---John Pentangelo, Curator/Registrar
|Pay Corps Service Dress Blue Coat|
|Ensign J. Flynn, Providence, c.1918.|
Flynn’s service coat is both rare and impressive both for it remarkable condition and because, so-modified, this type of coat was in use for only four months (16 November 1918 and 17 March 1919)! The single-breasted tunic was introduced by the Navy in 1877 and saw service through the Spanish-American War and the First World War. Originally issued with lustrous black braid on the sleeves to denote rank, the more familiar gold braid was added to the sleeves in 1897. The 1897 modification also introduced colored cloth (white for pay corps) in between the braids to denote the corps of the staff officer. On 16 November 1918, less than a week after the armistice ending World War I was signed, the Navy authorized two changes to the service coat. Instead of just a corp device on the collar, the post-war coat featured the corps device superimposed on a fouled anchor. Secondly, the corps device was now placed above the cuff braiding (as is still done today) to replace the colored cloth in between stripes. On 17 March 1919, just four months later, the Navy discontinued the single-breasted service coat altogether and replaced it with the double-breasted suit coat with rolling turn-down collar modeled after the style adopted by the British Royal Navy. This style coat is still in use today. Flynn was commissioned a month after the 1918 regulation and was discharged one month before the coat was discontinued, explaining the near-perfect condition of this amazing artifact.
|Detail of sleeve showing Pay Corps |
oak sprig device over gold braiding.
| Detail of collar showing Pay Corps|
oak sprig device over fouled anchor.