Jacket, Service Dress (Maternity pattern): Captain, RFC

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Catalogue number
  • UNI 11617
Production date
1916-06-20
Materials
  • cloth/metal
Alternative Names
  • FULL NAME: Jacket, Service Dress (Maternity pattern): Captain, RFC
  • SIMPLE NAME: coat, British
Creator
Object Type
uniform
Category
uniforms and insignia

License Image

Label

This jacket was given to the Imperial War Museum after the First World War by Captain Ball's father. The distinctive pattern of tunic was first introduced in 1911. Although the RFC originated from the Royal Engineer Balloon Sections, the ethos of the new corps may be summarised as owing much to the idea of a 'Cavalry' of the Air. The pattern of tunic worn by other ranks and those officers commissioned into the RFC bears more than a passing resemblance to the so-called 'Lancer' tunics worn by officers and men in cavalry regiments. During the First World War many officers who transferred to the RFC, or who were attached to it, continued to wear the normal service dress uniform of their own regiment. There are photographs of Captain Ball in both his original service dress and his RFC tunic. Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Albert Ball VC DSO** MC (1896-1917), 7th Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) and Royal Flying Corps. Albert Ball, one of the most famous of the First World War flying 'aces', was born in Nottingham. He enlisted as a private in the 2/7th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters, in September 1914. He learned to fly in 1915 and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps early in 1916. From May 1916, first with No. 11 Squadron and then with No. 60 Squadron, he established himself as one of the RFC's outstanding fighter pilots, winning the Military Cross in June. By October he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar and was credited with 30 victories. Already a national hero, he was awarded a second Bar to his DSO in November 1916, making him the first triple DSO in the British Army. Ball joined No.56 Squadron as a flight commander on 7 April 1917, soon increasing his official score to 44 victories. On 7 May he failed to return from a patrol. Though last seen in combat with an Albatross DIII piloted by Lothar von Richthofen, brother of the famous 'Red Baron', the exact cause of Ball's death remains a mystery. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross in June 1917. Ball is buried in Annoeullin Communal Cemetery, France.

History note

This jacket was given to the Imperial War Museum after the First World War by Captain Ball's father. The distinctive pattern of tunic was first introduced in 1911. Although the RFC originated from the Royal Engineer Balloon Sections, the ethos of the new corps may be summarised as owing much to the idea of a 'Cavalry' of the Air. The pattern of tunic worn by other ranks and those officers commissioned into the RFC bears more than a passing resemblance to the so-called 'Lancer' tunics worn by officers and men in cavalry regiments. During the First World War many officers who transferred to the RFC, or who were attached to it, continued to wear the normal service dress uniform of their own regiment. There are photographs of Captain Ball in both his original service dress and his RFC tunic. Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Albert Ball VC DSO** MC (1896-1917), 7th Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) and Royal Flying Corps. Albert Ball, one of the most famous of the First World War flying 'aces', was born in Nottingham. He enlisted as a private in the 2/7th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters, in September 1914. He learned to fly in 1915 and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps early in 1916. From May 1916, first with No. 11 Squadron and then with No. 60 Squadron, he established himself as one of the RFC's outstanding fighter pilots, winning the Military Cross in June. By October he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar and was credited with 30 victories. Already a national hero, he was awarded a second Bar to his DSO in November 1916, making him the first triple DSO in the British Army. Ball joined No.56 Squadron as a flight commander on 7 April 1917, soon increasing his official score to 44 victories. On 7 May he failed to return from a patrol. Though last seen in combat with an Albatross DIII piloted by Lothar von Richthofen, brother of the famous 'Red Baron', the exact cause of Ball's death remains a mystery. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross in June 1917. Ball is buried in Annoeullin Communal Cemetery, France.

Physical description

tunic khaki gabardine cloth Royal Flying Corps 'Maternity' pattern officer's tunic. The tunic bears two RFC bronze collar badges, the worsted rank insignia of a captain on each shoulder strap. On the left breast, a pair of RFC pilot's wings in worsted cloth above a row of undress medal ribbons. These ribbons are as follows Distinguished Service Order with two rosettes, indicating a further two awards; the Military Cross and the Order of St George of Russia. The tunic has five concealed buttons in the fly-front fastening and two front skirt pockets with flaps and buttons. The tunic has some stains and marks which are thought to be oil and bears s a tailor's label which shows it was made by 'J.F.JOWERS / 49 Clumber St. Nottingham', for 'Lieut. A. Ball'. The date is June 20, 1916. The order number T193.

Printed and written on tailor's label

J.F.JOWERS 49 Clumber St. Nottingham Lieut. A. Ball Date: June 20 1916. No T193

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