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Aeronautical Instruments & Tools

Stock No. 7065

Price = n/a


RAF Theatre Made Shoulder Holster - Click for the bigger picture

RAF Theatre Made Shoulder Holster

Shoulder holsters are comparatively unusual in British military service with most handguns being carried on the hip. RAF aircrew flying over enemy territory could carry a sidearm (but many, if not most, chose not to do so) that would be for personal protection if the worst should happen and they came down in enemy territory. Paragraph 2566 of Kings Regs states 'Every officer, subject to clause 2, will be entitled to be issued with on demand one Colt automatic pistol or pistol revolver no2, Mk I (.38") for his personal use'. These weapons were designed to be carried in the 37 pattern webbing holster, but this was not practical for aircrew and needed to be out of the way when flying, so as not to interfere with the operation of the aircraft. Whilst post war the RAF have sourced custom made aircrew shoulder holsters we are not aware of such kit being issued in WWII, but with this prelude this leads us nicely into describing the item we are now listing.

Made from blue canvas this shoulder holster is clearly theatre made, probably by the Squadron tailor and came directly from a family source, together with an issue 37 pattern holster set, Navigators brevet and other miscellaneous items. The wartime owner completed two full tours of duty, the second with a Pathfinder Squadron, and it is assumed he had this made up to carry a sidearm during operations. As such it features no nomenclature whatsoever, so we can only speculate on its origins. The inside of the canvas shows wear caused by rubbing, so would appear to have seen operational use. The beige webbing strap is designed to loop over the wearers right shoulder and the holster is then secured in place by cloth ties arround the back. We imagine this would have been worn tucked away beneath Battledress blouse, as the holster has no securing strap to hold the sidearm in place. In a life time of collecting this is the first such example we have seen so represents an extremely scarce piece of aircrew flight equipment and we doubt we will ever find another. My late Fathers BD blouse is clearly not included in the sale and is for illustrative purposes only.

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