WW2 RAF Battledress

WW2 RAF Battledress

Joined: October 15th, 2011, 8:08 am

October 15th, 2011, 8:24 am #1

Hi All,
I've been looking up on WW2 RAF BD but these two I find really goes against others I have come across.
The first one looks completely like WW2 except without the lining and hooks on the collar
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WW2-Group-Cap ... 2eb841828a

The second one is mostly WW2 characteristic except for the open collar which usually associated with postwar (could this be very early postwar?)
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WW2-RAF-Group ... 2eb8418658

They could both be WW2 but a pattern unique to Group Captain?

Cheers

Simon
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Joined: October 15th, 2011, 8:08 am

October 16th, 2011, 5:50 am #2

Just found this in the IWM site. It does show a WW2 Group Captain in his BD is indeed different around the collar without the hooks and lining like the first link I posted earlier.
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Joined: February 16th, 2005, 11:34 pm

October 16th, 2011, 9:22 am #3

Hi All,
I've been looking up on WW2 RAF BD but these two I find really goes against others I have come across.
The first one looks completely like WW2 except without the lining and hooks on the collar
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WW2-Group-Cap ... 2eb841828a

The second one is mostly WW2 characteristic except for the open collar which usually associated with postwar (could this be very early postwar?)
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WW2-RAF-Group ... 2eb8418658

They could both be WW2 but a pattern unique to Group Captain?

Cheers

Simon
They both appear to be wartime pattern that have been tailored to an open collar. I have a war service dress blouse where this has been done and have had an army blouse pass through my hands with it done.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 16th, 2011, 1:17 pm #4

Hi All,
I've been looking up on WW2 RAF BD but these two I find really goes against others I have come across.
The first one looks completely like WW2 except without the lining and hooks on the collar
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WW2-Group-Cap ... 2eb841828a

The second one is mostly WW2 characteristic except for the open collar which usually associated with postwar (could this be very early postwar?)
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WW2-RAF-Group ... 2eb8418658

They could both be WW2 but a pattern unique to Group Captain?

Cheers

Simon
Collar modifications (i.e. 'faced collars') are much more commonly seen on army BD blouses. They did occur on RAF blouses but (IMO) on a far less common scale. The IWM photo shows a good example one. The most common practice was for a piece of matching serge fabric to be sewn over or used to replace the drill lining on the collar and part way down the interior front. EVen if pressed flat, the prominent 'notch' remains and is a dead giveaway that these blouses once closed to the throat.

In the case of the uniforms shown, I don't like either of them. I don't believe either are RAF items.

Jacket #2 is clearly a postwar pattern and not a modified wartime blouse. No drill lining is present, no label, and the pocket flaps are the incorrect type for a postwar RAF blouse. The pronounced scallops are common to several European postwar air forces.

Jacket #1 looks very much like a wartime RAF blouse but I have issue with some details. The breeches are decidedly European in style. There was an RAF issue despatch riders breeches but I believe they were made of whipcord, not serge. In any case, I have a tough time picturing an RAF G/C attired in OR-quality breeches and riding boots looking oh-so-Luftwaffe as he heads off to fight the hun. Lastly, I don't recall RAF BD blouses having interior pockets. The Belgians, on the other hand, did have them on their postwar uniforms.
Last edited by AOC553 on October 17th, 2011, 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: October 15th, 2011, 8:08 am

October 19th, 2011, 9:53 am #5

Hi, I think they are both RAF because they were all part of a group of uniform belonging to a named group captain. The breeches comes from the officer serving in the inter war years. There is also his dress uniform
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pre-WW2-RAF-G ... 2eb83fc50e

The seller may have correctly or incorrectly group the breeches with the BD but then I can imagine on a parade the officer might want to be seen with his horse. I have a feeling the 1st BD is tailored differently to distinguished a group captain like the IWM photo. Not so sure about the 2nd BD.
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Joined: October 15th, 2011, 8:08 am

October 19th, 2011, 10:49 am #6

Collar modifications (i.e. 'faced collars') are much more commonly seen on army BD blouses. They did occur on RAF blouses but (IMO) on a far less common scale. The IWM photo shows a good example one. The most common practice was for a piece of matching serge fabric to be sewn over or used to replace the drill lining on the collar and part way down the interior front. EVen if pressed flat, the prominent 'notch' remains and is a dead giveaway that these blouses once closed to the throat.

In the case of the uniforms shown, I don't like either of them. I don't believe either are RAF items.

Jacket #2 is clearly a postwar pattern and not a modified wartime blouse. No drill lining is present, no label, and the pocket flaps are the incorrect type for a postwar RAF blouse. The pronounced scallops are common to several European postwar air forces.

Jacket #1 looks very much like a wartime RAF blouse but I have issue with some details. The breeches are decidedly European in style. There was an RAF issue despatch riders breeches but I believe they were made of whipcord, not serge. In any case, I have a tough time picturing an RAF G/C attired in OR-quality breeches and riding boots looking oh-so-Luftwaffe as he heads off to fight the hun. Lastly, I don't recall RAF BD blouses having interior pockets. The Belgians, on the other hand, did have them on their postwar uniforms.
Air Vice Marshal JR Whitley february 1945


Looks like senior RAF officers have their BD tailored that way.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 21st, 2011, 11:49 am #7

Hi, I think they are both RAF because they were all part of a group of uniform belonging to a named group captain. The breeches comes from the officer serving in the inter war years. There is also his dress uniform
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pre-WW2-RAF-G ... 2eb83fc50e

The seller may have correctly or incorrectly group the breeches with the BD but then I can imagine on a parade the officer might want to be seen with his horse. I have a feeling the 1st BD is tailored differently to distinguished a group captain like the IWM photo. Not so sure about the 2nd BD.
Serge wool officer items didn't exist until the introduction of battledress. Officer breeches would have been made from the same barathea wool (or whipcord) as the service dress (which was the only service uniform until the introduction of battledress).

There was no special/different form of uniform for wear by Group Captains. Battledress (Suits, Aircrew and War Service Dress) were issue items. While you might come across the occassional privately tailored uniform (I have two made in barathea wool), they almost always follow the pattern of the official garment.
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Joined: October 15th, 2011, 8:08 am

October 21st, 2011, 9:01 pm #8

Thanks but sorry I have to disagree about the BD being standardise for all ranks. The more I research this the more I'm convinced that senior RAF officers from group captain and above wore different style of BD regardless if they are issued or privately made. I have yet to find any period photos that shows senior RAF officers above the rank of Wing Commander with standardise BD so if you have any WW2 photo of group captian or rank above with standard BD please point me to it.
I found another image from the IWM showing BD galore worn by senior RAFs



As for the riding breech many officers in the interwar years was expected to have horse riding experience. He may simply decide to ride a horse for parade purposes during the war.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 21st, 2011, 9:50 pm #9

This is not intended to offend so please take my comments in the context of having seen/handled/collected battledress for a very long time.

I can tell you for a fact that there has never been a battledress pattern produced specifically for senior RAF ranks (W/C and above). Since you believe such a pattern exists, I would kindly ask that you provide the relevant copy of AP 1358 Dress Regulations for Officers of the Royal Air Force. If such a garment existed, it would definitely exist within this regulation.

As to your posted photo, I'm not sure I understand your point. Just about every officer in the photo is wearing an issue pattern BD.

From left to right:
closed neck issue serge BD; service dress; issue closed neck serge BD; closed neck issue serge BD (possibly khaki or RCAF -- note army style pocket flaps); possible RCAF or khaki P42 army BD; obscured back row; closed neck issue RAF BD worn by Air Commodore; obscured back row; RCAF Air Commodore tailored BD; closed neck issue RAF BD; closed neck issue RAF BD; closed neck issue RAF BD


In the below photo, all are W/C or higher. Officer closest is wearing a khaki army issue P37 BD with RAF badging.






To contrast with postwar BD, here's one listed on eBay as a WW2 S/L battledress. Again, in my opinion a postwar privately tailored garment. Certainly likely worn by a former WW2 RAF officer but very much a postwar garment.


I can appreciate your willingness to consider a rank-specific BD pattern based on the photos you've shown. I would add that the overwhelming number of photos will show standard issue serge BD being worn by all ranks.

For your theory on breeches, I would suggest your methodology for determining authenticity is flawed. Again just my opinion but it seems that you are trying to justify something rather than making the item prove its authenticity. An authentic item will always pass close scrutiny. Best to always presume something is incorrect and make it prove itself.

In the case of the breeches, I will again repeat that riding breeches were not made of issue serge wool. Breeches were made of Cavalry Twill cloth. The two fabrics are not even close in composition.
Last edited by AOC553 on October 21st, 2011, 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: October 15th, 2011, 8:08 am

October 22nd, 2011, 5:28 am #10

Don't want to sound argumentative but I think your belief of all RAF BD are the same you have overlooked the obvious and simply not supporting what I have said. At the begining of my post my reference to the two links the first BD with the riding breeches I believe is WW2, the second one I wasnt so sure and we agree could be postwar. However you decide to make photo references about the suspected postwar BD while also commenting on the breeches that came with the WW2 BD. Hmmm?

Anyway the points I made that BD "above wing commander", ie from group captain and above, wore different style of BD from other ranks is compelling. Unfortunately the images you posted are Wing Commanders which doesnt support what I am saying. Remember the point which you made earlier concern with the omission of the lining around the collar and the missing hooks? I also observe there is a slight open out at the front towards the collars. These features are different from those BD issued to Wing Commander and below as seen in the images I posted. These differences are not the result of the BD being altered but actually made that way.
Here just to clarify, missing collar linings, no hooks, slight opened out nears the collars




Now because the riding breeches comes with the officer's kit I believe he wore it in certain occassions for show like ceremonial rather than utilitarian. He has another riding breeches made from another material possibly barathea




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