RAF Irvin flying jacket - 148 Squadron history

RAF Irvin flying jacket - 148 Squadron history

Code: J27662

£925.00 Approx $1144.8, €1074.33

'Thermally Insulated Flying Suit, Jacket'.  Unknown size but physically measures approximately 44” (maximum) so should be OK for around a 38-40” chest.  This example is of typical later war construction with four main panels and two smaller panels on both the front and rear.  The leather is in very good overall condition and has much of the original chromed finish with excellent flexibility.  Some panels are thicker and more robust than others and there is light general wear, abrasion, creasing and a few very small surface cuts.  There are no tears or serious issues and all seams appear to be good and tight.  The overall finish is a relatively dark brown with a good even sheen.  All zips are original and in good working order, the main manufactured by 'Lightning' and both sleeve zips are marked with an 'N'.  The right cuff zip lacks a puller tag but functions correctly, both other zips are complete with tags and leather pullers.  The left cuff zip has Air Ministry crown marks.  The belt is very good and the collar is complete with strap/rings but was never fitted with eyelets for a strap at the back.  The lining is excellent and remains remarkably good at the waist and cuffs.    

The jacket belonged to Flying Officer David P. Lambert (1823096), an airgunner with 624 and later 148 Squadron dropping supplies and agents to the French resistance.  In November 1943 Lambert became a member of the 'Goldfish' club after a sortie to Stuttgart when their Halifax was hit by flak.  They got back to Thorney Island but overshot twice and ended up ditching and taking to the aircraft dinghy.  During the summer of 1944 with 148 'Special Duties' Squadron, Lambert flew from Brindisi on the southern Adriatic coast of Italy in support of the Warsaw Uprising.  Their task to deliver vital food and supplies to the starving citizens in the city, who were cut off by German and Russian forces, involved an almost 15 hour flight, mostly over enemy territory, without fighter escort.  Their aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft flak on approach to their 'target' causing flames and smoke within the airframe, but Lambert, tasked with despatching the supplies, managed an accurate drop and they set off for a 5 hour return trip.  The crew undertook 2 further successful sorties to Warsaw.  Sadly the missions were hampered by the large distances involved, the squadrons' payloads had to be reduced, and insufficient supplies got through to support the Polish rebellion.  Nevertheless, Lambert was recognised by the Poles after the war in the presentation of various medals.  Lambert died in 2016 at the age of 91.  We purchased a few items of kit directly from his son last year.  A very good '+' later war example that displays well.  Stock code U27662.

Approximate size, jacket zipped and laid flat: pit to pit 22", centre pit seam to cuff 19.5", shoulder seam to cuff 24.5", lower pit seam to waist 12.5", mid pit seam to waist 14.5", collar seam to waist 23".