A rare original first pattern British Army Middle Parka dating from 1951 which was the first year of production.
This scarce parka is the first model which was introduced in the early 1950s and is very different to the more common later model. During the immediate post WW2 period it became evident that the British Army needed more suitable cold weather clothing. The greatcoat in issue at the beginning of the Korean War was not sufficient for the extreme cold temperatures faced by soldiers leading to the development of the Middle Parka.
The coat is made from a green coloured cotton sateen and features a detachable fur lining. The most obvious elements of the first pattern parka are the lack of chest pockets and the attached hood. The later model has adetable hood as well as chest pockets. Another typical early trait is the butterscotch buttons which are fitted throughout the coat. The lower pockets are the style which fold back on themselves under the flap which are also found on the Ventile Parka and Ventile Smock made during the same period. The cuffs feature integral straps which can be fastened tightly around the wearer's wrist. The original zipper has been replaced with a military 'OPTI' branded zipper which is most likely an in-service replacement.
The hood is a large 'snorkel' style which again is similar to those seen on RAF ventile items. It features a wire brim around the edge of the hood and a deep area which fastens around the throat and features lots of reinforcing stitches. There is also a drawstring which features a wooden ball stopper - another typical period feature.
Inside the parka the hanging loop and instruction label are still present. The issue label is also present and bears the title 'Parka Middle' along with the size of 7. The maker's name of 'Stormgard Ltd' is also present as is the 1951 date and the War Department broad arrow marking. The drawstring located at the waist is still present as is the original fish tail, which is held in place with two buttons.
The coat is designed to fit a 36" to 38" chest. When laid flat it measures -
Chest - 23"
Inside arm - 21"
Outside arm - 27"
Shoulders - 19"
Length at back - 41"
The coat is in good wearable condition but has clearly seen plenty of action. There are some stains, paint marks and general signs of wear etc. The bottom-most front button is broken as illustrated in the pictures. Please take time to study the pictures before purchasing and bear in mind that this is a vintage, pre-owned coat with some flaws commensurate with age.
A rare original Korean War period British Army coat which would make an excellent addition to any collection.
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