Night Night Squadron Leader, time to catch 40 winks, what ho!

Here is a set of 1942 dated RAF issue Pyjamas. A jacked part and bottoms made of striped cotton I presume. The bottoms are tied with a drawstring and the top is buttoned up. Really nice feel to them and a smart striped pattern. The top has the usual WD and arrow emblem and letter O above denoting it was issued in 1942. Presumably these were never actuall given out as the large stamp next to it denotes a 1955 date too so possibly re issued. The bottoms also have the 1955 RAF stamp in red and to the left can be seen a lovely although faint AM and crown motif.

For anyone dating WD marked items with a letter prefix rather than a date, the following letters represent the following years.

R-1939
Q-1940
P-1941
O-1942
N-1943
M-1944
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1940s wicker basket/waste paper bin.

Her we have a wicker waste paper basket from the 1940s. Beautifully made and very sturdy and of a typical design for the time. On the base are painted the nominal GRVI monogram as per all government issue items. Extraordinary how even the simplest thing like a waste paper bin are marked up. The search continues for an Air Ministry marked one. Maybe one day I hope! This example as ever came from David Farnsworth at http://www.historicflyingclothing.com

Another example has been commandeered by my girlfriend as the new home for her wrapping paper. I found this one with Sally at http://www.shakespearesvintage.co.uk

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RAF Malcom Club

Here I have a lovely China cup made by Rhenania of Duisdorf Germany. The cup was made for the Malcolm clubs which served the RAF. Malcolm clubs first appeared in Algiers in 1943. The Americans had taken over a large building in the middle of the city and turned it I to a welfare centre run by the Red Cross ladies. Both US and British troops used it but as it became more popular and space limited, it became an American only enterprise. Lord Tedder who was an officer in the RAF at the time was concerned that this would affect his men so he asked the senior command if the N.A.A.F.I could set something up in town. The request was declined. Then in stepped Eisenhower. He was concerned about the issue too so asked a lady working for him to look into it. That lady later married and became Mrs Tedder. Soon after, the first Malcolm club was established. They became a home from home for airmen and the likes.

The very names of the countries through which the clubs passed is an outline of the history of the Air Force during the war: North Africa, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Iraq, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya and Japan. Then through Italy, up the East coast into Austria, up to Vienna, to a little club there at Schwechat, where there was a handful of men working an aerodrome isolated in the middle of the Russian 728 Zone. We kept that club going for over two years. Then, in Normandy, there was the first British club on the Continent on D plus 51 at Crevilly; and then to Belgium, Holland, Germany, and up to Gatow, in Berlin. At one time in Germany there were twenty-two clubs.

The clubs closed in the 1950s due to funding issues after Germany incresed 4 fold it’s labour bills. A great history of the clubs can be found at

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1959/jan/22/proposed-closure-of-malcolm-clubs

This cup came courtesy of David Farnsworth at the Historic Flying Clothing Company. Check out his website at http://www.historicflyingclothing.com

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Cumberland Pencil Company.

On one of my Sunday afternoon trawls around e bay I came across this delightful bundle of pencils up for grabs. Like my other Air ministry stamped pencils, these ones, made by the Cumberland Pencil company up in Keswick, (ahhh Keswick, Cumbria, Gods county I miss you so much) are marked ‘war drawing’ instead of AM. They are HB lead pencils. Tied up in their original bundle and in immaculate un used condition. I can’t bring myself to break up the grouping. These pencils were not painted as paint was on short supply during the war. The cumberland pencil company are releasing this year a replica of the RAF escape pencil that amazingly contained a map inside it. The user would snap the pencil to reveal an escape map. I have never seen one of these but unlike other utility pencils of the war, this one was painted green.

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One El of a wait to get my Ellmore AM 1939 wicker chair.

Finally oh finally after 5 months of waiting, my courier has come up trumps and delivered the 1939 Air ministry stamped Ellmore wicker chair I rooted out from a random chaps old barn so long ago. These chairs seem to be considerably less well known than their contemporary wicker chair made by Lloyd loom and featured so heavily in photographs of RAF pilots lounging about like coiled springs at their dispersal points. Beautifull made and still sturdy despite some minor damage, it is wicker after all. The makers mark and AM logo ar embossed on a separate piece of material which has then been bound into the wicker structure. Along with the makers AM logo I can see faintly another AM and crown stamped on possibly after manufacture onto the same makers name strip. Perhaps made when actually issued from stores etc.

Anyway. Really chuffed at last to have found such a piece. I wonder who may have sat in it.

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