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Fleet Air Arm - Pilots Impression
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Author:  Shaun [ Wed Sep 12, 2007 18:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Fleet Air Arm - Pilots Impression

Hi all,
Im putting together a "Stringbag" pilots uniform. Now flying kit is the same with the optional yellow hood on the irvin. Now my main question is where can i get the Naval BD from and where would the rank and pilots wings go???

Cheers
Shaun

Author:  SteveCobden [ Wed Sep 12, 2007 19:35 pm ]
Post subject: 

Depends on period, really. For 1941-1943, either the double breasted service dress was worn or any battledressy looking uniform dyed blue or tailor made - I dyed a Greek BD for this purpose, before I got a proper one. 1943-1945 it was 5a's (basically RN battledress); these are quite hard to find, especially in large sizes, and are a completely different cut and different features to army battledress (waist is buttoned, as opposed to buckled; only three buttons; serge collar with lapel holes), and aren't reproduced. Might be worth asking pegasus, but I doubt they have a pattern. If your very nice, I might lend you my original one for such a purpose :P

Rank: Sub-Lt to Lt-Commander I'd recommend (hat braid); if you are under 20 then Midshipman only. For the period of the war you are likely to portray (if you are wearing BD, that is), then you'd need RNVR soft shoulder boards, with an "A" in the curl. These are a right bloody pain to find! Even without the "A". The tropical shoulder boards are wrong for 5a's, as they shouldn't be curved at the side. You might be able to make your own, however - if you can find RNVR lace! I have one that is not on a uniform - it's literally just stiff cardboard shaped like a shoulder board and covered in cloth, with the rank on it - will take photo's when I'm back at uni. The "A" - you could use a gold rub on transfer, I suppose; should do the trick.

The rank for a Sub-Lt (Air Branch), RNVR, observer:

Image

Just to shew the A. Wings weren't worn on shoulderboards; but worn in the same way as RAF wings

Author:  SteveCobden [ Thu Sep 13, 2007 13:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

A couple of other notes:

Flying kit: 41 pattern Mae West (never seen the flap type worn by FAA)
32, 39, or 40 pattern boots (never seen 41 pattern, and definately not escape boots)
Irvin; standard type or the hood type
Flying Helmet: The fleet air arm had it's own version of the C-type, but RAF B-type would be acceptable

General rule is take the RAF pattern the that's current for the period, and go for the mark or model that preceded it for Fleet Air Arm.

It is also worth noting that the Proper name of the Fleet Air Arm in WWII was the Air Branch of the Royal Navy - Fleet Air Arm was the name for the Naval Wing of the RAF before control was handed over to the RN in 1938, and was re-instated in around 1952. The branch was distiguished by the letter (A) in brackets after the Rank, eg. Lieutenant (A) Shaun Gunbunny, RNVR. However, the term Fleet Air Arm was still used unofficially during the war. Also remember that Lieutenant was pronounced Letenent, not leftenent as in the army and RAF.

Author:  Monty Stubble [ Thu Sep 13, 2007 18:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

RNVR Lace is easy to find as bauns will make it up. It's also the same as Sea Cadet officer's lace.

Author:  q.ship [ Thu Sep 13, 2007 20:24 pm ]
Post subject: 

Don't forget your Gosport tubes!!!!

Mike.

Author:  SteveCobden [ Sat Oct 06, 2007 19:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

Shoulder boreds for 5a's:
Image
Image

5a's (1943 onwards)
Image

Non-regulation working dress (1941 onwards)
Image

Author:  RANR [ Wed May 21, 2008 5:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fleet Air Arm - Pilots Impression

Gents, the BBC programme "Spitfire Ace" (2006 ?) briefly shows a photo of an FAA flyer at the nose of his hurricane wearing his naval officer's cap, roll necked jumper and irvin jacket. It shows only his upper body, but I would presume service dress trousers and early pattern flying boots or just black shoes would have bee worn. You could get away with that on the basis of that photo, perhaps with a Mae West, and not need to worry too much about the BD, rank lace etc. Hope that helps.

Scott.

Author:  REG [ Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fleet Air Arm - Pilots Impression

Steve, do you have those photos to hand still as they've expired.

It appears to me that the FAA wore whatever they wanted in WWII, especially on Malta. There are some great videos on line and a series of pictures at the IWM

Many thanks

Author:  obt48 [ Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fleet Air Arm - Pilots Impression

Not my specialist area this, but I do always find the Imperial War Museum pictures a good source of evidence, see: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/sear ... =on&page=1

Author:  REG [ Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fleet Air Arm - Pilots Impression

obt48 wrote:
Not my specialist area this, but I do always find the Imperial War Museum pictures a good source of evidence, see: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/sear ... =on&page=1


Yes, a fantastic resource and my first port of call.

Author:  Daze [ Fri Feb 09, 2018 23:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fleet Air Arm - Pilots Impression

Cap, roll-neck, black uniform trousers, and shoes, Irvin,
its about the cheapest portrayal, except for the Irvin
Especially if a friend knits you the jumper
Btw Aero leather did me a lovely yellow hood for My Irvin

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