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Need Help on this WWII Army Officer's Uniform


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#1 CNY Militaria

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 09:20 AM

I recently got this very nice infantry officer's tailor made ike jacket. It has sewn ribbons showing service from enlisted to officer, bullion overseas bars, theater made felt US Army in Europe patch, and WWII period Infantry and US brass with flat clutches. All of the insignia has that "been there forever" look and feel to it....except, the 6th service command patch on the right shoulder.

I have some issues with it, and I believe it may have been added by a collector at some point.

-It is barely sewn on at all, and looks like it took about 2 minutes to get it to stay on there.
-The thread looks new to me.
-Is the edge merrowed? It's hard to tell, but it doesn't look like my other cut-edge patches.
-How would an infantryman see combat with the 6th service command? That doesn't make sense to me...

More points of discussion...Why would someone add this on there?

Why would a collector add this to a jacket with 2 big moth holes in the front?

Its possible that a vet or family member may have done it, who knows.

I would like to know your opinions. I believe this to be an original jacket, with that patch added on. Do you think I should remove it? I could pull it off easily, lol.

Thanks!
Justin

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#2 CNY Militaria

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 09:22 AM

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#3 SteveR

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 09:45 AM

The patch may have been the unit he was attached to when he was he got out. I have been told that the men were always given a quick lookover inspection to see that they had the proper stuff on their blouses before they were released from service. Not a solid answer but a possibility.

#4 Paul C.

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 11:05 AM

Also, if someone were inclined to add a patch, I would think that they wouldn't pick a service command. The patch looks fine to me, I would leave it alone. Just my opinion!

Edited by Paul C., 23 May 2007 - 11:06 AM.


#5 cpatrick

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 12:35 PM

Justin - I am not really sure. I am inclined to think that it is just a poorly sewn on patch, that is integral to the rest of the uniform. Is the thread cotton and or rayon? (Yes, rayon would be fine) Any complex synthetic thread would be incorrect, as we all know. (i.e. - polyester)

I noticed that the sewing goes all the way through to the lining. Based on the number of WWII uniforms that I either own, or have examined, the sewing penetrates the exterior fabric only, and does not go all the way through to the lining. I should clarify this, however, because there are quite a few original examples that go through both - just the ratio between the two is more in favor of exteior only. In the cases that the thread goes through both, the lining should be free of "crimping", which is evidence of a recent "sew job". Much of what I've said may be obvious, but I think in this case of your uniform, it is difficult to say if the patch is original to the uniform or not. The only problem with removing it, would be the thread/needle holes, which may never go away - which would give speculation of this uniform being "messed with". Either way, I love the uniform!!

Chris

#6 CNY Militaria

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 12:58 PM

Thanks for the opinions so far! I am inclined to think that if a collector added a patch to a jacket, it would be a desireable one that makes more sense.

Chris, is the best way to test the thread the burn test? There are some loose threads I could do it to.

This patch goes through to the lining, whereas the others on this ike are are more professionally sewn.

More opinions are apreciated!

#7 cpatrick

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 04:14 PM

Justin,

One possibility could be that somone found a "neat looking" patch, and thought that it would look nice, and may possibly enhance the jacket somehow. The fact that the style by-which it was sewn does not match the style on the opposite sleeve suggests that the patches were sewn on by two different people. It seems as though one patch was sewn on with great care, and the other was put on rather sloppily. It seems like the officer took care to sew on one patch, why not the other? Besides, officers tended to look sharp, and wanted to set examples, and this would also apply for SSI.

As far as the burn test - Yes, the burn test would work. Since synthetic fiber is not a natural fiber, it does not react the same under various tests a collector can perform. If you look under a loupe at synthetic thread, it will appear very smooth - almost plastic like. Natural fiber, like cotton, has a distinct "fuzzy" appearance. Rayon was heavily used by the Third Reich, as well as the United States. Once in a while you will find an item that has Rayon in its composition, and that would be totally correct. When you look at Rayon at a microscopic level, you can see elements of synthetic manufacture, but the material composition itself is purely natural. Because of this, Rayon appears to be not as fuzzy as cotton/flax thread, but not as plastic-like, such as Polyester. (Somewhere in between) When you burn a piece of cotton thread, it will turn to ashes very quickly, and burns at a pretty low temperature. Synthetic thread wads up into a hard, plastic-like ball, and burns much higher temperature.

It is VERY MUCH worth the effort to learn what these different textile compositions looks like under a loupe (10x), because it can offer a ton of information at a show. Dealers usually don't like you coming near their goods with a well-meaning flame, but usually don't mind a well informed buyer inspecting the piece with a loupe. Try it out, it works!

PS - Sometimes, depending on how old a given thread is, and the exact compenents in the thread, it may react differently with the burn test. This is why collectors should learn to use a cumulative array of testing procedures to determine authenticity. My tool kit includes:

Knowledge (Most important)
Black Light
A Loupe
And the U.S. Militaria Forum (HAHA)

Hope that this helps!

Chris

#8 CNY Militaria

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 04:20 PM

I agree with what you said. I will prefoem the burn test and look at it under a magnifying glass.

Justin

#9 CNY Militaria

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 05:25 PM

I burned it and the flame ate the thread REALLY quickly, but didn't ball up. It just turned to ash basically.

#10 cpatrick

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 05:38 PM

Hmmm - That just says that the thread was likely a natural fiber. But does the patch belong on this uniform?

Chris

#11 Bones

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 06:39 PM

What debate is there? The 6th Service Command comprised of the states of IL, MI, and WI. What combat did they see? This was obviously added to a nice uniform. Did the owner serve time in the 6th before or after WW2 and then added it to the uniform on the war time sleeve.? That is the question. The 6th Service Command was in existance from Oct of 1941 to June of 1946. The USAREUR patch started in August of 1945. You are making it into something that it is not.

Edited by Bones, 23 May 2007 - 07:00 PM.


#12 cpatrick

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 07:42 PM

Whoa guy, calm down. This forum is about sharing information. Justin had a question about the different ways you can test a material, and I offered some insight. Instead of staying on the question - is it, or is it not original to the uniform, we explored scientific ways of telling if a patch is integral to the uniform or not. This, in the long run, can carry more weight than mere speculation. The expanded information that was shared can be used for many other things that this uniform. This forum is for sharing information for the benefit of collectors.

Chris

#13 QED4

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 06:19 AM

Given the unit and the way the patch is sewn on I would be willing to bet that at some point this jacket was worn by some kid. His buddy had one with two patches and he wanted two so he found this one and sewed it on himself. We all like to think that every jacket we find came straight from the vet in untouched condition but it just ain't so.

#14 VMI88

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 06:55 AM

Justin,

The bottom line is that we'll probably never know when or why the patch was added the uniform. That means, in my opinion, that it's best left as is. I think a lot of collectors get too wrapped around the axle about whether something is "correct" or not. As pointed out in other threads on the forum, even modern soldiers often wear oddball stuff out of ignorance or just because they can get away with it. When we try to second-guess an original uniform, we're applying our modern collectors' prejudices to something that 60 years ago was just a piece of clothing.

You can always remove something from a uniform, but you can never put it back, at least not to its original condition.

Bill

#15 CNY Militaria

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 07:20 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone! I do appreciate them all. I think without knowing for sure, I will leave the patch on the sleeve.

Regarding putting stateside units on the right sleeve, a LOT of stateside individuals did that, and I have vet acquisitions with stateside units on the right shoulder. Most vets say that they put it on to look like everyone else coming back from overseas. At the end of the war, many vets made their uniforms look as decorated as possible for the ladies at home.

QED4, I am leaning toward what you said, that was one of my initial opinions that it was used for play, and the kid wanted a patch on there quickly and easily. But there is aways the slight chance it does belong there for whatever reason, so I plan to leave it attached.

Thanks again for everyone's help! This is what the forum is about...sharing information!

Justin


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