A scarce original RAF Irvin Flying Jacket dating from the early part of the Second World War.
This rare early war jacket most likely dates from 1940 based on the main zip and zip bucket, although it could be slightly earlier. It is of the first pattern with the single seam to the rear as worn in the pre-war years and during the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain. Wartime economy measures dictated this construction to be too wasteful leading to a multi-panel version being introduced in 1941 and thus making these early examples rare to find today.
The jacket features a short, dense sheepskin lining to the interior and collar facing which are typical of these early production jackets. The large collar retains its leather strap and double D ring buckles as well as the loops to the rear which the collar strap attaches to. The strap is missing, as is often the case. The metal hanging chain is also present to the neck.
The original waist belt is still intact and working and features the correct chrome plated buckle which shows some signs of tarnishing and age.
All the zips are brass 'DOT' brand examples as are often found on original Irvin jackets. All three zips still retain their leather pull tabs which are often missing today. The main zip functions well as does the left sleeve zip. The right sleeve zip appear to have a small tear near the teeth so I haven't tried to unzip it in case of causing further damage. The jacket can still be worn and displayed without undoing it.
The jacket is a generous larger size and has long arms meaning it could well suit a tall person. When laid flat it measures -
Chest - 25"
Waist - 20"
Inside arm - 24 1/2"
Outside arm - 26 1/2"
The jacket is in reasonable condition for its age but is by no means perfect, as these jackets rarely are. It has clearly seen plenty of action and use but overall it does display well with a nice original patina. The chormed leather finish is good in most places but there are various sections where it is missing, particularly to the back of the arms as can be seen in the pictures. There is various crazing and wear to the whole of the exterior. The seams are generally good but there are sections where the stitching has come away, which is again a common fault with these jackets. None of this is too serious and it displays fine but they may need shoring up if the jacket was going to be worn. There are also a couple of period repairs, the most notable being to the armpit area. More photographs can be supplied on request and the various flaws have been taken into account when pricing this jacket.
All in all this is a reasonable example of a Battle of Britain period flying jacket in a good wearable size. Whilst not the finest existing example it still retains its original zips, hanging chain, belt etc and has a great patina. This would make a nice addition to any aviation collection without a doubt!