The Duchess of Windsor’s Trench Mittens

Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, is best known as the woman for whom King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936, so he could marry her. But she was also an inventor, though not a very prolific one. In 1940, she invented "trench mittens" that could be unzipped to allow a soldier to use his trigger finger.

The Whitewright Sun - Feb 8, 1940

The backstory is that the Duke and Duchess were widely suspected to be Nazi sympathizers. Nevertheless, at the start of the war they were trying to make a public display of how patriotic they were. The Duke pushed to get a position in the army. And the Duchess used her fashion skills to invent "trench mittens".

But by the end of 1940, the British military had decided they were too much of a liability to keep around, so they were shipped off to the Bahamas for the duration of the war.

Winnipeg Tribune - Apr 6, 1940

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor in 1937

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 25, 2020
     Category: Fashion | Royalty | War | 1940s

I found a pair of long gauntlet cold weather gear at a military surplus store some years ago that are very much like what is described here, although the index finger is free from the rest of the finger portions, sort of a mitten/glove. They are very handy when out in the field but I haven't used them for hunting. Having the finger free allows me to operate my cell phone without pulling the mitten completely off. They are marked with a manufacture date of early 1950's which would place them square in the Korean Conflict era.
Posted by KDP on 09/25/20 at 05:52 PM
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