Leather Jerkin

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by wemedge, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. wemedge

    wemedge New in Town

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Leather Overvest (for wearing over a Norfolk or Field Jacket)

    I frequently wear a bag/equipment on a strap over my jackets, and my jackets see a great deal of wear on the shoulder where my strap sits.

    One could sew on a leather patch on the shoulder, but I was thinking of a solution that doesn't involve modifying one's jacket, perhaps a button-on leather piece (such the one Jeremy Irons wore over his tweed Norfolk (?) jacket in the "French Lieutenant's Woman"). It seemed to be a separate piece that buttoned onto the coat and could be removed when not needed.

    The only contemporary/available option seems to be a leather overvest, like those worn by bikers. Doesn't go with tweed, though, so I'd like to find something more suitable.

    Does anyone know what such a garment is called or has anything similar?

    regards
    wemedge
     
  2. Chamorro

    Chamorro A-List Customer

    Maybe a British Army Jerkin? Is this what you mean? They were worn, obviously, for protection from the elements in the field of battle but were designed without arms for freedom of movement

    [​IMG]
     
  3. wemedge

    wemedge New in Town

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    British Army Jerkin

    Thanks for the suggestion, Chamorro. Just may be what I need. I will have to look for one, perhaps a reproduction/custom version.

    regards,
    wemedge
     
  4. BellyTank

    BellyTank I'll Lock Up

    These are still plentiful- also plenty of Belgian ones around, just Belgian brass buttons.You should be able to get a 'new' 50 year old one. They are not expensive and some of them are beautiful and soft.
    Some Army surplus sores carry them.

    Actually, I just looked and there's a Belgian one up to £85! on eBay- that's crazy money-

    Look under 'leather jerkin', you should find one at a good price some time-

    Good luck,
    BT.
     
  5. wemedge

    wemedge New in Town

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks, BT. Will start looking! Wouldn't mind the brass buttons either.

    regards,
    wemedge
     
  6. MEDIUMMYND

    MEDIUMMYND One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    South Shropshire
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,717
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Or you could buy one of those imitation sheepskin shoulder pads that wrap around seat belts. I use one to pad the carry strap of a heavy garment bag. It pads the load and would reduce wear on the jacket. Most of those pads have velcro on the inside and just wrap around the strap.

    Here's a fairly typical one;
    http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/sheepskin-strap-pad/25801
     
  8. pipvh

    pipvh Practically Family

    Messages:
    644
    Location:
    England
    Buttons for 1944 issue leather jerkin

    Quick question: where might one find the proper replacement buttons for a British Army leather jerkin? I use mine quite a lot (gardening etc) and it's lost all but one button along the way.
     
  9. Fiver64

    Fiver64 A-List Customer

    Messages:
    430
    Location:
    Fountain City, WI
    buttons

    You might want to contact WHAT PRICE GLORY. Jerry Lee would know where to find them if he doesn't have them. Try www.whatpriceglory.com

    Good luck!
     
  10. havocpaul

    havocpaul One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    London, England
    Soldier of Fortune do several types of wartime buttons I believe.
     
  11. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    5,446
    Location:
    South of Nashville
    Post a picture of one of the remaining buttons, and I will see if I can locate one for you.
     
  12. karhu21

    karhu21 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    144
    Location:
    finland
    What are the origins of the brown leather jerkin as worn by British soldiers in WW1 and WW2?
    Often saw truck drivers and coalmen wearing them years ago and recently saw repros available
    on the Silvermans website.
     
  13. pipvh

    pipvh Practically Family

    Messages:
    644
    Location:
    England
    I remember draymen and coalmen wearing them as well, in London back in the 60s. They seem to have been introduced as a less soggy/smelly alternative to the goatskin jerkins tried out in 1915 which apparently tended to disintegrate (I can believe it, having seen what happened to a relative's Afghan coat left out in a Devon rainstorm and put away wet: ended up as a heap of furry slime). So they must have come into general use as post-war surplus, rather than being a piece of workwear adapted for army use (though I'm sure I've seen photos of Victorian/Edwardian dockers wearing some sort of leather jerkin/jacket, so I suppose there was some cross-pollination).

    They are great bits of kit: I just wish they were more comfortable, though, for everyday use. The high cut tends to leave you with a very stiff bit of leather jammed up under your adam's apple - but they were designed to be worn over battledress, with a collar folded over the top. I think they make modern versions now with that design aspect sorted out. You don't need to buy a repro: plenty of WWII surplus around, and the Belgian version as well. Or the modern one here: http://www.mossleather.com/#!jerkins
     
  14. karhu21

    karhu21 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    144
    Location:
    finland
    Most curious as I recall guys like coalmen wearing them too.
    The local army surplus shop sold stuff like 38 and 44 webbing, gasmasks and boots but never those jerkins.
    They would look good over a dark blue overalls.
    The Mossleather jerkin looks good but a little too refined in my personal opinion.
    As for the Afghan coat, I bought one in London the 70s from a guy who was heading off to (oddly enough)...Afghanistan!
    It was full length, white and outrageous and he sold it for eight quid!
    He paid twenty five quid for it on the Kings Road in 1976!
    It was eventually thrown out a few years later.

    Cheers!
     
  15. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,862
    Location:
    Troy, New York, USA
    Leather Jerkinds...

    I've seen em on U.K. forces since forever. There's one for sale on the Bay now. What purpose did they serve? Curious...

    Worf
     
  16. Foster

    Foster One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    261
    Location:
    N.C., U.S.A.
    It is a nice lengthy sleeveless leather vest, lined with blanket wool usually. Doesn't restrict your arms and yet offers a wind barrier and warmth. Used in both world wars, somewhat simple to make for widespread issue and if well cared for they last forever it seems.
     
  17. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

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    Bozeman, MT
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Capesofwrath

    Capesofwrath Practically Family

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    Location:
    Somewhere on Earth
    They were mainly meant for donkey work like loading and carrying to protect uniforms, and of course by sappers who were very important in the Great War. The picture above is almost certainly a sapper, and the small arm was to protect him in close quarter underground fighting under the front lines when they and the enemy broke into each others tunnels. They were used in action by infantry too but that was not what they were originally supplied for. The British Army still has, or had a few years ago, a version with olive leather at the front and a nylon mesh back for ventilation. Again for protection from abrasion when working.

    I bought one of those for next to nothing from an eBay surplus seller a few years ago and it's still knocking about somewhere. I remember coalmen wearing war surplus ones too and as a child I rather liked them and wanted one. I did have a WW11 one a few years ago but that was well past its best.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  19. Hal

    Hal Practically Family

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    UK
    Weren't they also used simply as an extra layer of warmth, especially by dispatch-riders, worn over the battledress and under the enormous waterproof dispatch-rider's (over)coat?
     
  20. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,456
    Location:
    London, UK
    They were also popular for conversion: soldiers would sew the sleeves and collar from a battledress blouse onto a leather jerkin to make a very warm jacket. I believe these conversions were very popular with the crews of carriers and any open topped vehicles.
     

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