World War trenchcoats
World War trenchcoats are collectible items of militaria, worn by Allied and Axis forces during the first and second world wars. They are long, waterproof, heavy coats, which come down below the knee. They were first designed to keep the wearer warm and dry.
Both Aquascutum and Burberry lay claim to producing the first trenchcoat-style items in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Burberry’s offering was fashioned from its gabardine fabric.
During the first year of World War One (1914 – 1918) Burberry was asked to modify its coat design so that it could be worn by officers on the battlefield. Adaptations included shoulder straps to show rank insignia and D rings for maps and weapons.
Aquascutum also offered a first world war trenchcoat, complete with detachable inner lining that enabled it to be washed.
By the end of the war, more than half a million officers were wearing the items, including British commander in chief Lord Kitchener.
Wearing of the garment was optional – officers had to pay for it themselves.
British officers also wore similar length coats during the second world war, although by this period they were generally lighter, designed to keep out the wind and rain rather than the cold. They were also popular among military personnel from the US, Germany and Soviet Union, as well as several other European countries.
The traditional, heavy style trenchcoat was replaced during the second world war by shorter field jackets, which offered the wearer more movement.
How much are World War trenchcoats worth?
World War One trenchcoats are rarely seen at auction.
World War II trenchcoats can sell for between $50 and $150, depending on condition and provenance.
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