RNZAF Battledress

RNZAF Battledress

Joined: December 29th, 2006, 11:18 am

November 11th, 2008, 10:37 pm #1

Just picked up a 1943 dated RNZAF battledress made by Lathie & Sons LTD. The jacket is tailored similar to the post war battledress style of the non-button up neck. Has four button front but open neck. I seem to remember seeing this style before on another wartime RNZAF battledress.
Does anyone have any information regarding this different style which seems to have only been a New Zealand style before the end of WW2.
cheers
Jason
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 11th, 2008, 11:05 pm #2

Jason,

You almost assuredly have a postwar blouse (most likely) or a modified wartime blouse (not very common). I have a few production NZ-made BD blouses and all feature the same closed-neck style as the RAF version.

I'll dig mine out this weekend to post some pics. Are you able to post photos?

Alternatively, look close at the label to make sure it's 1943 and not 1948.

The open lapel style, insofar as I can tell, only appeared on the Royal Navy officer working dress blouse. The various Commonwealth countries all embarked on their own postwar variations within a few years of the end of WW2. All went with open lapels but varied with respects to exposed/embossed buttons, non-functioning wrist cuffs with or without the decorative 'points'; long vs short waistbelt, etc.
Last edited by AOC553 on June 24th, 2014, 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

November 11th, 2008, 11:56 pm #3

I believe the RNZAF BD was unique in having a short strap attached to the left of the collar which fastened by means of a button to the right, both under the collar and unlike the RCAF and RAF which featured the two small metal hooks.

Ive seen several mostly RAF which were altered at the end of after the war to an open necked style, and would agree with Chris that either its 1948 dated, or if definately 1943, then altered later. Im not aware of it being an issue item.

I recently picked up an officers WAAF BD dated January 1943, which had had the inner faces of the collar lined with baretha wool.
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Joined: December 29th, 2006, 11:18 am

November 12th, 2008, 12:03 am #4

Hi Chris & Alex, label is definately 1943 had a close look. It is named to R.I MOLLER service number 593165. I guess if anyone knows about RNZAF service numbers that could help pinpoint a date.
Will get some pictures and post them for visual i.d.
cheers
Jason
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 12th, 2008, 12:44 am #5

Jason,

I wouldn't rely too much on service number to date the blouse. You should research from a perspective of skepticism and make the item prove its authenticity rather than presuming it to be good and then looking at possible faults.


There are a number of possibilities here -- being authentic 1943 being one. Labels can and have been moved from garments to increase their value. Service numbers can be added by anyone.

Another possibility is that your BD is in fact a converted service dress tunic. I have a few RAAF examples so I'm sure it was done by all to keep an otherwise unservicable garment usable if the tunic skirt was torn/damaged/dirty.


I don't think RNZAF wartime service numbers moved higher than 450000. Peak strength was 41,000 with 10,000 aircrew. IIRC service numbers were issued consecutively in conjunction with the other branches.
Last edited by AOC553 on November 12th, 2008, 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: December 29th, 2006, 11:18 am

November 12th, 2008, 6:27 am #6

Hi Chris, check out these photos, let me know what you think.
cheers
Jason



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Joined: February 16th, 2005, 11:34 pm

November 12th, 2008, 9:32 am #7

This looks somewhat similar to a blouse I have. A closed collar that has been converted to an open neck. The tailoring looks the same. A clearer photo of the inside of the lapels would help. Why would this have khaki inners?
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Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

November 12th, 2008, 11:22 am #8

The khaki inners are pockets, of the type seen on other nationality BDs. It certainly looks like a correct lable in its original position, and not a converted service dress (I have an RAAF service dress cut down to BD style). I did think it might be a WAAF blouse but photos I have of RNZAF WAAFs show they also wear the usual closed collar.

Its more likely that its a wartime made item, that has been retailored later so it can be used post war, rather than be discarded just because of the change in style. As Chris mentions, the service number seems high for wartime so would also indicate post-war use. Wartime RAF uniforms with post-war badges are common, and in fact the only other RNZAF BD Ive had although still in wartime style and dated 1944, was post-war badged.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 12th, 2008, 12:00 pm #9

Hi Chris, check out these photos, let me know what you think.
cheers
Jason



Jason,



Based on your photos, what you have is a modified wartime-style BD -- date unknown. The internal pockets are from a khaki battledress and are not original to that jacket. RAF jackets did not feature internal pockets (RCAF, RAAF did) and adding them is a semi-common practice -- the donor almost always being an army garment. I've seen this modification before. You should look under the khaki pockets and see if the original BD label is under there on the interior side of the right pocket.



Last edited by AOC553 on November 15th, 2008, 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

November 12th, 2008, 12:16 pm #10

Youre right Chris, and thats something I had forgotten. I found a wartime BD once with blue internal pockets and was disappointed to see the label missing. I then lifted the pocket up to find a nice 1943 original label underneath.

Its a little hard to tell from the photos, but may well be a correct post war BD with pockets added from a wartime example. I have a photo of two RNZAF WAAFs who both picked up long Service medals in 1959. One has a collar like this, the other with a slightly different design (although open too) looking like it might be altered in some way.
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