Life Preserver, Private Purchase, 'Boddy': British
Single-breasted collarless life preserver vest of quilted khaki cotton fabric with kapok-filled front and upper rear buoyancy compartments. The vest is closed at the front via four pairs of cotton tying tapes, while the rear can be adjusted via two buckled adjustment straps.
The 'Boddy' life preserver vest was invented in 1912 by George Marlett Boddy, founder of Boddy Life Saving Appliances Limited, London, with different variants introduced in the following years. The main design feature of the vest was its kapok filling to the whole of both sections of the front but only the upper section of the rear, which kept the user face-up in the water even if injured or unconcious. Although it was found that the lack of wearing instructions led to the deaths of several passengers aboard the RMS Lusitania in May 1915, such was the vest's effectiveness that it was issued to aircrew of both the Royal Flying Corps (as the 'Boddy No. 5 Jacket' from 1916) and the United States Navy, while a variant was known to have been used by the British Army for water crossings during the First World War.
BODDY LIFE SAVING APPLIANCES (1914) LIMITED LONDON