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Great Leather Blog

News and information related to Great Leather leathergoods and it's customers, as well comments and photos related to leather care, repairs, and restorations.

A Special A-2 in for Service

Dena Hamilton - Monday, October 26, 2015
This jacket was sent in along with a set of knits to replace the old worn knit. Restoring vintage jackets is something we do often since we have the skill and can also supply the correct materials. 
When I saw this particular patch I thought, "It looks like it says 509!" So I looked closer and when I saw the bomb cloud I knew it was a jacket from someone in the 509th squadron, and that was my dad's unit. They flew the Enola Gay which dropped the first Atomic Bomb. I had never seen one of their jackets because my dad didn't have one. He was on the ground crew (responsible for every nut and bolt on that plane) and it was hot on Tinian Island. 
I'm very curious which of the airmen this belonged to. I'll have to ask my customer how he came to have it.


Mouton Fur

Dena Hamilton - Monday, June 02, 2014

WW II Leather Jackets

Dena Hamilton - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One of the services I sometimes get to perform is the restoration of original A-2 and G-1 army and navy leather jackets. As I've had the privilege of meeting, by phone, a few of the original men who wore these jackets I've noticed something common to each encounter. I felt extremely humbled!  Even at a well seasoned age, each man's conversation was intelligent and interesting, and their demeanor deliberate and respectful.

I am so honored to do the work that I do, and to these special men I want to say thank you - for everything - and Kudos!


This gentleman asked if I would restore and go over his jacket completely for anything it needed. 

So, we replaced the waistband and cuffs (with the same heavy knit), put in a new #10 zipper, and resewed the buttons. We reinforced and sewed the tops of the pockets and reinforced any thin places in the leather. We spot dyed the genuine mouton collar at the edges where the fur was missing and light colored flesh showed (also applied drops of oil as the skin was very dry there.) Then, we cleaned, moisturized, and water proofed the leather.  (Here the leather looks shinier than it is because of my camera flash. The actual finish is very natural and true to the original finish.)

*These original jackets are irreplaceable to the men who wore them in WW II. 



World War II - A Debt We Need to Remember

Dena Hamilton - Tuesday, May 31, 2011
In honor of Memorial Day-

This is the first blog I've written for notes other than leather-related information, or things I thought would be of interest specific to musicians and other Great Leather enthusiasts.

But I received an email with a link to Moose Peterson Aviation Photography where their site shares photos of World War II planes and WWII statistics in a tribute entitled, "A Debt We Need To Remember."   I found that I, as many of you, have a personal link to the information presented there.

My father was part of the ground crew for the Enola Gay, also known as Little Boy, the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb effectively leading to the end of WWII. Little Boy's bolts and engine were my dad's responsibility. I always knew that thousands of men were interviewed for his job, for his role in World War II, but after reading these incredible numbers I wonder if maybe millions of names were looked at. Now that daddy is gone, I wished he had shared his thoughts and this experience with me. He never spoke of it.

The statistics of WWII are staggering, the sacrifice unfathomable.  It was the largest human effort in history.

I hope you will look at this page and remember - or imagine.


P.S.  I just found a photo and a very interesting letter from Sgt. Jean Cooper. (Jean was also an engine mechanic so he would have worked very closely with my dad.)  It reminds me that to each of these WWII statistics, there is a person with a story.

Then here is a photo notation from Col. Paul Tibbets (pilot) that I think expresses the way he felt about the ground crew. It supports the things I heard from the 509th reunions, along with the fact that Col. Tibbets wrote a letter to my mother when daddy died, expressing his sympathy.

You can find more historic letters and photos if you click "Back to Gallery" when visiting "The Joseph Papalia Collection" or in other pages from the "The Manhattan Project Heritage Preservation Association, Inc."