Aeronautical Headgear British
Price = n/a
RAF Air Rank Officers Visor Cap
A really crisp post war example, as issued to senior officers above the rank of Group Captain, for use by Air Commodore, Air Vice Marshall or at the top of the tree Air Chief Marshall. This pattern differs from that used by a Group Captain as these caps only have a single band of 'scrambled egg' on the patent peak peak but here it carries two rows. The leather hat band is stamped with the original owners initials 'ECB'. When purchased we were not aware of who the owner was but with the assistance of our customer 'JW' he has now been idntified as Air Vice Marshal Eric Cecil Bates, AFC, CBE, born in 1906 and received his final posting in 1975. Bates was an Australian pilot who flew with 57 Squadron RAF, and was subsequently CO of No 101 Squadron, when it was equipped with Blenheim I's. He was promoted from Group Captain to Air Commodore 1st Jan 1953, so confirms our thoughts on the date of this cap. When he retired from from the RAF, he became Principle of the College of Air Training at Hamble until 1971.
Overall condition of this cap is excellent and no moth damage to the cloth and just minor age related marks to the top. The double row of gold bullion wire for rank shows just normal age tarnishing. The small Queens Crown Air Rank cap badge in matching condition and is stitched to the black centre band and to the cap. The leather chin strap is also excellent and just normal age related marks.
The interior is equally crisp. The inside of the peak is made from green composite material, to a similar specification as wartime examples. The leather headband and the green felt inner lining are both stamped with the makers details 'Bates Hatter, 21 Jermyn Street, St James, London' and 'Light Weight'. This company was one of the most prestigious UK hatters, being established by Edward Bates in the 19th century when he opened a shop on Sloane Street but moved to Jermyn Street in St James' in 1898. Although the Bates name is still current we understand Bates have not been a contractor to the RAF since about 1975. No size is marked but it is too small for my 23 7/8th (61 cm) head so probably a medium. Despite being post war original examples in good condition don't turn up very often and this one would be hard to improve on for an Air Rank issued cap of this ag with the added bonus we now have the proveance to support it and only fitting a Bates manufactured cap was issued to Eric Cecil Bates!
Whilst we have your attention can we also highlight the other standard RAF Officers cap we also have listed in this section, item 5328. This was also manufactured by Bates, is in stunning condition and with a Kings Crown badge is likely to date from the early post war period.