The U.S. 27th Division Field-Issued British Enlisted Jacket

Published: 10 April 2024

By Michael Santoro
Special to the Doughboy Foundation website

Santoro image 1 framed

This British Pattern 1902 Other Ranks Service Jacket was field-issued to a Sergeant in Company M of the 106th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division. The buttons have all been replaced with US buttons, there is a U.S. Army Sergeant rate on the right sleeve, The 106th Infantry Regiment went overseas on May 10th, 1918, aboard the USS President Lincoln. After three months of training with the British army, they entered their first defensive sector. The 106th occupied the Dickebusch Lake and Scherpenberg Sector from July 25th – August 13th, 1918. They took part in the Ypres-Lys Offensive in Belgium from August 19th – September 3rd, and the Somme Offensive from September 24th – October 22nd, 1918, all while attached to the British, being issued SMLE Rifles, Lewis Machine Guns, and a myriad of other British manufactured accoutrements. In this very rare case, a soldier even wore a British Army uniform.

This jacket was likely issued to the Sergeant as a replacement tunic in the field due to either a wound or wardrobe malfunction. Note the scratched in collar disc & US uniform buttons to denote his organization despite wearing a British Army uniform. He certainly fought at the Somme Offensive wearing this uniform. I’ve scoured the rosters of Company M and have found twenty-two men who may have worn this jacket.

The Sergeants of Company M returning aboard the USS Leviathan on February 26th, 1919 were Erland Wagner, Albert Sarmento, John J. McClurg, Johannes Scharf (Mess Sgt), Edwin A. Kraft, Joseph G. Thompson, John B. Scanlan, John F. Leggett, Hubert J. Scallon, Andrew J. Gabarine, Louis F. Orr (From Boston, Mass), Raymond Callahan, Charles H. Small, Eugene F. Mullally.

The Sergeants of Company M who went overseas on May 10th, 1918 but didn’t return with the company on February 26th, 1919, were Eugene P. Traitler, George J. Maule, Jay L. Hawthorne, Milton Griesbach, William I. Tucker, John J. McAuliffe, Matthew F. Shillitto, and John G. Manson. Two of these men fell in action.

Sergeant Milton Griesbach was killed in action on September 26th, 1918, during the Somme Offensive.

Sergeant John G. Manson died from wounds received in action on October 2nd, 1918, also during the Somme Offensive.

Here is an excerpt from A Short History and Illustrated Roster of the 106th Infantry, depicting headshots of the nine sergeants of Company M in October 1917.

There is a good bit of mothing across the uniform, but in my humble opinion, it’s all in the right places, and somehow adds to the character of this great uniform. Despite not being named, it has become one of the centerpieces of my collection. This uniform came from the collection of the late Ron Northrup, a renowned collector of the First World War.

Michael R. Santoro is a history researcher, preservationist, and World War I Antiquarian. He has been collecting World War I militaria for some seven years. He finished both bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University at Buffalo, New York, in Environmental Design & Architecture/Historic Preservation, respectively. He now runs his own historic research business, Santoro Military Researchers, providing quality, quick, and affordable military research.



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