An original American made 'War Aid' British Army Greatcoat clearly dated 1943.
The lend-lease policy which America undertook with allied countries from 1941 onwards led to this pattern of grearcoat being made in the United States for British Soldiers. Most examples ended up in the Italian campaign but some made it back to England. Whilst the jackets come onto the market from time to time, greatcoats are much less common.
This coat is immediately recognisable as an American made example by the shade of the heavy serge wool the coat is made from. It also features American style brown coloured plastic buttons as found on U.S. Army items of the period. The coat is cut in the same manner as the British 1940 Pattern (Dismounted) Greatcoat with a large expanding pleat located to the rear and angled slash pockets to the front.
Inside the coat has a half lining made from wool flannel shirting material as per British examples but again in a slightly different shade. The pocket bags are made from a khaki coloured cotton drill. The original label is present inside the coat and is affixed to one of the pocket bags. It reads ' Great Coats, Battle Dress, Olive Drab, W.A. Size 1'. It states that the coat will fit someone of around 5' 3" - 5' 4" with a 34-36" chest and it was made by 'PLS Clothing MFG. Co.'. The 1943 date is present towards the bottom of the label.
When laid flat the coat measures -
Chest - 21"
Inside arm - 17"
Outside arm - 24"
Shoulders - 16"
Length at rear - 36"
The overall condition of the greatcoat is very good indeed as can be seen in the pictures. It still retains all of its original buttons, the serge throat latch that fits into the neck of the coat is still present buttoned to the interior. The hanger in the neck has broken as is often found and there is a small, heart-shaped repair to the rear which appears to be a period repair. Please take time to study the pictures and bear in mind that this is a vintage, pre-worn coat which may have small flaws commensurate with age.
All in all a nice wartime example of a War Aid Greatcoat in good wearable condition. An excellent addition to any British Army collection!