A scarce original 1950s RAF MK1 Cold Weather Flying Jacket in good used condition.
Officially designated 'Overalls, Flying, Cold Weather, Jacket, Mk.1', This pattern of jacket was introduced in the very early 1950s as part of a new generation of flying clothing which was to replace the sheepskin items worn during the Second World War. The jacket is made from a grey coloured ventile cotton and is cut like a smock earning it the modern nickname 'Ventile Smock'. Ventile is a very tight weave cotton which was selected by the RAF due to its excellent windproof and waterproof qualities. They were originally designed to be worn with a matching set of overall trousers but were often worn as just a jacket by mountain rescue units amongst others.
The jacket features a brass 'Lightning' branded zipper to the front which is typical of the period. It is a high quality example with leather tabs to the bottom and has a section of grey ventile cotton attached to the puller to make it easier to use when wearing gloves. There is an angled pocket to the chest and two more to the skirt of the jacket, both of which fasten with buttons. They also feature the extended section under the pocket flaps to help waterproof the pockets. This style is found on other British military garments of the period including the RAF 1951 Pattern Parka and the British Army Middle Parka. An integral waist belt is also present and fastens with a steel buckle which bears the patent number to the reverse. The smock also features a function cuff, epaulettes and a hood. The hood can be tightened with a white coloured drawstring which is secured with wooden toggles.
The interior is lined with a khaki green coloured wool shirting material which is again typical of the period. It features a fish tail to the bottom which is fastened to the interior. This can be removed and fastened to the front after being passed through the wearer's legs helping secure the jacket in high winds and adverse weather. This has been carefully tacked up to make the rear of the garment straight cut across the rear to look like a normal jacket. The fishtail is still intact as illustrated in picture 16 and the stitches could be removed to put it back to original with ease. As well as this, the original owner has added a small leather tab which has a metal ring on the end. This must have been added to carry a specific tool such as a light or a knife.
The jacket is a smaller size which will fit a 36" or 38" chest well. When laid flat it measures -
Chest - 24 1/2"
Inside arm - 20"
Outside arm - 21 1/4"
Shoulders - 19 3/4"
Length - 28 1/2"
The smock is in good condition with some signs of wear and use. There are some small hand sewn repairs and wear to the cuff along with various staining etc from use. Overall it displays well and is still very wearable with a great patina that looks excellent when worn or displayed. Please take time to study the pictures before purchasing as this is a vintage, pre-worn item which has some flaws commensurate with age.
A fantastic example of a rare and sought after RAF jacket!