RAAF / RAF 1932 'Tropical' Pattern Mae West
'Waistcoat, Life-Saving, Stole Pattern, Tropical'. By The Dunlop Rubber Co., Australia, 1943 dated. Rare tropical version of the 1932 pattern Mae West. The waistcoat was manufactured from a linen fabric, dyed pale grey and rubberized externally (unlike RAF ones that have internal rubberising). A zip fastener at the back of the neck section allowed access for the internal components.
The tropical pattern is essentially 'backless' in order to reduce weight and, help prevent the wearer from overheating. The back consists of just a narrow strip of material through which a couple of webbing tapes pass in order to join the back to the front lobes. The tapes can be threaded through various fabric 'loops' to achieve a comfortable fit. Both front lobes are clearly stencilled with the usual 'user' instructions 'Front' and 'Before Use InflateTube By At Least One Breath'.
The material is in very good overall condition and without damage. There is wear/abrasion to the rubberising in places but no serious problems. The 'Lightning' zip fastener is in working condition but would benefit from lubrication. Extremely rare item in good good '+' to very good overall condition. See p.33 'Luftwaffe Vs RAF, Vol.2' for a very similar example. Far cheaper than buying a 1932 pattern 'temperate' or 'tropical' version. Stock code MW8395.