Smock Denison, Airborne troops

Catalogue number
  • UNI 13166
Department
Exhibits
Materials
  • whole: cloth
Alternative names
  • full name: Smock Denison, Airborne troops
  • simple name: coat: British
Category
uniforms and insignia

© IWM (UNI 13166)

Purchase & License
Label

Second World War period British Airborne Forces camouflage smock. The Denison smock, used primarily by Airborne Forces, was designed by Major Denison and intended to be worn over the standard uniform battledress for training and operational service from 1941. Generously cut and made of windproof material, the smock however was not waterproof in fact readily absorbed water to become uncomfortably heavy. The tailpiece was designed so that when correctly fastened between the man's legs would fit snugly and ensure that the garment would not rise when parachuting. The cuffs were initially closed and adjusted by buttons, later to be modified officially by knitted cuffs being substituted. Some individuals replaced the neck to chest zipper by adding a full length replacement which was later adopted as a modification, enabling the smock to be taken off with ease like a jacket. The Denison in all its wartime and post war variants remained a popular item, being adopted by snipers and some senior officers.

Physical description

Smock Heavy-duty camouflage oversmock made of windproof cloth material, fitted with a neck to chest zip opening (zipper broken), four pockets and knitted cuffs. The collar is square cut and lined with khaki shirt material. The pockets are square and deep, closed by pointed flaps that are secured by metal press-studs. Epaulettes are fitted to the shoulders and a long 'tailpiece' flap is attached to the rear skirt of the smock, intended to be drawn up between the legs of the wearer and fastened to the inside of the front skirt by six press-studs, placed in pairs of three. Two tabs of cloth are fitted to either side of the skirt, secured and adjustable by having metal push studs that engage into others fitted to the hem. The smock is camouflage printed with bold 'brush strokes', dark green and brown on a khaki field.

History note

Second World War period British Airborne Forces camouflage smock. The Denison smock, used primarily by Airborne Forces, was designed by Major Denison and intended to be worn over the standard uniform battledress for training and operational service from 1941. Generously cut and made of windproof material, the smock however was not waterproof in fact readily absorbed water to become uncomfortably heavy. The tailpiece was designed so that when correctly fastened between the man's legs would fit snugly and ensure that the garment would not rise when parachuting. The cuffs were initially closed and adjusted by buttons, later to be modified officially by knitted cuffs being substituted. Some individuals replaced the neck to chest zipper by adding a full length replacement which was later adopted as a modification, enabling the smock to be taken off with ease like a jacket. The Denison in all its wartime and post war variants remained a popular item, being adopted by snipers and some senior officers. This item might be double-numbered and could be confused with UNI 5481.

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