I was born and raised in the UK, with Spitfires flying over my house, listening to family tell tales of RAF pilots during war and reading Biggles books, so it's no surprise that when someone says to me flying jacket, my first thought is of an Irvin. The timeless Irvin pattern was developed during the 30s, and by the outbreak of war in 1939 was the standard RAF flying jacket.
This example with only two panels on the back is from early in the war, manufactured around 1939-40 by Irvin Airchute. It would originally have been electrically heated, with an umbilical cord to connect to the aircraft's electrics, and plugs to fit the matching trousers and gloves, providing the wearer with much needed heat. As the war progressed and the RAF's equipment improved, they moved away from electrical heating, and many of these were returned to stores to have the wiring removed, this is such an example. Likely this piece served throughout the war, and given the electrical heating, I would say most likely with bomber or coastal command.
This is in good, solid, wearable condition. The leather is very soft and pliable with a fresh coat of percards applied. All the original dot zips function correctly and the sheepskin lining is in amazing shape. It does show a few signs of honest wear, with a repair to one sleeve and to the right shoulder, plus a little light fading on one elbow. She's beautifully wearable and fit to be enjoyed for years to come.
- No label, but fits a modern large
- Pit to pit 23"
- Shoulder to shoulder 20.5"
- Shoulder to cuff 24"
- Collar to hem 25"