full screen background image
Search Oldnautibits
Home> Stock Information

Aeronautical Instruments & Tools

Stock No. 5225

Price = n/a


WWII RAF Pilots Knee Board Note Pad 1944 - Click for the bigger picture

WWII RAF Pilots Knee Board Note Pad 1944

A remarkably basic but essential piece of kit issued mainly to single seat pilots. These kneeboard note pads developed in the early days of aviation during WWI for use by the Royal Flying Corps and continued in RAF service up until the present day where the note pad becomes an integral part of the fast jet aircrew flying suit. In the Great War the aerial view became increasingly important, once the initial mobile phase of action developed into what we now know as 'trench warfare'. Trenches were hazardous to both mounted troops and men on the ground and prevented them from effectively reconnoitring enemy lines. Aircraft had no such restrictions and both cavalry and aircraft pilots and observers had to make notes and draw sketch maps of what they saw on their reconnaissance missions. Both types of personnel did this using boards strapped to an arm or a leg. We been fortunate enough to discover a box containing a very few of these but this is the only one remaining with a date. The front of the board has a note pad that has been partly used. It is clamped in position by a wood strip held in place by a pair of butterfly nuts; on removing the clamped board we found the pad is stamped 'Ben Lines ' a shipping company formed in Scotland in 1825 and still in business today. Interestingly this board is unique in that an acetate has been affixed and permanently varnished on below the pad giving details of the pre-flight and landing checks required and may well relate to post war usage.

The reverse of the board, which is made from varnished plywood, caries two permanently mounted leather straps, large enough for attachment to either thigh or arm. These are secured by a pair of quick release Bennett's buckles, marked accordingly and of the same pattern used on RAF B and early C flying helmets. The leather remains very supple and the buckles are in good working condition. In true Air Ministry style the board is fully stamped up with relevant nomenclature and is headed 'S.L. 1944' followed by a Broad Arrow property mark and is dated 1944. Below is stamped 'H855996/43/C22(b) Stores Ref No 6F/171' and a further broad arrow for good measure! RAF stores reference code 6F covers 'Personal Equipment Aircraft'.

A range of photographs are attached showing the detail and the final period picture illustrates a similar but rather more sophisticated board from RFC and early post WWI period showing intended usage. The board measures 10" x 6" (25.5 cm x 15.5 cm) A modest but very useful piece of WWII/early post war RAF flying kit that is now remarkably hard to find in any condition. This one ticks all the boxes and would make a great addition to an RAF collection or mannequin display.

Home | Nautical | Aeronautical | News | Press Releases | About Us | Contact Us | Links
FAQ's | Web Log | Search | Site Map | Privacy | Terms & Conditions
Mr Oldnautibits a chantrybarn production