First World War - War in the Air

Gauntlets, 1941 pattern, RAF

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Catalogue number
  • UNI 12043
Materials
  • gauntlets: leather
  • metal
Alternative Names
  • FULL NAME: Gauntlets, 1941 pattern, RAF
  • SIMPLE NAME: flying clothing
Object Type
clothing
Category
uniforms and insignia

Label

Second World War period gauntlets/gloves as worn by Royal Air Force flying crew. Gauntlets were a necessity to avoid injuries, especially flash burns, however many pilots felt that the loss of physical touch with their controls would be too much of a disavantage. The 1933 pattern gauntlets, of superb quality, did go some way in diminishing this problem although they were difficult to put on when wearing an Irvin jacket. Fighter pilots during the Battle of Britain were particulaly critical, and the modified 1941 pattern was a design intended to remedy this with its diagonal zippers and gussets that enabled ease of putting on and expansion. They were intended to be worn over silk or rayon glove liners, but this was seldom the practice. Despite the modifications many fighter pilots still risked the obvious benefits of hand protection, and this accounted for the many cases of serious burns. As a matter of interest, both the 1933 and 1941 patterns proved to be highly prized by it would seem all but Battle of Britain fighter pilots, so much so that theft at source at the factories which produced them grew so alarmingly that left and right-hand gloves were made at separate locations. This would account for the fact that so many pairs are mismatched in colour.

History note

Gauntlets/gloves were a necessity to avoid injuries, especially flash burns, however many pilots felt that the loss of physical touch with their controls would be too much of a disavantage. The 1933 pattern gauntlets, of superb quality, did go some way in diminishing this problem although they were difficult to put on when wearing an Irvin jacket. Fighter pilots during the Battle of Britain were particulaly critical, and the modified 1941 pattern was a design intended to remedy this with its diagonal zippers and gussets that enabled ease of putting on and expansion. They were intended to be worn over silk or rayon glove liners, but this was seldom the practice. Despite the modifications many fighter pilots still risked the obvious benefits of hand protection, and this accounted for the many cases of serious burns. As a matter of interest, both the 1933 & 1941 patterns proved to be highly prized by it would seem all but Battle of Britain fighter pilots, so much so that theft at the factories that produced them grew so alarmingly that left & right gloves were made at seperate locations. This would account for the fact that so many pairs are mismatched in colour!

Physical description

gauntlets Pair of brown leather gauntlets, tapered and elasticated at wrist, and fitted with diagonal zip fasteners to inside of gauntlet portions. The outside of the gauntlets feature an expanding guset.

1, 2, stamped in purple ink, inside left gautnlet. 3, stamped in black ink, inside left gauntlet. 4, handritten in ink, inside left gauntlet. 5, stamped in blue ink, inside right gauntlet. 6, stamped in purple ink, inside right gauntlet. 7, handwritten in ink, inside right gauntlet.

1, 8 5, AID F10 A.M. 2, 5929/ 6, A.M. 5925/C43C 3, 5347 8 8 7, HIRST 4, HIRST

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