Neil, thats a beautiful vest, and looks totally complete too, very nice. According to the gen, the flap type was done away with because the dinghy came in to use, and so although there would have been a cross over period, paddles wouldnt have logically been carried in the pocket. Also, I'd think they'd be hard to get out too. But from the photos the pocket looks to be professionally fitted, so maybe some sort of trial mod?
On a similar note, does anyone have any knowledge of the kapok pads fitted to the tailor suit, or a set they can photograph and add here?