Aeronautical Clothing British
RAF 1941 Pattern Mae West
A very fine second-hand reproduction of the classic lifejacket of WWII. Introduced in 1941 this jacket incorporated many improvements over its Battle of Britain predecessor, the 1932 pattern, that included gas as well as oral inflation and above all it was produced in a colour that was more easily spotted when adrift and alone at sea! This jacket is the Rolls Royce of reproductions with every detail successfully replicating the original, even down to the style of the later pattern Lightning zip, to access the neck the kapok.
This one being in used condition has just the right amount of soiling associated with the original - check out the last photograph in our listing to compare. We initially thought the hand painted artwork represented an Irish shamrock, so ideal if you wish to recreate the look of the Irish ace Brendan 'Paddy' Finucane, the most highly decorated pilot during the early years of World War II. However, we believe it actually represents a four-leaf clover, synonymous with good luck. Either way this jacket has that' lived in' look that is normally lacking with factory fresh replicas. It comes complete with three correct specification and AM marked kapoks as well as an original later pattern plastic Mae West whistle; by repute these were introduced during the war to supersede the snail type metal whistle, as in extreme cold these were known to freeze to the user's lips. This example, like so many of this pattern, is somewhat distorted and no longer functions, but remains a perfect and authentic accessory. The vest lacks an inflation bladder but one could be added; in the meantime, a very convincing tube provides a far cheaper alternative. It also features a replica dye strip, as well as a pouch to carry the floating lamp and battery pack, as well as authentic style buttons, canvas grab handles and leg straps. Inside the jacket the fabric is very clean and the authentic look is completed with a sewn in fabric label featuring a Kings crown, stores reference nos 22C/448 (indicating the largest size) and makers details H. J. N & Co.
Currently original '41 pattern Mae West can command prices of up to a £1,000 price tag. Ours provides a far more economical alternative and works equally well in an RAF collection, on a mannequin display or, as the last owner, for convincing re-enactment purposes.