A very rare and absolutely stunning original Royal Air Force Pathfinders battledress jacket which belonged to a Bomb Aimer who flew in Italy before transfering to a Pathfinder Squadron in Great Britain.
The jacket is a typical mid-war dated example which is fitted with stamped zinc buttons only used during 1943. The acceptance stamp denotes that the jacket was issued in 1944 and due to this was most likely issued at the front end of the year, it would be assumed when the original owner returned from Italy. The jacket is made from a blue-grey coloured serge wool and features a wire waist belt buckle.
The jacket comes complete with its original insignia which includes a flat pattern Bomb Aimer brevet above the left breast pocket, below which are three medal ribbons including the 39-45 Star, Italy Star and the War Medal. This is an interesting combination but fairly typical of what was worn around the end of the war. A brass eagle badge has been fitted to the pocket flap below this which denotes that the original owner was part of a Pathfinder squadron. It is a screw back example and has clearly been attached to the jacket for many decades. There is verdigris around the eagle as well as to the two securing nuts to the underside of the pocket flap. I have included detailed photographs of this as it is important to illustrate that this is not a modern put together tunic but is in fact the genuine article. The epaulettes are fitted with two pieces of rank braid each which denotes the rank of Flight Lieutenant. What is particularly nice is that the first ring is carefully stitched down whilst the second has been done more hurriedly, most likely by the original owner after he was promoted. The first ring is also notably dirtier which also shows the time lag between the second braid being added on promotion. It is a good indication as to the jackets life between 1944 and 1945.
Inside the jacket the original label is still present and bears the early designation of 'Suits Aircrew' to the top which confirms this as a 1943 made example. This has been stamped over with the later designation of 'War Service Dress' added and is quite common to find on jackets made in this year. The size is marked as 3 and the maker's name of 'L. Silberston & Sons' is present as is the 1943 date and the War Department broad arrow marking. As well as this there is a War Department acceptance stamp which is surmounted by the letter 'M' which denotes 1944 as the year of issue.
The jacket is in good condition overall and displays very well. It has plenty of signs of service wear which is to be expected of a jacket worn during the time frame already mentioned. There is wear around the collar for use as well as a small hole to the bottom of the right breast pocket which is illustrated in picture 8. A couple of the front buttons are missing but this is as the jacket was found and most likely worn. Please take time to study the pictures and bear in mind that this is a vintage, pre-worn item which may have small flaws commensurate with age.
A truly fantastic original RAF battledress with all of its original insignia. Original Pathfinder uniforms are extremely rare to find which make this an excellent opportunity to improve your collection!