RFC Auliff-Perrin Lifebelt
Manufactured by W. Pound Ltd, London. Stores Ref. 22c/1 . 'Belts. life-saving, self-inflating, Type A-Perrin'. 22c/15 'Jacket, life-saving - Anliffe pattern (obs. 1924). Essentially a lifejacket waistcoat manufactured in airtight/rubberised buff-coloured, thick cotton twill with adjustable white cotton webbing shoulder straps. The lifebelt fastened at the front with two metal hooks engaging with metal triangles. A compressed gas cylinder was fitted internally and deployed for use with a metal lever on the outside (see photos). In addition there was a brass oral inflation valve fitted to the upper left front corner enabling the wearer to inflate or top-up manually. On the front top left corner an oral inflation nozzle. Both the inside and outside faces are printed with wearing and operation instructions. Perrin invented the lifebelt, Auliff being the British Sales agent. Whilst lifejackets were not commonly used in WW1, photographic evidence does show their use and the war office did introduce them.
This rare example is well marked but has no official war department markings suggesting it might be a commercial version. It shows use and wear but is in excellent overall condition remaining strong and supple. It lacks the actual gas cylinder & inflation lever but the top-up nozzles remain in place. Please note that only the lifebelt is included in this sale and not the coat used as a photographic prop. A superb rare display piece. Stock code MW15247.