“Vintage Branded Workwear”

The “PW” Denim jacket used during WWII is on loan from the Museum of the American GI, College Station, TX

Once prisoners arrived at their final internment destination, they were issued clean clothing, but required to stencil or paint the identifier “PW” on sleeves and back of shirt and the legs and backside of pants.  Prisoners later were allowed to purchase clothing via their Post Exchange catalogs with money credits earned for work.  However, the “PW-logo” was still required.

Former prisoner-of-war, Karl Blumenthal said, “They even made us stencil our underwear.”

Another former prisoner shared his memories with his daughter after she told him of her family’s visit to Camp Hearne.  She writes, “He fondly told us about learning to play soccer in the small field at the front of the camp grounds near the entrance of the compound.  As an enlisted man he was issued a WWI uniform made of wool that he had cut into shorts.  There was a strip of leather at the bottom of the pants that each of the men cut off.  From these strips of leather one of the prisoners who had been a shoemaker, sewed together a soccer ball that they used for their sport.  He chuckled as he told us about the ball going “whoosh” when it got kicked a little too hard and popped on the barbed wire fence.”

Judging from many of our photographs, it appears that shorts and undershirts were the uniform-of-the-day.  Bet our Texas heat and humidity had something to do with that.

WAR DEPARTMENT BASIC FIELD MANUAL FM 19-5, Military Police, 14 JUNE 1944, Chapter 11, Section 134

d. Supplies and equipment.  (1) Clothing.  Except as circumstances warrant or climate requires, no uniform or suit is issued as a replacement to a prisoner who is not an officer until the one in which he was captured has become unfit for use.  The uniforms of prisoners are renovated and used when practicable.  Prisoners are permitted to wear insignia of rank and decorations.  No article of the United States Army

uniform will be issued to a prisoner of war unless so altered that it cannot be mistaken for a part of the Army uniform. Except for clothing of officer prisoners and the national uniforms of prisoner enlisted men, out garments worn by prisoners are appropriately marked with the letters “PW”. The clothing of protected peroneal is mark with the letters “PP”.