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RAF Irvin flying trousers - history

RAF Irvin flying trousers - history

Code: S24620

SOLD

Thermally Insulated Flying Suit, Trousers, Electrically Wired.  Stores reference 22c/341- 348.  The leather is in very good '+' overall condition, supple and reasonably clean with only minor wear.  No rips, tears or repairs but the side entry pocket flaps are slightly distorted through storage and the leather would benefit from a light leather dressing.  Very good dense fur lining bar very minor moulting near the waist.  Original 'D-o-T' zips have some verdigris deposits but are in good working condition complete with leather pull tags.  With the original braces (retaining some elastication), pockets and 1945 dated label.  This rare pair was originally wired for use with heated bootees/slippers but this has been carefully stripped out leaving the leather channels in place.  These belonged to Squadron Leader John Hardy Douglas DFC & bar.  He enlisted at Uxbridge in 1940, was commissioned in March 1941 and qualified as a pilot and Wellington captain in 1942.  Douglas was posted to the Middle East on ferry pilot duties and then to 38 Squadron, RAF Shallufa, Egypt, on Torpedo training and anti-submarine/shipping patrols.  Later in 1942 he flew Wellingtons with 38, 69 & 458 (RAAF) squadrons from Malta, Shallufa, Blida & Protville (Tunisia).  These were mainly anti-shipping operations and the bombing of Italian airfields and harbours.  On 1st August 1942 he took off from Protville for an anti-shipping patrol off the south coast of Sardinia.  At 0430hrs the crew spotted a stationary enemy destroyer just off the coast, 50km north of Cagliari.  Douglas decided to attack but aborted his first run and made a second approach from the coastline at a height of just 20' above the sea.  Unfortunately the aircraft struck the water - possibly catching a wing-tip or the bomb bay doors, and crashed killing the rear gunner, Sgt. Herb Kontzie (RCAF).  The rest of the crew were picked up from their survival dinghy and all became prisoners of war.  Douglas was held at various Italian camps before ending up in Stalag Luft III.  Liberated in May 1945 he worked with MI9, based in Holland before refresher flight training and a brief spell as a captain on Dakotas.  Douglas was demobbed in September 1947 and died in 2020.  He is mentioned in 'The Mediterranean Air War 1940-43 Vol 3. Tunisia & The End of The African Campaign Nov.'42 -43' by Christopher Shores.  Comes with some basic research and photocopy photographs showing him with his distinctive handlebar moustache.  Purchased directly from his son.  A very good pair.   Stock code J24620.