WW2 Airborne forces lifebelt, boxed
'Lifebelts Inflatable, Mk.4'. This pattern of lifebelt was designed and used exclusively by British airborne forces / paratroops during WW2. See the period photograph of them in use (No.13). Essentially a lifejacket waistcoat manufactured in grey/brown coloured rubberized fabric with cotton webbing shoulder/leg straps. It fastened at the front by passing the leg straps through two cadmium plated metal triangles on either side and tying them in the middle. The lifebelt was inflated using two compressed carbon dioxide gas cylinders fitted internally and deployed for use with a metal release lever on the outside. There was also an oral inflation tube fitted enabling the wearer to inflate or top-up manually. The belt also has two small pockets for the stowage of hand-held recognition signal cartridges.
This example is unissued and complete with the original box. It remains flexible and although appears dirty/grey this is actually packing chalk residue and could be cleaned off easily. The lifebelt is war department broad arrow marked and has a clear 1945 manufacture date. There are other manufacturer's marks and later inspection dates into the early 1950s. The oral inflation tube has hardened somewhat and lacks flexibility but the valve opens/closes freely. The triangular metal eyelets have some corrosion. With the original, though slightly tatty box of issue, greasepaper wrappings and the original instruction leaflet. In addition it has both unused/primed Co2 cylinders (each have surface corrosion). Both 'worm clips' used to secure the release levers are also present. The levers themselves and signal flares are not included.
Extremely rare to find at all, let alone in this condition and with box, instructions and Co2 cylinders. A superb opportunity for the collector of Airborne Forces / PARA equipment. NB. Sales outside the UK will not include the CO2 bottles as it is not possible to send them overseas. Overseas buyers will be refunded £100 following payment to compensate. Stock code MW17538.