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WWII Mystery Uniform: Men's or converted to Woman's?

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This was a pick up at a local junk/swap meet event here in Omaha over the weekend, down in Bellevue.

 

I picked this off a rack of women's clothing to start with but assumed it was a standard men's four pocket blouse.

 

But when I went to pay for it, I noticed the button were on the side normally associated with women's clothing.

 

I even looked down at my own shirt to confirm this, but sure enough the buttons were coming from the left side of the garment.

 

Notice that this does not have the normal fake pocket flaps at the upper level, and does not have the slash pocket at the lower level.

 

This uniform is definitely based on the men's pattern.

Blouse 1.jpg


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Looking at the coat further, the size label also suggests that it is a woman's garment.

 

Not being expert at WWII uniforms, I double checked clothing charts from the period. The military did not use a 16 designation for men's clothing.

Blouse 5.jpg


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Looking at the rear of the garment, it does appear that it has a distinctive curve to it at the waste.

 

The label on the inside suggests a professional tailor who should have understood the difference between the basic designs. The same is evidenced by the quality of materials and workmanship.

Blouse 2.jpg

Blouse 6.jpg


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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So what do I have? An oddly made men's uniform, or a male pattern uniform tailored for a woman?

 

I will add a note that at the beginning of the war, women's uniforms were in short supply.

 

One theory that came to mind is that this may have been for a nurse that had her uniform made upon graduation in Boston. But that is pure speculation, and not every woman who served was in the Army Nurse Corps.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Is there a name in it?

 

Sure is one of the most interesting uniforms I've ever seen.

 

Cool as heck.


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Sorry, no names, no identifying marks, and nothing in the pockets. Believe me, I looked.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

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donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

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Very strange for sure! The belt was never on a woman's military jacket nor was the inside "hankie" pocket. I'm thinking it was for one of those MANY non-military units and the AAF patch was added later or for some unknown reason.

I picked up a strange dress with WWII ANC brass and it wasn't until I got home that I saw the 1981 Canadian markings on it. Someone used it for re-enacting since it was pretty close to it. However, this surely does not explain the buttons....this one appears to have been made that way from the beginning. I'll need to think about this one.

Steve

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Good day all, is not strange and is not first example around :D

At the begginning of the war the WAAC didn't have their own uniform (let's say not all had the chance to own the 1st pattern) and they often take the us army officer's men uniforms converted, this happen expecially for the war correspondent.

 

a photo down here show some example.

 

Ciao

Giancarlo

post-770-0-50446000-1463999376.jpg


Always looking for BLUE DRESS ARMY UNIFORMS (1936-1950)

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But War Correspondents were not military, correct?

Does anyone have a WAAC photo showing these uniforms being worn?

 

Steve

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a great site where you can find alot of infos is:

www.blitzkriegbaby.de

 

ciao

GS


Always looking for BLUE DRESS ARMY UNIFORMS (1936-1950)

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a great site where you can find alot of infos is:

www.blitzkriegbaby.de

 

ciao

 

GS

 

Thank you. That was one of the first places I looked and I did not see a uniform similar to this one. But you are correct, it is a great reference site.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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Good day all, is not strange and is not first example around :D

 

At the begginning of the war the WAAC didn't have their own uniform (let's say not all had the chance to own the 1st pattern) and they often take the us army officer's men uniforms converted, this happen expecially for the war correspondent.

 

a photo down here show some example.

 

Ciao

 

Giancarlo

 

Great photo! They appear to have US collar brass and no branch insignia.

 

Interestingly, note that they have the officer's sleeve braid, as does mine.

 

Another thing I noticed about mine is that it appears to never of had any shoulder rank, although it does look like it may of had similar collar brass.

 

It would be helpful if someone could confirm if such correspondents might have worn a HQ AAF patch.

 

I did notice there were other civilian women in volunteer positions who had uniforms cut in this manner. I just can't seem to find a photo of a woman in the military who has a similar cut uniform.

 

Thanks for the help everyone... keep it coming!


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

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Hello,

 

That's a sharp uniform and a mystery. Here is a forum link to a women's uniform, that while not identical in design, was worn by a woman who was either a telephone system tech rep or telephone system instructor for the Army during WWII at Camp Shelby, MS.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/241809-unusual-ww2-womans-uniform-possible-tech-rep/

 

Interesting subject for sure.

 

Bruce Linz


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Wow, talk about a rare uniform! Great find! :)

 

It would be helpful if someone could confirm if such correspondents might have worn a HQ AAF patch.


It wasn't common at all. On air bases, you didn't have to blend in with the other grunts, so correspondents usually were fairly obvious when dealing with the AAF.
The only times you really see many correspondents wearing organizational patches is when attached to line ground combat units, and that is most in the case with a correspondent who attached themselves to a specific unit through a heavy battle or a long period of time.
An AAF patch in such a case? Yeah, it's of course possible, but highly unlikely and I've never seen anything like it in period photos.


Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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Look what I found!

 

A photograph of Margaret Bourke-White , taken by JCA Redhead during World War Two.

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AdJA4BJSAk1nl_V5tdqYUcQ8lvl-_NE7zZt6P6kvHijkLq4UMqnS4gM/

 

 

 

Margaret Bourke-White.jpg


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

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Wow, talk about a rare uniform! Great find! :)

 

 

It wasn't common at all. On air bases, you didn't have to blend in with the other grunts, so correspondents usually were fairly obvious when dealing with the AAF.

The only times you really see many correspondents wearing organizational patches is when attached to line ground combat units, and that is most in the case with a correspondent who attached themselves to a specific unit through a heavy battle or a long period of time.

An AAF patch in such a case? Yeah, it's of course possible, but highly unlikely and I've never seen anything like it in period photos.

 

Thank you for the compliment.

 

For what it is worth, I paged through dozens of internet photos and went through four different sets of search words before I found the above photo of Margaret Bourke-White. As it turns out, it was the only photo I could find of a female correspondent with a unit patch on her uniform. The majority of them had a square Correspondent patch on their shoulders.

 

I will have to pull the uniform from the closet and take a good look at the stitching on the patch to make sure it has been there for awhile.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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I inclined to believe that you're looking at a men's uniform tailored for a woman. The material is more commonly associated with officer's custom uniforms.

 

Given the single AAF SSI, I wouldn't just limit it to a correspondent or a nurse.

 

Too bad there isn't a name associated with the uniform. That would tell the whole story.

 

While it's great for the collector, you wonder what family military history was lost by relegating such a piece to a flea market.

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Wow.

I've seen a lot of photos of female correspondents over the years, but I've never seen that shot of Margaret Bourke-White before.


Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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Wow.

I've seen a lot of photos of female correspondents over the years, but I've never seen that shot of Margaret Bourke-White before.

 

I was lucky to find it... just the right combination of search words... and then it turned up on Pintrest of all places.

 

When I did a follow up Google search of Margaret Bourke-White, this photo does not show up. Just the luck of the draw.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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Given the single AAF SSI, I wouldn't just limit it to a correspondent or a nurse.

 

Too bad there isn't a name associated with the uniform. That would tell the whole story.

 

While it's great for the collector, you wonder what family military history was lost by relegating such a piece to a flea market.

 

You are of course absolutely correct as to who wore it and what their occupation might have been. In fact, for all we know, it may have been worn post war.

 

As mentioned, it was found in Bellvue, NE, which is where Offut AFB is located. It may have been a civilian associated with the base... but then again, it was tailored in Boston. (Unfortunately the company may have recently gone out of business.) So it will just have to remain as unsolved.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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Is there any signs of holes from rank insignia on the shoulders ever having been pinned there? That would give you a better idea than anything...


Lee Bishop Formerly known as "Ratchet 5" with the 2nd Infantry Division (yes, in REAL life)

US WW2 War Correspondent collector

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Is there any signs of holes from rank insignia on the shoulders ever having been pinned there? That would give you a better idea than anything...

 

I will have to pull it from the closet again.

 

There were no signs that rank had ever been pinned to the shoulders. There did appear to be pin holes on the lapels. This would be consistent with the correspondent photos we have been looking at.

 

There was not a lot of wear and tear on this uniform... looks like it was picked up from the tailor yesterday.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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So given Offutt, you may even have a uniform item that was in service long enough to be considered Post WWII and then be worn by a women who served in 1948 and part of the era when President Truman signed the Women's Armed Service Integration Act of 1948 and be a transition uniform worn before the Shade 84 blues.

 

Are you considering restoring it with some sort of insignia. The possibilities would be very interesting.

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So given Offutt, you may even have a uniform item that was in service long enough to be considered Post WWII and then be worn by a women who served in 1948 and part of the era when President Truman signed the Women's Armed Service Integration Act of 1948 and be a transition uniform worn before the Shade 84 blues.

 

Are you considering restoring it with some sort of insignia. The possibilities would be very interesting.

 

I have looked over every inch of the shoulders and the collars. There is no trace of any insignia what so ever. Same with above each of the pockets.

 

I am wondering if this was ever worn. I'd love to see some photos of post WWII Offutt to see if such uniforms were worn.


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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