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Author Topic: Air Ministry's RAF Flying Clothing Collection  (Read 5608 times)

Offline Air Ministry

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Air Ministry's RAF Flying Clothing Collection
« on: February 04, 2016, 12:45:09 AM »
For my first post I thought that I would post a picture of my Battle of France/Britain fighter pilot. I hope it`s in the right section, if not, please feel free to move it.

He is wearing a white prestige suit (which belonged to the PR pilot who flew the sorties over the Tirpitz), 32 pattern Mae West, 36 pattern flying boots and his headgear is a B type helmet, D type oxygen mask with type 19 microphone and a pair of Luxor 12 goggles. These are the goggles which can be seen on the famous picture post magazine being worn by Keith Gillman (not the actual pair I hasten to add). His parachute is a 39 dated Air Ministry marked seat type harness. He also wears a silk scarf in his college colours and has his map (sheet 12, England South East & London) in his pocket.

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Hope you like it ?
Sparky
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 07:01:22 AM by Masonk »
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Offline ScottG

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2016, 01:00:42 AM »
 A real beauty of a display! That cabinet looks killer also!  Scott
Always looking for 32nd Division items and 13th Armored Division items. Please keep me in mind if you have any.

Offline Tom E. Gunn

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2016, 03:18:56 AM »
Wow...what a superb set-up. You've certainly hit the ground running with your first thread!
"He who dares, wins!"

Offline Rakkasan187

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2016, 06:33:09 AM »
Very impressive...

Looking forward to seeing other artifacts in your collection'

Smitty
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Offline Tug1970

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2016, 09:01:12 AM »
An absolutely stunning display Sparky, although not my field it does feel very familiar to me growing up in the 70's with all the big epic WWII movies.  Possibly not the best platforms for basing historically correct information on so I will look forward to actually/possibly learning something!!  ;D

Nevertheless very interesting and obviously a real teaser of a first thread judging by the backdrops of your display!  :P

Tug
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Offline Scarecrow

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2016, 11:57:53 AM »
WOWZER!!

Offline littlebuddy

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2016, 12:03:47 PM »
WOWZER!!

Ill second that !    wowzers !!
2017 and STILL WANTED! a pair of RAF 1940 Patt boots
Always looking for quality condition USAAF stationary,ephemera,equipment and clothing.
Starting to look for the harder to find items e.g. survival kits and items also woukd like to add a complete "Gibson Girl " set up
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Offline Air Ministry

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2016, 01:02:43 AM »
Thanks for the kind comments, I`m glad you like the pictures. :)
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Offline Jerry BB

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2016, 01:22:09 AM »
A great display and it looks that you have cabinets full of wonderful airforce related items.  Fantastic stuff.
Regards,

Jerry BB.

Offline Tom E. Gunn

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2016, 03:59:24 AM »
As Paul Revere once said..."The British are coming!"   ;)
"He who dares, wins!"

Offline Air Ministry

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2016, 07:38:07 AM »
This mannequin depicts a pilot from the 1941 period which was an interesting period as the B type helmet was being replaced by the C type helmet and consequently period photos quite often show B helmets with E type masks and first pattern C type helmets with D type masks, C type helmets fitted with modifiers for the MKIV range of goggles and also crews wearing a combination of 32 pattern Mae Wests and flap type Mae Wests.
He is sitting on an Air Ministry marked dispersal chair and he is wearing a blue prestige suit by D Lewis which while not as sought after as the white or black versions is nonetheless much rarer (unusually for a prestige suit it has Air Ministry marked zips) , over this he is wearing a 1941 dated 32 pattern Mae West which is fitted with the fluorescene dye marker pack (the release tape for this can be seen attached to the inflation tube), again, while this Mae West is not as desirable as a 39 or 40 dated example it is much rarer due to the very late date and the fact it is fitted with the dye marker pack.
His headgear is a first pattern C type helmet which is fitted with a D type mask which has an unusual stud arrangement to enable it`s fitting to the helmet (this mask has operational history having belonged to an Australian pilot), this stud arrangement is extremely rare and this is only the second mask that I have ever seen like this.(This mask is featured in Mick Prodgers flying helmet book), the mask is fitted with a 41 pattern microphone.It has the later uncovered black oxygen tube fitted to it and he is wearing a pair of MKIIIa goggles. Rather than flying boots he is wearing service dress shoes which some pilots liked to do as it gave them greater sensitivity on the rudder pedals. The map in his pocket belonged to a Battle of Britain pilot, Clarence Francis.
The control column which can be seen on the left of the photo is from a MK I Boulton Paul Defiant.

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Original Squadron badges for the Prestige suit are quite rare but this is the only blue one I have ever seen, while it is not original to the suit I couldn`t resist sewing it on. The belt is the same colour as the suit but the flash has made it look lighter.

« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 12:42:17 PM by Masonk »
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Offline Tug1970

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2016, 08:48:17 AM »
Another absolutely knock-out display Sparky, fantastic mannequin........it has certainly becoming apparent after seeing your displays I need more room, in fact I need a new house!  ;D

Actually I'd never have imagined these types of embroidered Sqn badges existed back in WWII, really interesting but I've never considered it before as this is the first time I've seen one on such an early example.........was it common to have embroidered Sqn patches Sparky?

Sorry for my complete lack of knowledge in your subject.........very dull indeed!!   ???

Tug  ;)
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Offline Scarecrow

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2016, 08:56:55 AM »
Absolutely a stunning display!  Even though I'm a Yank from across the big pond I have always had a strong collecting interest in the RAF and related Commonwealth nations.  (Including the PAF).  If you have a minute please check out on this Forum Section "British and Commonwealth Military" - "Displays" and I have a thread showing a portion of my RAF collection.  You may have inspired me to post some more, including an Id'd BOB Pilot grouping and a 601 Squadron pilot's grouping.  Thanks for showing.

Paul

Offline Air Ministry

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2016, 12:05:36 AM »
Thanks for the king words chaps, much appreciated.

Tug, the squadron badges were a pre war affectation as were the prestige suits although they served a practical purpose of keeping the wearers uniform clean. The badges were quite often felt although some were material as per the one pictured above, most were the shape of the crest itself although others were an oblong shape. There are no hard and fast rules for them and each one has to be taken on it`s own merits.
The use of them was banned early in the war because of security reasons and also the prestige suits generally stopped being worn not too long after the Battle of Britain, I imagine due to the introduction of battle dress.
Having said that, I do have a picture of a pilot in the Libyan desert in 1942 ( I think) wearing a prestige suit with a squadron badge on it.

One needs to be careful when thinking of buying a Squadron badge because the badges continued to be made post war and the construction was pretty much the same in a lot of cases as can be seen on Queens crown examples, While badges aren`t my strong point, after handling a few you tend to get a feel for what`s right.
I will do a thread on prestige suits when I have the time and include some pictures of some of the squadron badges I have.

Paul, I will have a look at the threads you mentioned, I`m still finding my way around the site at the moment.
It`s good to hear that you have some RAF kit, I`m always looking for converts to the cause. ;D
I`d be very interested to see the grouping`s you mentioned.
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Offline Air Ministry

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Re: Air Ministry`s flying clothing collection
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2016, 09:29:20 AM »
Here are a few photos of my electrically heated headgear. The setup comprises of a fourth pattern C type helmet, G type oxygen mask which is fitted with the microphone heater, a draught protector, the anti freeze oxygen hose and a pair of MK VIII goggles. The microphone heater plugs into the H type electrically heated suit which is worn beneath the Taylor buoyancy suit. G masks which are fitted with microphone heaters are very rare, the heaters are sometimes seen on their own but are rarely seen actually fitted in a mask. The AP`s show the wires for the heater coming out of the left hand side of the mask as mine do and this makes the most sense because that is the side where the plug in the suit is but i have also seen the wires coming out of the other side of the mask where they would then have to stretch across to the plug on the other side. The anti freeze oxygen hose is made of thicker rubber and is denoted by the white band round the middle, this band is sometimes made of rubber or is sometimes painted on. The draught protector is an extremely rare piece of kit, i have only just acquired this and it is only the fourth or fifth i have ever seen.

« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 11:57:34 AM by Masonk »
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