Barbour Military Jackets?

Tom Bowers

Active Member
was wondering if anyone had information, photos or even actual garments made by Barbour for the armed forces especially in WWII

I have several regular barbours that I've worn for decades and became curious if the UK military had contracted with them

Thanks in advance

Bombing IP

Well-Known Member
The connection is very thin but Barbour was instrumental in the creation of the Ursula suit which be came standard issue for Submarine crew . The suit was named after a U class submarine called the Ursula whose Captain Phillips was instrumental in getting the suits for Royal navy Submarine crews . No military jacket or motorcycles connection. In fact I think the Ursula suit became the Jacket of choice for motorcyclist after WW2 .

As far as I know dispatch riders wore a rubberized canvas covered 3/4 length coat not the waxed cotton type designed by Barbour . on warmer days the rider wore regular uniforms P37 or P 40 battle dress with leather jerkins over the top . I know of no other Barbour connection to the military may be someone else know different .

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Well-Known Member
Interesting question. Barbour were producing weatherproof clothing before the First World War and more than one online potted history make vague references along the lines of demand for oilskins by the army continued to grow but my gut feeling is that th demand would have been from private purchases by officers.

Similar mentions are made regarding the Second World War and of course as BIP points out the Ursula Suit connection is a known, one site says...

'The Ursula suit, which was standard issue for all submariners for the duration of the Second World War, was developed by Barbour and was based on the International suit. Captain Phillips, the commander of HM Ursula requested Barbour to create a prototype jacket and trousers from the one piece International that had impressed him so much. His navigating officer Lieutenant Lakin, a keen motorcyclist had worn his Barbour International suit and demonstrated its weather resistance qualities when he remained dry despite Captain Philips turning a fire hose on him!'

Another site says...

' With the start of the Second World War, Duncan was called away to fight and Malcolm Barbour took over full responsibility for Barbour again with the help of Duncan’s wife, Nancy. Again, they produced weatherproof outdoor clothing for both the military and civilians including the development of the Ursula suit which became standard issue for members of the Submarine Service. The Ursula suit was named after the U-class submarine, Ursula whose commander Captain George Philips was instrumental in getting the suits produced.'

Again mention of military and civilian production but nothing specific regarding production of military contracts. Again my opinion is that any items would have been private purchase via their usual catalogues. I do have one or two books which contain copies of pages from their catalogues and broader history and photos but they are stored in the back of the house inaccessible to me at present so my comments are from what I have picked up in the past.

They are still a helpful company, an email to head office could well find its way to a person who could provide specific answers with regard official contracts they may have had a hand in over and above the Ursula suit.


Well-Known Member
Barbours were worn by troops in the Falklands conflict - some ‘allegedly’ modified by Dept. B at Barbour to the specification of the owners. Here’s an article
Ps A Barbour/Tokito collaboration produced a ‘hunting jacket’ freely based on Captain Cotton’s jacket as one of a range of To-Ki-To jackets a few years ago. The hunting jacket from this range has become highly collectible and sells for high prices especially in Japan. Barbour also released an identically similar ‘hunting jacket’ but without the To-Ki-To label.

Officer Dibley

Well-Known Member
I think the Ursula suit was developed from a coverall that Barbour made before WW2 for motorcyclists.
The unlined Barbour Durham whilst not mil issue, was very popular amongst UKSF an Recce troops because the alternative was a poncho or waterproofs nicknamed “crisp packets” because of the noise they made - hardly tactical. The Durham packed down small and was quiet.
That was early 1980’s.
There was a DPM (camo) Barbour Solway available but never on issue.


Well-Known Member
There is heaps of stuff out there about them being worn in Falklands, it’s certainly not prolific as implied
There have been a couple on eBay recently and one running last night that use this slant in the sales pitch
If I was gonna by a “Falklands” jacket I would be asking for provenance