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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a coat off e-bay last summer that I thought was a polo coat but now I think is a british warm. It's a navy blue double breasted wool brooks brothers overcoat with epaulets.

Trad? Any other information on british warm?
 

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Wrong colour for a British Warm as they are fawn/beige. Normally double breasted with leather buttons or single breast with turnback cuffs for mounted cavalry.

Allowed to be worn by army officers in certain Regiments as top coats over service dress. Not issued, private purchase only - unless you are lucky enough to be posted to London District in which case you 'may' get financial assistance.
 

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I bought a coat off e-bay last summer that I thought was a polo coat but now I think is a british warm. It's a navy blue double breasted wool brooks brothers overcoat with epaulets.

Trad? Any other information on british warm?
Norton, it is understandable that people mix up the "British Warm Overcoat" with the "British Greatcoat"

Your BB coat sounds like a copy of a Royal Navy greatcoat, that is if it is full length,very thick material and with black buttons.

The term greatcoat applies to any of the full length, DB, thick heavy wool coats worn by the police and armed forces of the UK.

Greatcoats:
Police - ink or black -black or silver buttons
RAF - RAF blue - always brass buttons
Navy - navy or black - black or brass buttons
Army - light blue/grey (Guards Regiments/Household Cavalry) khaki, fawn/brown, army green (infantry regiments) black - many colours and many variations of buttons. Depends on regiment.

For the record I still don't know what a polo coat is (can someone tell me please?)

The light brown British Warm coat was originally issued during the First World War as a short (knee length) officers coat, it had brass buttons and was very heavy. The name in itself is the clue to the fact that it was standard issue.

Mr Zingari, that which was not standard issue during the First World War or WWII was the trenchcoat, those were without exception purchased in civvy street by officers.
What is true is that officers then as now had to purchase their issued items anyway, from the army.

The British Warm was still standard issue for officers during the Second World War.
General Wavell's for example was the standard issue fawn/brown, knee-length, DB coat with brass buttons. As seen in the colour photo in the book World Army Uniforms since 1939 - which I have in front of me.

Post-war civilian versions are always fawn and always full length in my experience, i.e. longer than the service issue ones, and DB with leather buttons as opposed to the brass buttons of the issued coats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It is thick navy wool and has black leather buttons. Since it's made by brooks brothers I'd guess that it was based on the british navy greatcoat. It's roughly knee length, but what threw me was the epaulets. I haven't seen those on an overcoat before. I'd guess this was made ibefore the '70's, just based on condition.
 

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It is thick navy wool and has black leather buttons. Since it's made by brooks brothers I'd guess that it was based on the british navy greatcoat. It's roughly knee length, but what threw me was the epaulets. I haven't seen those on an overcoat before. I'd guess this was made ibefore the '70's, just based on condition.
If it's only knee length it's not based on and/or isn't a great coat. Great coats are always full length. Also greatcoats never have leather buttons.
Just sounds like a navy coat to me.
 

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Maybe a UK member can answer this, but were not WWI officers unpaid? I have a dead grandfather who was a Colonel of Infantry and he once told me he had a friend who was well to do, so he went into the army and was absolutely shocked (post WWII) when he was sitting in the Officers Mess and was presented with a paycheque for quite a sum. He figured that since he had volunteered for wartime service, he wasn't being paid and since his family was sending him money he never inquired.

I do know when I went to basic as an enlisted man, everything was issued and private purchase uniforms, other than accoutrements and dress uniforms which matched issue uniforms exactly (some of us had ascots, tailored shirts, etc) were forbidden and held in trust by the quartermasters until the course was over. The Army Cadet program in Canada does a terrific job of equalizing the field, and despite coming from a well-to-do family, my father (a Captain of Infantry) made certain I had what the standard was but was still kitted out. I could have had a bespoke dress uniform or CADPAT camo, but I wore issue clothing and Pattern 82 fatigues.

Of course, being a conniving little sod, I still managed to con my regiment into giving me boots that fit and when I left the Corps, my regiment was just starting to issue ties and greatcoats. If I had wanted a greatcoat prior to that occasion, I would have gone to the surplus shop downtown, picked one out, forked over sixty dollars and bought it, private purchase.

When in garrison, my webbing was private purchase. Most of us didn't have it or if we did, it was American or Brit issue. I had Pattern 82 webbing, two canteens and a butt pack.

Also private purchase were the British 'wooly pully' sweaters. Mine cost 10 bucks. My dad gave me a lighter merino version that was issued to officers back in the 60s (his commission was granted in 1969).

Ahh, memories of a happier time. The world wasn't at war and we were content to be peacocks in uniform.

Thomas
 

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Night of the Crombies

My understanding of the of the BB blue coat is that it was an attempt to give a little variety (color) to the basic (and handsome) "British Warm." I still have the one I purchased in Philadelphia in 1964. It is that classic gray/fawn color with brown leather buttons. Double-breasted, slim silhouette, unbelted. I have always called it a Crombie, which is the name of the UK company that made it (and still makes some of the finest coats in the world). It is made of a peculiarly dense, tightly woven wool with an incredible hand and tremendous resistance to rain and dampness. Mine is pretty well worn out now and seldom pressed into service, but I have never found anything that quite matches the Crombie fabric. Make no mistake, though; it is a heavy coat. Check out the Crombie website sometimes if you are not familiar with this old and storied British company.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My understanding of the of the BB blue coat is that it was an attempt to give a little variety (color) to the basic (and handsome) "British Warm." I still have the one I purchased in Philadelphia in 1964. It is that classic gray/fawn color with brown leather buttons. Double-breasted, slim silhouette, unbelted. I have always called it a Crombie, which is the name of the UK company that made it (and still makes some of the finest coats in the world). It is made of a peculiarly dense, tightly woven wool with an incredible hand and tremendous resistance to rain and dampness. Mine is pretty well worn out now and seldom pressed into service, but I have never found anything that quite matches the Crombie fabric. Make no mistake, though; it is a heavy coat. Check out the Crombie website sometimes if you are not familiar with this old and storied British company.
That Crombie King Coat looks very similar, but mine has a breast pocket and epaulets. Like I said, its the epaulets that really throw me.

I'm tempted to pick up one that King Coat. The price is really good at current exchange rates and if they'll take off the VAT it would be great. Too bad it doesn't come in long.
 

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Canadian said:
Maybe a UK member can answer this, but were not WWI officers unpaid? I have a dead grandfather who was a Colonel of Infantry and he once told me he had a friend who was well to do, so he went into the army and was absolutely shocked (post WWII) when he was sitting in the Officers Mess and was presented with a paycheque for quite a sum. He figured that since he had volunteered for wartime service, he wasn't being paid and since his family was sending him money he never inquired.

I do know when I went to basic as an enlisted man, everything was issued and private purchase uniforms, other than accoutrements and dress uniforms which matched issue uniforms exactly (some of us had ascots, tailored shirts, etc) were forbidden and held in trust by the quartermasters until the course was over. The Army Cadet program in Canada does a terrific job of equalizing the field, and despite coming from a well-to-do family, my father (a Captain of Infantry) made certain I had what the standard was but was still kitted out. I could have had a bespoke dress uniform or CADPAT camo, but I wore issue clothing and Pattern 82 fatigues.

Of course, being a conniving little sod, I still managed to con my regiment into giving me boots that fit and when I left the Corps, my regiment was just starting to issue ties and greatcoats. If I had wanted a greatcoat prior to that occasion, I would have gone to the surplus shop downtown, picked one out, forked over sixty dollars and bought it, private purchase.

When in garrison, my webbing was private purchase. Most of us didn't have it or if we did, it was American or Brit issue. I had Pattern 82 webbing, two canteens and a butt pack.

Also private purchase were the British 'wooly pully' sweaters. Mine cost 10 bucks. My dad gave me a lighter merino version that was issued to officers back in the 60s (his commission was granted in 1969).

Ahh, memories of a happier time. The world wasn't at war and we were content to be peacocks in uniform.

Thomas
Officers from all historical periods were paid money!

I was in Air Cadets and in preparing for one Annual Inspection my buddy found in the depths of Supply a vintage blue/grey uniform from the days when they were still issued with the high-rise pants and short battledress jackets. It fit him perfectly, so we put on the current sqn & rank badges and impressed the hell out of the general who inspected us.

But back to the topic at hand...

I have a massive, heavy British Warm overcoat from some company in the UK. I picked it up in a thrift store. It is navy blue but still fits the definition of this type of overcoat. These things are for all intents and purposes civilian garments, nowadays, just like duffle coats, and no one insists on certain colours being more or less "genuine". It's worth noting that although we believe duffle coats are only authentic in the grungy yellow colour, in fact they were also issued in a navy/black colour, and a variety of fastening arrangements. So there is a precedent for messing with the details.
 

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Thank you Mr Benn :icon_smile_wink:, But what is the definition of a polo coat, what are the features?
Knee-length, double breasted (normally 6x2 or 6x3), envelope pockets, turnback cuffs, full belt or back half belt, and swelled edges. Usually in camelhair (or other camel-colored wool/cashmere/etc.)

Here's mine, from J. Press. It has all the hallmarks:

 
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