This is a wonderful NCO dress tunic from the Kaiserliche Marine. This particular dress tunic was often referred to as a “Monkey Suit” or “Monkey Jacket.” What makes it even more desirable – the NCO was involved in the Imperial German Naval Air Service!
The tunic is made of fine-grade, dark-blue wool. It features silver buttons throughout. It boasts two rows of nine silver buttons down its center. Each button displays the Kaiserliche Marine’s fouled anchor, and the Kaiser’s Hohenzollern Crown. In addition, a device consisting of two more silver buttons joined by a chain allows the tunic to hang open, but remain semi-secured. The collars exhibit the Imperial Naval Air Service’s twin, silver-toned, winged propellers. They are similar to the winged propellers seen on the shoulder boards/straps of the Imperial Army Air Service. The left sleeve exhibits a Petty Officer’s Rating Badge. I believe it indicates that he is an armorer. His cuffs display silver bullion tape indicating he is an NCO (Petty Officer).
Extending upward from each sleeve are six more small, silver buttons. The tunic’s exterior is in very fine condition. I see only one small moth nip on the obverse and one on the reverse. Inside the tunic is a complete cotton lining with many depot marks. These indicate it came from a naval depot, and was first placed in service on 19 April 1911. It evidently was reissued from the depot in 1916. I can tell you that finding naval aviation items is difficult, and finding tunics is tougher yet. I once owned this tunic. I gladly took it in again as a trade on another item. In all my years of collecting, I have owned and seen two Navy aviation tunics. One was for an officer, then this one for an NCO.
It is an important tunic and a worthy addition to any aviation or tunic collection.