By H. & L. Block. Size 42 (physically measures approximately 49" maximum, externally). The M-442 was standardized by the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics in March 1940 and redesignated as the M-422A in October 1941 following the addition of a pencil slot within the main left pocket. Manufactured from thick, dark seal brown vegetable tanned goatskin hide. This was manufactured under Contract No. NXs-5134 which was awarded in May 1942 and completed in August the same year. The jacket has two button-flapped patch pockets (the left complete with concealed pen pocket as mentioned above), bi-swing back, knitted cuffs/waistband and ventilated underarm gussets with stitched vent holes that are found exclusively on Block jackets. The Conmar brass zip has a leather puller tab and the mouton fur faced collar is complete with buttoned closure strap. It has a tan rayon satin lining and one internal pocket with press stud closure. Overall condition is excellent. The leather is in superb strong and flexible condition retaining deep original colour and chromed finish. Both cuffs and waistband have a few small repairs but are generally very good indeed. There is fading and some soiling to the lining but aside from a few smallish holes near the neck and waist, it is in quite good condition. The fur collar is beautifully soft and clean, backed with leather which is stencilled 'U.S.N'. This jacket has its original taffeta weave label, a fabric patch named to Lieut. C.W. Smith USNR, and a lovely woven patch featuring a 'winged goat' and crossed torpedo/machine gun, denoting United States Navy Composite Squadron 71 (VC-71). This unit served aboard CVE-61 USS Manila Bay, I believe operating torpedo-carrying TBMS (Avenger/Grumman Wildcats). We've been unable to get any definitive information on Smith, not the easiest surname to research! A few names crop up as contenders and at one stage I had him as 'killed in action' in the battle of Leyte Gulf but sadly I cannot find that information anywhere now. So, to conclude, this is a lovely named example of the 422A jacket worn by a VC-71 pilot. Definitely worthy of more research. Stock code J25028.
Approximate external measurements : pit to pit 24.5", waist 20.5", shoulder to cuff 24"