Officer's service dress trousers : Squadron Leader C O Fairbairn, Royal Air Force

Place Europe: United Kingdom, England
Accession Number REL/00023.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Wool gabardine; Cotton twill; Plastic
Maker Sullivan Williams & Co
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made April 1918
Conflict Period 1920-1929
First World War, 1914-1918

Pair of officer's khaki wool gabardine trousers with cuffs. A pocket is set into each side seam and there is a welt pocket over the right buttock which closes with a button. The fly closes with six khaki plastic buttons. Further buttons are attached to the outside of the waist to take braces. The waist is lined with white and khaki cotton. The pocket bags are made from white twilled cotton.

History / Summary

These trousers were worn by Squadron Leader Charles Osborne Fairbairn, who served in the British Army, Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force during the First World War. Born in Melbourne in 1893, and educated at Geelong Grammar, he was studying at Jesus College, Cambridge University, when war was declared. Fairbairn initially joined the British Army, serving as a lieutenant with 3 Battalion, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1915, qualifying as a pilot. In 1916 he was promoted to flight commander (captain). He was appointed to be an instructor at No 5 School in August 1917. When then the RFC became the Royal Air Force in April 1918, Fairbairn was again listed as a captain. He was acting as a major in October 1918. After the war he returned to Australia with the rank of squadron leader. Fairbairn was a brother of James Valentine Fairbairn, who also served with the RFC as a pilot, the Minister for Air, who was killed in an aircrash near Canberra in 1940.