a more serious note: he was no member of the party or particular interested in politics or nazi ideology, just one of many force-drafted and ending up on the East Front and one of the few lucky enough to come home - 8 years after the war had ended).

My grandfather on my fathers side is known in the family to have spent his first months salary on a leather coat, but he was born in 1930, so slightly late to be WWII generation. The jacket was one of these waist-to-knee-length double row police leather coats which german officers wore in the 50s, dark green I believe. I‘ll have to scan old albums on the weekends, maybe I‘ll find pictures.
 

Edward

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London, UK
I've never seen any photographic evidence that anyone in my grandparents' generation or earlier in our family ever owned a leather jacket of any sort. My mother did save up for and buy one for my dad in the early 70s. Leather blazer style, wide lapels. Pure 1973. He never wore it, though I did during my university years when it looked great with how I'd been dressing for a decade at the point when the fashion world told me it was called "grunge" (and then tried to announce grunge was "dead" a month later when they failed to make the inherently anti-fashion conform to the norms of the mainstream fashion world....).

Granda Marlowe had a motorcycle still in the postwar period; not yet seen any photos, but it's possible there was a jacket there - must ask folks next time I'm in the old country. None of my direct family were in WW2, as conscription wasn't extended to Northern Ireland for the same reasons as conscription was never applied to Ireland during the Great War. There was a relative of my maternal grandfather's, though - a brother? Cousin? Don't fully recall - who was in either the Navy or the Merchant Navy, and was apparently decorated for sinking a u-boat in Belfast Lough. I really must ask my mother for the details on that one. Granda Marlowe, dad's side, and his father did some relief driving up at the Belfast airport. One one occasion, a plane crash-landing there ripped the roof off the car they were in at the time on its way down - a few inches lower and they'd have been decapitated. It did hit a canteen building behind them, killing a number of military men. Years later a doctor reckoned the shock of that was enough to bring on the diabetes that plagued him for the rest of his life.
 

Aloysius

One Too Many
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1,478
My dad was in the RAF early 1960s and got given/handed down a WW2 era Irvin, which he did used to wear when I was a kid - I'm sure he still has it somewhere but what condition it would be in I have no idea.

I'd seek it out and send it to Aero or Eastman for restoration, so it's good for another eighty years of young Eagles.
 

Liveinstyle33

One of the Regulars
Messages
101
What was their view of them?

Asking because I’ve seen a photo of my step grandpa (b. 1917-1998) wearing a brown leather jacket in the early 90s and it surprised me. He’s the only one of that generation I’ve seen wearing one in a social situation.
Don't know about mine, they are both deceased, one recently, he died at 93 years old.
I do notice that white haired old men perk up more when I am wearing my horsehide Thunderbay or Steerhide Highwayman in public. Of course it is just speculation on my part, however it seems to me like they are seeing something that they have not seen in quite a long time. If they weren't wearing these kind of jackets themselves, they were probably a more familiar sight 4 to 7 decades ago and beyond. Their demeanor changes and they look for longer than most other people. Also, I have been asked where I got mine several times, usually by 60 year old men and older. They didn't mention that they had once had one, but they approached me and inquired about it.
 

Mighty44

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778
It think it would have had a lot to do with what you did for a living. My dad was an aerial photographer in the Navy during WWII but then worked as a journalist in NYC and wore a suit to work everyday after the war. Can’t imagine him or anyone he knew ever wearing a leather jacket. I think to most people of that era a leather jacket was considered a work jacket—more like the Carhartt jacket of the era. Same with blue jeans. If you had to carry tools or lumber you would wear them.
 

TLW '90

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378
My grandfather died when I was 7 and the only memory I have of him wearing a jacket at all was some kind of basic mechanics jacket.
He was a tank driver during the war, owned a flying A gas station after the war, then was hired on as vehicle maintenance/ service technician for our county CHP station.
He mostly wore work / mechanics clothes.

There was a like new generic black leather jacket in a closet at my grandparents house that my cousin ended up with , if it had belonged to my grandfather it was probably a gift which he never wore much.
 

navetsea

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East Java
not in my family, my city was much "colder" in their generation as tropical cold can be say 16C in the morning, and my grandparents on my father side both came from sugar plantation so they were quite well off before the war or before they got to flee to the city during the war and post war avoiding backlash from racial friction, however none were wearing leather jacket from old photos. my father who was a boomer also didn't have leather jacket, he didn't even have denim jacket, if memory serves he only had 1 jacket and it was greyish with plaid liner probably a blouson, clean cut civil engineer type of person, small patterned short sleeved shirt neatly tucked into high waist pants, pen in the chest pocket, dressy switchable waist belt one side black and the other side brown so he optimize his purchase, dress pants with the hem slightly longer in the back, and dressy loafer shoes because of practicality, side parted oiled hair and neat mustache, there was zero cool vibe about the way he dressed himself, just optimal organized dependable and neat type through and through.
 

Doctor Strange

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5,125
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Hudson Valley, NY
Both of my parents had served in WWII. Dad was a sergeant in the Air Corps, but he wasn't a flyer, he was a photographer. But he "always envied those great leather jackets that my flyboy buddies had", and I eventually found a wartime picture of him wearing a borrowed A-2:

Sid1943c.jpg

Much later (2000) to honor his war service, I got him a not-great A-2 repro (Bradley Associates - anybody remember those?) that he wore a few times... but he had never owned a leather jacket of his own before that. Just cloth car coats and windbreakers.

(And regarding how trustworthy memory is after 50 years, he insisted that the Bradley was "exactly" like the old A-2s, despite the many things that were wrong with it - much too big lapels and pockets, thin cowhide, synthetic knits and lining, flimsy single-piece epaulets, modern zip...)

SIDA2.JPG

Mom had been a sergeant in the Marines. She actually did own a nice black leather jacket when I was a kid, though it eventually disappeared to the back of the closet (pic from mid-60s):

kite3.jpg

But more to the point of this thread, both of them came out of the service with other jackets. Mom had a number of items, and in the late 60s, she wore her old Marine HBT utility jacket during a remarkable burst of mid-life creativity when she made welded sculptures in a tech-school welding course:

SCULPT1.JPG

And in this simply wonderful picture from the late 40s/early 50s, Dad's wearing his M-1941 field jacket:

river40s.jpg

When I was growing up in the 60s, they and nearly all their friends were veterans. The ones who'd been in combat didn't like talking about their experiences, but people like my parents - who hadn't been in combat, but had had discipline, adventures, and training that would carry them forward into rich lives - never had a bad word to say about it. It was the crucible that turned Depression kids into the Greatest Generation.
 

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