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Royal Navy great coat issued to LEUT Michael Varley RAN

Date: 1950
Dimensions:
Overall: 1300 x 500 mm
Medium: Wool, metal, fabric
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Michael Varley
Object Name: Great coat
Object No: 00050155
Place Manufactured:England

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    Description
    Naval great coat issued to Lieutenant Michael Varley during his secondment to the Royal Navy from the Royal Australian Navy in 1950 for officer training and service. The blue woollen coat is full length, double breasted with twelve gold buttons and a slit in the left hand side to hold a ceremonial sword.
    SignificanceThis greatcoat is an example of naval dress worn by members of the Royal Navy in winter weather.
    HistoryGreat coats have traditionally been worn for warmth and protection against cold winds and harsh weather in countries with cold climates. The coats have been issued by armed forces since the 17th cenury. In 1883 the Royal Navy redesigned the great coat and it ceased to be a frock coat. The current form of the coat is double-breasted with a slit to place an officer's ceremonial sword. In the Royal Navy the coats are no longer general issue and are primarily worn for ceremonial duties such as the guarding of Royal Palaces and households.

    Michael William Varley was born in 1933 and joined the RAN in 1947 at the age of fourteen as a cadet midshipman. He spent a few years training at HMAS CERBERUS and was then seconded to the Royal Navy from November 1950 until September 1951 for officer training and service. He returned to Australia in HMAS LONSDALE in late 1951, but within a few years was back in the UK on a second secondment from March 1953 until October 1954. He continued to progress through the ranks and by mid-1953 had been promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in the role of P.N.F (Pilot Non Flying). In 1956 he became a Lieutenant and by 1964 had reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He was posted to numerous vessels including HMAS GLADSTONE and HMAS WARREGO and land based naval establishments including HMAS KUTTABUL.

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