British 1943 Pattern 'escape' flying boots : Warrant Officer M A O'Keefe, 460 Squadron RAAF

Place Europe: United Kingdom
Accession Number REL/14496.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Suede; Leather; Brass; Cotton; Wool fleece
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Pair of British 1943 pattern flying (escape) boots. The boots have black suede uppers with a buckled retaining strap at the top and zip fasteners to the ankle. The lower section of each boot resembles a black leather lace up civilian shoe.The suede uppers are attached to the shoe by stitching around the ankle and a pair of eyelets at the front through which the laces are tied. The boots are sheep skin lined and have leather soles reinforced with iron nails. The right boot has a small internal pocket on the inner left side of the calf which would have held a small knife. The right boot is marked in ink around inner top with 'O'KEEFE 428470'. The left boot has its original black shoe lace with metal ends. The right boot has a thicker black replacement shoe lace.

History / Summary

Used by 428470 Warrant Officer Maurice Anthony O'Keefe whilst serving with 460 Squadron as a wireless operator. O'Keefe was born in Melbourne in October 1924 and enlisted in the RAAF on 5 November 1942. After serving overseas with 460 Squadron O'Keefe returned to Australia and was discharged from 9 Aircrew Holding Unit on 12 April 1946. These boots were especially designed this way so that in the case of the wearer having to parachute into enemy territory the suede upper section could be cut from the shoes by using a small knife (concealed in the righthand boot). The remaining boots would resemble civilian footwear which would not be so conspicuous during escape attempts.