The scenes are familiar ones; the young ‘Brylcream Boys’ sat at dispersal waiting for the haunting call of ‘Scramble’, lounging in their shirt sleeves and fur-lined boots, their leather flying helmets lying limp by their side. But what did the RAF fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain really wear, and what vital items would their kitbags have held?
The casual attitudes of the pilots of Fighter Command in the Spitfire Summer of 1940 conceals a necessarily professional approach to their task of holding Hitler’s Luftwaffe at bay. Therefore, each item of clothing and equipment they wore and carried had a role and a function, be it for warmth and comfort, communication, or for fighting and survival.
All the objects that an RAF fighter pilot was issued with during the Battle of Britain are explored in this book in high-definition colour photographs, showing everything from the differing uniforms, to headgear, personal weapons, gloves, goggles, parachute packs and the essential Mae West life jacket. Each item is fully described and its purpose and use explained.
Author Mark Hillier is a chartered surveyor who has a passionate interest in of the history of the RAF, with a particular focus on the Second World War. He is also a qualified pilot, having flown for more than twenty-eight years. Mark currently flies a Stearman biplane from Goodwood Aerodrome, the former RAF Westhampnett. He has previously written or co-authored seven books on aviation. More info at www.pen-and-sword.co.uk