WW2 US Navy pea coat

Discussion in 'Cloth' started by Peter Graham, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,117
    Location:
    Ireland
    I'm off to the opera in Berlin next week. It's cold over there and rather than wear one of my deck or field jackets I thought I'd look for something smart and that's when I hit on the idea of a pea coat. Of course it had to be an original WW2 pea coat and I eventually found this one on ebay. A bit of research identified it as an early WW2 type. This is the first pea coat I've owned and I'm stunned by the cut and build quality. 100% heavy wool and lined with rayon. The pockets are lined in thick tan corduroy. This is one solid, warm jacket. Much more so than an N-1 and I really like the extra length. The throat latch is very effective in keeping draughts out but is a bit restrictive. In bright sunlight the coat is actually very dark blue rather than black. A quick way to identify a WW2 pea coat is by the five rows of buttons and the label design. There's a great article on the fedora lounge which goes into this in detail. The prices for these seem to be all over the place. I've seen them for £200 but if you shop around it's not hard to find a bargain. I picked up this one, which is in remarkable condition, for £53. To put this into perspective, Buzz Rickson are selling repros for £700 ! Here's some pics.
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  2. Cobblers161

    Cobblers161 Well-Known Member

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    1,396
    Location:
    East Sussex, UK
    Mate what an excellent find!

    I bought one for a song in the early 90's corduroy pocket liners an all but sold it as I felt the collar was too big. What a dufus! The collar is a work of art in itself.

    As it stands I like the Ming the Merciless look, I'm sure you'll carry it well.

    Give 'em hell over there;-)
     
  3. Grant

    Grant Active Member

    Messages:
    814
    Beautiful jacket Peter! You're right that the prices are all over the place. Here is the states, if you keep your eyes open, you still find them at flea markets and vintage shops. I picked up mine for $40 at a New Jersey flea. A buddy of mine picked up Brooklyn Navy Yard made pre-war pea for $50.
     
  4. dmar836

    dmar836 Well-Known Member

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    2,705
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    Yes. Nice one. Been thinking about grabbing a WWII version myself. They say they are quite warm.
    Dave
     
  5. Brent

    Brent Member

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    64
    Location:
    Olathe, KS
    Good looking pea coat, I gave up looking for the WWII ones when I found a 1968 model. Size and money was a factor. Guess I need to jump back in and start looking again.

    Regards,
     
  6. Smithy

    Smithy Active Member

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    624
    Location:
    Norway
    That is superb. Fit, condition, everything is great. I've also been toying with the idea of getting one of these for a year or two now. It'd certainly get a fair bit of wear in my neck of the woods!

    That'll definitely be all you need to keep warm, no matter what weather Berlin throws at you. Enjoy the opera btw.
     
  7. M. from Berlin

    M. from Berlin Member

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    134
    perfect coat Peter!!!
     
  8. blackrat2

    blackrat2 Member

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    333
    Location:
    Guildford Surrey UK
    Really nice jacket Peter,looks like you can wear that dressed up or casual,size looks spot on
     
  9. Dr H

    Dr H Active Member

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    3,199
    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    Great choice Peter.
    I picked up a RL repro of a WW1 version (10 button, handwarmer and flapped pockets) from John Jeter and I wear it regularly during the winter months (alternating with the N-1 for more casual wear).
     
  10. johnwayne

    johnwayne Active Member

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    715
    Hmm, very nice and I particularly like the big collar - might have to sell my Schott leather Peacoat before I go after one of those! I bought it in New York in mid 90's for about $400 I think and it's a lovely warm coat but heavy albeit not so much when wearing it!! Ironically in comments elsewhere here recently about modern fashion for military 'copies' (MA1's) this is another classic coat that has been cloned endlessly over the years, sometimes renamed a 'reefer' I think or have I got that wrong? Anyway, you ought to be pleased with that, I would.
    Cheers
    Wayne
     
  11. MikeyB-17

    MikeyB-17 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,661
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
    Looks mighty fine my friend! I have a Spiewak copy which I dig out from time to time, one of my warmest jackets. You need your Buzz watch cap to go with that!
    (Funnily enough, I've had my eye on a Schott leather pea coat for some time).
     
  12. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,117
    Location:
    Ireland
    Gents, thanks for the positive waves. I'm really taken with this coat. I can't get over the sheer quality of it and the warmth. Also, I guess it's a bit of a novelty wearing something other than khaki or OD. Something I'm really curious about is where these coats slot in in relation to other USN jackets of WW2 and beyond. I know pea coats are a throwback to pre WW1 days but they were issued during WW2 alongside the more combat orientated deck jackets. Were they worn on active service or kept for shore leave and parade duty ? Anyone know ?
     
  13. PADDY_M

    PADDY_M Active Member

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    500
    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    A grand jacket Peter! You've got me hankering after one now!!
     
  14. Rutger

    Rutger Active Member

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    1,282
    Location:
    Hengelo, Netherlands
    Looks terrific.
     
  15. robrinay

    robrinay Member

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    322
    Location:
    Sheffield UK
    Looks great - I had a later/current version but sold it as I found the wool too scratchy and uncomfortable - worse than the alpaca in my veg tanned Highwayman. I gather that the WW2 peacoats are made of much nicer wool?
     
  16. dujardin

    dujardin Well-Known Member

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    5,223
    Location:
    Belgium
    good catch Peter

    you looks like a gentleman ;)
     
  17. Peter Graham

    Peter Graham Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,117
    Location:
    Ireland
    Marcel, that's because I am a gentleman of course. Lol. Robinray, the wool is really soft in this one. Not itchy at all, even when the collar is buttoned up round the neck.
     
  18. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,881
    many years [ late 1960s] ago, i was told be an old army-navy store geezer, who was in the usn materials stores division during wwll ,and was stationed at the brooklyn navy yards, the cowl collar pea coats [such as peters] were introduced during the 1920s and remained pretty much the same including construction, color, and material right through the mid 1940s. the diff i was told is that the 1020s-early 30s pea coats had bakelite buttons that had an eagle or anchor? with 13 stars around the perimeter, which were superceded with the plastic anchor buttons we are now familiar with. up until the mid 40s the navy followed the yogi philosphy of, "if it aint broke, dont fix it". however, at some point [appx. 1942] the shawl collar style pea coat was introduced. i am not sure when the pea coat contracts were terminated, but i would guess during the 1950s, as by then other types of navy outer wear made of lighter materials began to show up. never the less, pea coats were still worn by usn personel, and merchant marine guys right through the '50-60s. the old guy also told me that at the end of wwll jobbers bought them [and denim, and wool pants, shirts, etc] from the usn in bulk. they did not buy the gear individually, or lots, but by weight. 500 lbs of this, 200 lbs of that, 1000lbs of the other, etc, with no regard for condition, or size. if ya find one [many originals are still available] that is not, mothed,, dry rotted. or paint splattered, and is a fit, you have a winter jacket [coat] that will wear like iron, keep ya warm, and looks sharp. i still have one that was purchased in the late '80s, to replace the one i wore to death in the 60s-70s.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  19. SuinBruin

    SuinBruin Active Member

    Messages:
    1,065
    Location:
    NoCal
    Great looking peacoat. I sold one just like it a few weeks ago on eBay to a UK buyer. It was in great condition and he was very happy with the purchase. I've also got an 8 button one from the late 40s to early 50s that I need to unload. I just don't have enough cause to wear them around here, but they are fantastic coats.
     
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  20. Excellent pea coat, Peter! What a steal!

    I own a size 38 WWII era US Navy pea coat made in Brooklyn. All of the issue US Navy pea coats that I've owned have been very well made, but the WWII coat is the best fitting and looking one that I've had, thus far. It's quite well made and in nearly perfect condition, even after 70 plus years of existence. My coat actually retains the gauze material size tag just below the inside collar, which also reads that it was manufactured in Brooklyn.

    - Ian
     
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