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Thread: Uniform on commissioning in WW2

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    Default Uniform on commissioning in WW2

    Were officers given a grant to purchase a uniform on being commissioned? I'm thinking of a senior civil servant who was commissioned as a Group Captain late in the war. Also, would it have been possible to buy such a uniform 'off the peg'?

    Brian

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    Evening Brian - apparently they were given an allowance to purchase a new uniform, although I couldn't tell you how much at the moment. A Rear Gunner from 170 Squadron, who lives just around the corner from me and was commissioned part-way through his tour, told me that he was given an allowance (possibly by way of a "chitty" rather than hard cash) to purchase his new togs. I seem to recall that he had to order it rather than having one off the peg. I'm seeing him for a pint later this week, so I'll ask him for you then and post back here if no-one has jumped into the fray first :)
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
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    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Thank you, Greg, that's very much as I imagined things to be. I'd be grateful if you could ask your friend for his advice when you see him.

    Brian

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    No probs Brian, I'll get back to you :)

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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    Brian,
    So far as I know, all newly commissioned offices in the RAF in WW2 were granted an initial oufit allowance and an annual upkeep allowance, but such officers always moaned that it was not possible to purchase the complete (and quite long) list of items required with the amount allocated. Of course the difference was that the uniform was then their personal property, whereas an airmen never owned his issued clothing. However it was often possible later in WW2 to purchase second-hand uniform items in reasonable condition from specialist stores, usually from estates of lost aircrew or men who had left the service for one reason or another. From reading the adverts in semi-official magazine such as RAF Flying Review in the 1950s, it is obvious that the trade in used officer uniform items was still flourishing - lack of cash seems to have been the reason, or rather the unwillingness to divert too much hard cash away from such essentials as a flash car or nights out! It is also a little-known fact that the RAF also ordered supplies of standard- sized officer uniforms from about 1943 or 1944 onwards so that more reasonably priced uniforms could be supplied to the thousands of very junior officers which made up the larger proportion of officers in the service, as tailors were by now being overwhelmed by orders from all the services, as well as foreign armed forces. These sized uniforms could have the trouser leg bottoms and cuffs individually adjusted by the station tailor (if they had one, that is).
    David D

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    David has it spot on. To add a little more, Aubrey Hilliard of 618 Squadron was commissioned, and recalled later being given three days leave to go and sort it all out. He saved the bill too which reads (what I can make out):

    Tunic and slacks 11.11.0
    Mackintosh 6.3.6
    Service Dress Cap 3.8.6
    1 Forage Cap 1.15.0
    1 Shirt - 19.11
    1 " - 19.11
    Pilots wings - 4.6
    1 Pr Gloves - 10.11
    1 Tie - 7.6
    1 Pr Braces - 12.0

    I cant see mention of a greatcoat, which was compulsory, the mackintosh being an optional item. There are a couple of other things I cant make out (probably collars being one) at a total cost of 33. 9. 5!! (Thirty three pounds, nine shillings and sixpence)

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    That’s about 1250 in modern money!! But to make yr eyes (and those of yr bank manager) water, look at:- http://www.gievesandhawkesmilitary.c...F_Uniform.html.
    And that doesn’t include the red silk lining of the No 1 HD Jacket so beloved of Fighter Command Pilots!!!!!!!!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 1st October 2013 at 15:15.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Thank you all gentlemen, you have confirmed what I thought to be the case, but needed confirmation. I'd been reading the draft of an American paper which stated the newly-commissioned officer wore an ill-fitting uniform that he'd bought off the peg. After I'd started this thread it turned out the author had been guessing and had no basis for making the claim!!!!!!!!!

    Brian

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    The red silk lining to the tunics was favoured by 601 Squadron I believe, the 'Millionaires Squadron', named so because most of its members, before and during the early months of the war at least were rather 'well to do'. They also favoured blue rather than black ties, but neither were common to pilots outside the Squadron.

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