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RAF 1941 pattern flying boots - history

RAF 1941 pattern flying boots - history

Code: B24622

SOLD

Stores reference 22c/752.  Size 9.  The brown suede uppers are generally very good and supple but a little rubbed in places. The rubber 'galosh' sections are complete and reasonably flexible.  Both heel sections are quite rigid but this is completely normal and exactly as they were manufactured.  Original War Department broad arrow marked 'W' zips are tarnished but in good working condition.  The 'Itshide' rubber soles and heels are in quite good used condition but the stitching on the soles has deteriorated and they are separating from the uppers.  These could be left as they are, repaired by a competent cobbler, or perhaps glued.  Complete with good ankle straps/buckles.  The fleece linings are good although a bit grubby. No insoles fitted.  There are faint markings on the zip tongues along with a small fabric label with size details etc.  A  reasonably good pair of boots that 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 Vol3. 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.  The boots were purchased directly from the family. Stock code B24622.