Aeronautical Clothing British
Price = n/a
Beaufort RAF Issue Mk 7 Lifejacket
Manufactured by Beaufort (Air-Sea) Equipment Ltd, this 'Mae West' aircrew lifejacket carries Stores Reference 22C/2275 and appears to date from May 1969. Many of this pattern seem to have been subcontracted to makers Frankenstein, so nice to have an original Beaufort made example. Manufactured from orange fabric, and like the WWII jackets it has 3 button closures to the front. When in service these jackets carried a plethora of escape aids and as well as kapok pads and a bladder it would have also held an inflation bottle, a Sabre rescue location beacon, a water activated torch and other kit to facilitate rescue. This jacket is stencilled on the back 'HON 37' which we assume to have been added when on the Squadron. We speculate this could indicate service at RAF Honington, were the Blackburn Buccaneer was opperated in 1969. If any visitor to the site can clarify meaning please get in touch and we will add to our listing. This jacket has clearly seen quite heavy service use with minor tears and holes and light staining. The neck zip works but is a little tender and one of the webbing straps, for dinghy pack attachment, has been cut, normal practice when these jackets came out of service. Interestingly, this same design was sourced for the 1969 Guy Hamilton blockbuster move 'Battle of Britain', when clearly prop availability took precedence over historical accuracy!
Today, 50 years after these jackets saw service with the RAF they are becoming increasingly hard to find in any condition and also expensive when they do turn up ; the price of this example reflects its overall condition today. This is not the best example we have seen but it certainly has that 'lived in look' and works well on a mannequin or for a reenactor or Goodwood Revival guest, to add that touch of authenticity. To that end our Boss, Mr Oldnautibits himself, borrowed this stock item when asked to dress in period on a recent classic car rally, as shown in the final image attached. Despite the passing years, we think the CO put on a pretty good show!