Well what can I say. I recently stumbled across a hidden gem in the form of an old outfitters that now closed, has a basement and store full of RAF clothing and equipment that the owner, now in his late 70s, purchased from the Air Ministry from disposal sales. One item was this Beautiful. RAF drum . In slightly shabby condition after hiding in a basement for 70 years this drum is beautifully hand painted with royal cypher and RAF crest. The brass casing is alsobstamped with the AM crest and 1941 date. A lovely item and work of art.
Some time ago I purchased this 1939 Elliot manufactured white dial clock. The clock was purchased from a lady living on the Shetland Isles and is in terrible condition. The case is badly marked, has overspray on it from an aerosol of some kind, is dusty and grubby. The lock from the bottom door had also been removed and a crude latch installed. The movement is grubby and covered in oil although happily ticks away. The dial has seen better days and where an RAF crest would more than likely have been there is a square overpainted patch and one of the dial feet had broken free. There was no glass whatsoever too. When I saw the clock advertised I had no idea if it was of RAF origin. Photos were limited to just the dial . When I received it however, looking over it I found the AM stamp to the rear box, usual Elliot markings and serial to the movement and on the side door a lovely stores sticker from the 1950s when the clock was presumably placed upon a shelf and catalogued.
The clock has sat on my shelves for some time now as I couldn’t make up my mind what to do with it. It was too battered to be sold as an untouched example as it has gone beyond that grubby original look to looking more like a wreck. I therefore decided to sympathetically restore it. The dial will be repainted as it is too far gone just now to justify only a minor bit of work such as replacing the crest. The dial foot will be repaired too. Case wise the front of the clock will be stripped and refinished but the reverse and back box will be completely untouched apart from replacing the new latch for original lock. The movement will be only lightly oiled, not cleaned and tested. The bezel will be dusted off but left as is and new glass fitted. The hands will be left original too.
I cannot wait to see how the clock turns out and returned to original condition.
In the afternoon sun I made my way to a service station on the M1 where I met Helena to exchange a chair that I had purchased from her and her husband. Much to my delight the chair is as good as it pictures. This style of chair has been particularaly hard to find. Described by the RAF pattern book as 21B/953 Chair Arm Bentwood I have only seen one example at Bletchley park. This chair is as original as they come. Retaining most of the original dark staining and the green vynide covering. With lovely metal brackets supporting the legs. The underside of the chair has stores information linking the chair to RAF Marston Moor. A really lovely chair that looks simply stunning.
Whilst sitting in my hotel room the night before heading offshore for two weeks and waiting on the better half to face time after a bag of chocolate peanuts, I stumbled upon another reclining chair on eBay . Not quite sure if my eyes were deceiving me I thought, why not. I bid on it and to my surprise won it after a few days and being the only bidder too. The description didn’t do the chair justice. The pictures were terrible but underneath all the hideous upholstery I prayed there would be the remnants of an incredibly rare AM reckoning chair. These chairs were amongst the earliest of RAF pattern chairs and besides from their amazing history, they are extremely attractive and contemporary today. After a course in Aberdeen some weeks later I bobbed across to Inverurie near Aberdeen where the chair was and picked it up. Quickly putting it in the boot I shot off and a few hours down the road had to stop and look to see if it had any markings. In an ASDA car park in carlisle, there was a 35 year old man dancing around with joy at the sight of the AM markings on the chairs frame. HALLELUJAH! Once home I stripped the old upholstery to reveal the original green vynide or what was left of it in terms of the seat base. I cleaned it and wow it now looks fantastic. These chairs were used all over RAF bases from officers messes to squadron dispersals. Despite their large production, today these chairs are incredibly rare and a lovely item of furniture. This one has the AM marking and a makers mark and a 1942 date stamp. Best find yet.
Another of the items delivered by Russell was this 1937 dated AM stamped chair that someone in the past has decided to paint white. Now I’m not one to go changing original furniture and when I saw this one I thought I’d better rescue it even though it has been liberally covered up. Showing all the usual characteristics of chair general purpose 21B/538 from the RAFs pattern book the frame is in excellent sturdy condition, the AM markings and date are still clearly visible through the paint and it is complete. A lovely chair that will end up in the white office upstairs.
Hurrah at last Russell my courier arrived with my latest finds. Here is the first item, a stunning 14″ white dial RAF station clock. In untouched original condition. The movement is dated 1941 and made be Elliott. The box and case are dated 1938 suggesting a marriage at some point when being repaired. The back box itself has a beautiful AM and crown stamp to the top left corner and also fantastically has retained a stores sticker applied post war and also the often seen stores reference numbers and ‘R’ symbol with correct code for a white dial clock stencilled on in white paint. All lovely original markings that add to the history of the clock. The bezel is painted in the regular black tone down finish too. This one is a keeper I think.
Here we have a lovingly restored type 1 Elliot white dial. Although many people dread owning a restored clock for lack of authenticity, this clock needed the work doing to rescue it. The dial has been repainted and the movement beautiful serviced and the case cleaned. The movement is clearly stamped with the Elliot signature and a 1941 date. The rear box has a wonderful AM Elliot stamp to the bottom centre unlike in the usual top left corner and is dated 1938. Presumably at some point in the clocks service with the RAF, a younger movement was fitted . A lovely clock with a lovely history.
Finally oh finally I managed to open this clocks case. After purchasing at auction it arrived with the rear door locked and key rattling about inside. None of my spares would work and fearing the worst of possibly having to jimmy it open, I remembered the first mantel I purchased from Bexhill was an SM&Co too and had the key. To my joy it’s key worked and hey presto here are some pictures of it. A lovely SM&Co clock, in original condition. Pendulum lock is still present and the silvering on the dial is in great condition. A beautiful clock which would look fantastic in any home.
Whilst browsing the depths of eBay I stumbled across a small shelving unit that I recognised from photo research I have been doing. I found this small unit that would have once lived alongside an airmans bed in their billet or barrack block. I have also recently found some lockers that would have been in these early blocks too and hung above the airmans bed. This unit has a beautiful towel rail on the back of it and is beautifully constructed for such a run of the mill item. Check out the picture of an RAF 1920s billet to see how such a unitvwould have been placed and also the presence of the overhead lockers.