Royal Navy battledress blouse : Lieutenant H F Chandler RNVR, 849 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm

Accession Number REL31742.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Gilded brass, Steel, Wool twill
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1940s
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Royal Navy heavy black woollen twill battledress blouse with fold down collar and two pleated patch breast pockets. The blouse is fastened down the centre by four gilded brass Royal Navy officer's buttons, and at the throat by a pair of steel hooks and eyes. Above the left breast pocket are sewn a pair of gold and silver bullion wire Fleet Air Arm Observers wings. The belted waist is gathered and fastened by a blackened steel buckle. The cuffs of the sleeves are fastened by black plastic buttons. Shoulder straps are secured by gilded brass buttons with the markings 'RNV' (Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve), but the attached shoulder boards, with the rank rings of a lieutenant, are those of the Royal Naval Volunteer Supplementary Reserve (RNVSR). The inside of the collar and cuffs are lined with a black cotton fabric. The fabric of the rear waistband has two button holes for securing to the battledress trousers. There is a side opening internal pocket at the left breast.

History / Summary

Royal Navy battledress uniform worn by Lieutenant Harold F Chandler, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, while serving with 849 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm. In April 1944, the squadron commenced operations from Perranporth, in Cornwall, flying Grumman Avenger (also known as the Tarpon in British service) aircraft in support of the impending D-Day landings in France. In September 1944, the unit moved to the Far East, and was embarked on the aircraft carrier HMS Victorious as part of No 2 Naval Strike Wing. Lt Chandler completed some 50 operations as an observer with 849 Squadron, and was involved in attacks on oilfields in the Dutch East Indies and against the Japanese home islands. This is the uniform worn by him during the D-Day operations of April-September 1944. The shoulder boards fitted to the battledress blouse are those of the Royal Naval Volunteer Supplementary Reserve (RNVSR) in which Lt Chandler served after the war. He later emigrated to Australia, in 1957.