Original British WWII Airborne Parachute Regiment Officer’s Private Purchase Battledress Jacket Made From American Lend-Lease Wool

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Now this is an amazing example of a British Battledress “Ike Style” jacket, constructed from wool sent from the United States from the Lend-Lease program. Since April 1939, Britain had been fighting Germany on land, at sea, and in the air. The cost of these operations had nearly drained Britain’s reserves of currency and gold. Without those funds, Britain could no longer purchase the vital American-made war supplies it had been buying since the war broke out in September 1939.

In early December 1940, Churchill followed up Ambassador Lord Lothian’s public announcement with a personal letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. “The moment approaches,” he wrote, “when we shall no longer be able to pay cash for shipping and other supplies.” Already well aware of the dangers posed by NSDAP-German expansion, Roosevelt was determined to answer Britain’s needs. A few months later that answer would take the form of the Lend-Lease program.

Lend-Lease, formally the Lend-Lease Act and introduced as An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States (Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 77–11, H.R. 1776, 55 Stat. 31, enacted March 11, 1941), was a policy under which the United States supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, France, Republic of China, and other Allied nations with food, oil, and materiel between 1941 and 1945. The aid was given free of charge on the basis that such help was essential for the defense of the United States.

This wool from the program was used in manufacturing a Battledress Top, basically the British version of the American Ike jacket, which was actually inspired by the battledress. Battle Dress was the specific title of a military uniform adopted by the British Army in the late 1930s and worn until the 1960s. Several other nations also produced variants of Battle Dress during the Second World War, including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, and South Africa, and after the Second World War, including Belgium and The Netherlands.

Battle Dress also inspired the military uniforms of other nations such as the United States (who copied the Battle Dress Blouse directly with the M1944 "Ike" Jacket) and Germany (whose copy of Battle Dress was called the Felduniform 44). General Eisenhower reportedly liked the British Battle Dress so much that he insisted the US copy the uniform, and his regard for the uniform led to it being nicknamed for him.

This example is in wonderful condition and does not appear to have been worn much during its service. The left and right shoulders feature original period applied PARACHUTE REGIMENT light blue rockers with evidence of a set of “wings” having been present on the left breast. There are no other insignia present and the jacket itself is in wonderful condition with all buttons.

A lovely example that comes more than ready for further research and display.

Approximate Measurements:
Collar to shoulder: 10"
Shoulder to sleeve: 27”
Shoulder to shoulder: 17.5”
Chest width: 22"
Waist width: 18"
Front length: 22"

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