Of all the articles of clothing associated with the American ‘Doughboy’ during the Great War, next to the hobnailed field shoe and perhaps the overseas cap, the wool lined leather jerkin is by far the most iconic and the most recognizable.
When most collectors think of the jerkin worn by the men and boys of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), the image of a russet colored leather jerkin is immediately comes to mind.
True, the russet leather jerkin was the most common jerkin worn by the Yanks and Doughboys that served in the AEF, but it was just one of several different types and styles.
The various jerkins as worn by the Doughboys of the AEF have turned out to be somewhat difficult to research. Therefore there are large information gaps in this post. Quite a few when’s, where’s, how’s, and why’s, in regard to how the jerkins were devised, manufactured and issued, as well as when, and to whom they issued still need to be answered.
Because I am unable to complete the task I’ve started, I’d like to ask the viewers of this post to please correct any errors I may have made and to add relevant photos and new information about any one of the jerkins posted below.
Despite having very little evidence, I do believe that most; if not all of the jerkin types issued by the British Army were at some point worn by American troops on the Western Front and later in Russia. Therefore, this post contains the history of the development of both the British and American jerkins that were worn during the Great War.
World War I Nerd …
1917 to 1919
Photo No. 01: This wartime illustration, drawn by an unknown French artist, depicts a British ‘Tommy’ wearing an animal skin jerkin. This style of jerkin was worn primarily by the troops of the British Expeditionary Forces (BEF), and to a much lesser extent, by a handful of Doughboys in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF).